GLOBE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Winding roughly 200 miles between Apache Junction, Arizona, and Lordsburg, New Mexico, the Old West Highway takes travelers on a trip through the historic west. If you find yourself traveling along the way, take a moment to stop and see the city of Globe.
For centuries, rich mineral deposits located in eastern Arizona’s Pinal Mountains drew humans to the area. Globe owes a tip of the miners cap to those rough and rugged folk that settled in the remote area and carved out an existence from the desert dirt.
As far back as AD 1225, the Salado people thrived in the area along Pinal Creek. The ancient's home, Besh-Ba-Gowah, means “place of metal”. The area, located south of present day Globe, is home to a present day archaeological park and museum.
Spanish and Mexican (1528-1848) prospectors knew of the minerals the mountains held. The same for trappers who explored the area in the 1820’s-30’s; both saw the potential in the areas natural mineral wealth, but all were kept away by the remoteness of the region deep in the heart of hostile Apache lands. It was far too dangerous to stake claims or work in the area.
Rumors of gold that could be picked up off the surface of the ground sparked exploratory expeditions into the region around 1864. Probing for gold continued into the area by various groups whose efforts were rewarded with attacks by hostile Apaches and no gold. They did find silver though, and copper.
As outsiders continued to push into the area, one large expedition built a rudimentary fort for their protection at Big Johnny Gulch along Pinal Creek in 1869. The site is located a couple miles north of present day Globe. This was the first foothold established by modern settlers. Still, frequent visits from Apache warriors kept the miners on the move and unable to establish any growth.
The tide turned when the U.S. Government sent General Crook to Arizona to lead the Tonto campaigns of 1871. The General's plan kept constant pressure on the Apache's until the campaigns conclusion in 1873 when Apache resistance had been reduced.
The mining camp that rose out of the Pinal Mountains and became the town of Globe; the town site of Globe City was established in 1876. It was shortened to Globe a few years later. The town's name reportedly derived from a piece of high grade silver that came from the site, about 9-inches in diameter, roughly in the shape of a globe. Gold drew people in, silver was what they found, but copper...copper is what made Globe what it is today.
In its early days, Globe had closer ties with New Mexico than Arizona. The nearest railroad was 120 miles away in Silver City. By 1878 the new town of Florence, Arizona, just sixty miles away, was supplying the town but the trip through the rugged mountains still took five days.
Globe's remote location was the stage of many violent conflicts, stage coach robberies and murders. Indeed, Globe attracted many outlaws that called Globe home.
In 1886 citizens were boasting that all U.S. copper coins were minted from Globe copper. By 1924 the Old Dominion Mine, Globe’s greatest mine had produced 800 million pounds of copper, resulting in $134 million.
Two of Arizona's Governors lived in Globe.
The first Governor of Arizona, Gov. George W.P. Hunt, ran away from his Missouri home to head west. He ended up in Globe and called it home the rest of his life. Hunt was elected to a total of seven terms.
Also calling Globe home was Arizona's first female Governor, Rose Mofford. Valedictorian graduate of Globe High School's 1939 class, Mofford was the school’s first female student body president as well.
At 105 years old, Globe High School is one of the oldest buildings still in use for education in the state. It also houses the largest collection of high school graduation pictures in the state.
Through the years, the boom-and-bust nature of the mining industry has lead Globe's economy. The community saw its most prosperous times between 1880 and 1935. The Globe Downtown Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.