If you head out Highway 60, the winding road can bring you from Phoenix to Virginia Beach, via Miami. Not the one in Florida, the one nestled in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains in eastern Arizona. Miami is a copper boom town, founded in 1909; October 11th, 1909 to be specific.
When the Miami Copper Company began mining copper in the Miami area, the silver mine workers from Globe, seven miles down the road, flocked to the new work. Silver prices had dropped and copper was the new gold. With no public transportation, and few workers owning horses (just another expense for those not making much to begin with), one enterprising fellow named Van Dyke saw the opportunity for building himself a town.
He took ads in newspapers all over the country, talking up his planned community in the mountains of Arizona. He must have been the Del Webb of his day, but for the working people, rather than the, we’re done working people (who I’m pretty sure didn’t even exist in Van Dyke’s day). He set the date of October 11, 1909 and held his own land rush, though he already owned much of the land. But, he was no crook. He sold the land to homesteaders at reasonable prices, made himself some bank, and Miami, Arizona was born.
Within three months the population had shot up to 2,000. There were stores, a bakery, restaurants and even a barber shop. Of course, like any respectable boom town, all of these were outnumbered by the saloons.
Highway 60 winds through desert and up through some pretty impressive mountain passes, at least for this area. This massive peak stands alone, intimidating travelers with sheer size and silence. If only I could go stand on the top. But, look at this thing! No matter how you go at it, the route is straight up!
Miami, Arizona is as eclectic as Miami, Florida, but in with a Southwest flair. The scene is a little more quiet and laid back.
Just a little. 😉
Shuttered saloon doors. Every few years they reopen with all the optimism of 1909.
Art is everywhere…
Who makes buildings like this anymore? A treasure!
The day is growing late,
The shadows grow long,
The desert lights up for a few moments.
And the sentinels in the rocks stand guard against the night…
So, I hop in my pony and head for the flatland.