Bisbee Arizona: A Sustainable Living Community

Learn about Bisbee Arizona, a sustainable living community. Bisbee evolved from a 19th century mining town into the diverse, quirky mountain town it is today.

| August/September 2008

A great place to live you've never heard of is Bisbee Arizona, a sustainable living community. Bisbee is deeply eclectic after all these years.

Bisbee Arizona: A Sustainable Living Community

Bisbee, Arizona, is as rich in history as it once was in precious metals. It was “discovered” in 1877 by troops chasing Apaches up Tombstone Canyon, where one scout spotted rich veins of copper ore. In just a few years, Bisbee was a boomtown — the “Queen of the Copper Camps.” By the early 1900s, it was the largest and most cultured city between St. Louis and San Francisco.

Unlike other mining towns in the region that eventually became ghost towns, Bisbee adapted, surviving the depletion of rich ore and the mine shutdowns. When the bust came in the 1970s, hundreds of houses went on sale at bargain prices. Artists, hippies, retirees and investors joined the ex-miners, bringing with them a culture that townspeople fondly refer to as “unique,” “diverse” and even “quirky.” In 2005, The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave it a more eloquent designation — one of “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.”

Visitors love Bisbee’s many colorful restaurants (such as the Bisbee Breakfast Club, where coffee-charred chicken salad is a specialty); shopping in the antique stores and artist galleries; and descending 1,500 feet into the Copper Queen Mine in hard hats and slickers, carrying miner’s lanterns. Visitor lodging ranges from the elegant Copper Queen Hotel, built in 1902, to the Shady Dell, a collection of 1950s vintage travel trailers furnished with Life magazines from yesteryear and still-operational record players.

Bisbee, Arizona

Population: 6,090

Median House Price: $88,400

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