Miami, Arizona

A classic western copper mining boomtown, Miami is located just west of Globe. With the copper mines just about dormant now (in comparison to 20 years ago), the town is crumbling, although there are some local folks trying to renovate and save some of the old stuff.

In the big copper mining push of the 1880's, the Miami area was ignored because as large as the copper deposits here were, the copper ore was of a porphyric type with the copper disseminated through the rock rather than concentrated in veins and pockets. At only 2% to 3% copper content, it was considered unprofitable to mine. However, progress in mining and smelting techniques brought attention back to the Miami area and the Miami Copper Company started digging its huge hole in 1906.

In the beginning, most of the miners lived in Globe (7 miles to the east) and they walked back and forth to work. Before too long, the Miami Land and Improvement Company was founded and it bought a tract of land close to the new mine (right about where downtown Miami is now). Then Cleve Van Dyke bought that property in 1908 and started buying other tracts close by. It wasn't until the train arrived in 1909 that the renting and sales of surveyed and platted lots began. At that point, the streets were barely graded and there were no utilities in place. That didn't stop progress, though, because there are recorded to have been 800 people living in Miami by the beginning of 1910. By the time of the federal census in 1910, there were 1,390 residents in the Miami CDP. In those days, the Post Office building was on wheels and would be in regular movement from unsold lot to unsold lot, sometimes changing its address weekly. At some point, Phelps Dodge Corporation bought out the Miami Copper Company and took over operation of the mine. A few years ago Freeport-McMoRan bought Phelps Dodge.

Miami, Arizona
The former Miami High School, now a museum
Miami, Arizona
The YMCA in downtown Miami
Main Street in Miami, Arizona
Looking down Main Street in Miami on a Sunday morning in March, 2009
Miami Town Hall, Miami, Arizona
Miami Town Hall
Miami, Arizona
Looking up a side street in downtown Miami