Saturday, June 12, 2010

Superior, Arizona

Superior is a small town about 45 minutes east of Mesa. There are about 3000 people living there. It started life about 1875 with a silver strike and was first known as Pinal. The silver played out and both Pinal and the Silver King Mine were abandoned in 1888. Some of the West's most notorious characters are supposed to have at least passed through, including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. One of Wyatt's common-law wives, Mattie, is buried on a hillside in the area of old Pinal. In about 1902 the mining claims were sold to the Lake Superior and Arizona Mining Co. A new town named Superior was laid out and what became Magma Mining Co started. Magma eventually built a smelter and a railroad to haul ore, etc. In recent years the smelter has closed and the only mining activity is some leaching operations and what looks to be a limestone or some similar substance being mined at a small operation west of town. However, the largest body of copper ore known to exist in North America has been found east of town and plans are underway to begin actual mining operations about 2010.

The World's Oldest Photographer (WOP for short) and the Old Cowboy hopped in Big Red and went over there yesterday for a look around. We were looking for Mattie Earp's grave, unfortunately without success. We did find some other things, shown in the photos below.

The mountain above is called Picketpost Mountain according to the WOP.

We crossed this small stream in our wanderings. Water being a rare sight to desert dwellers we took photos.

This is the limestone, gypsum or whatever it is operation. Picketpost Mountain is in the background.

Superior, like Miami, its neighbor to the east, has many old buildings, bars,and stores in various states of repair. Below are a few.

We'll do Superior again and next time find Mattie's grave.


  1. The picture of the stream is especially nice when clicked and enlarged. I could step right into it.

    Hope you find Mattie next time.

    I'm wondering if WOP is your alter ego.

  2. Contrary to popular belief there is a photographer older than me. He is a retired commercial photographer and is our good friend. We do lots of photo things together; he is about 10 years older than me.

  3. The La Mina bar was built in the early 1900's out of rock hauled from the extinct Pinal City site. Plaster was later added to the exterior..the rock can be seen where the plaster has eroded..