Friday, March 25, 2011

Globe and Big Nose Kate

Globe, Arizona is a town of about 7500 people in the Pinal mountains east of the Mesa-Phoenix area. It is the largest of three pioneer mining towns (in order, west to east, Superior, Miami and Globe). Globe is the largest and currently the most vibrant of the three, as well as the county seat of Gila County. (See blog entries 1/18/10 and 6/12/10).Globe was founded in the 1870's after a silver strike, and was named after a large globe shaped silver nugget found in the area. The silver soon played itself out but large copper ore deposits were discovered in the Globe-Miami-Superior area and large mining and smelting operations were developed. There is still an active smelter and some mining going on in the area.

Recently the WOP, the Old White Haired Guy and myself made an excursion to Globe for a look-see. The photo at the top shows two of the three R.E.D trio on Broad street in Globe. It was quite apparent that there is more business activity in Globe and fewer abandoned buildings than in the other towns. There were a lot of touristy businesses and what in the 70's we called alternate life style shops, coffee houses, etc.

We stopped on Broad Street, which is the old main business street, and parked behind the van shown below. Nice sentiment painted on the back.

Two of the more interesting characters who at one time resided in Globe were Mattie Blaylock and Big Nose Kate. Mattie was Wyatt Earp's common law wife, who apparently died in Globe of laudanum poisoning and is buried in the old Pinal graveyard west of Superior.

Big Nose Kate at age 40

Big Nose Kate was born in Pest, Hungary in 1850. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1860. Her real name was Mary Katherine Horony. In Dodge City she was known as Kate Elder. At some point she became a paramour of Doc Holliday and was in Tombstone with Doc at the time of the gunfight at the OK Corral. She spent time in Bisbee, Wilcox, Cochise, Dos Cabezas and Globe. She ran a miner's boarding house in Globe on Broad Street. After Doc died she married a man named Cummings, who was an alcoholic and abuser. He died about 1915. In 1930 Kate applied for and was granted residence at the Arizona Pioneer Home in Prescott where she died in 1940 and is buried in the graveyard at the home. She was the first female granted residence in the home.

The photos below are of a building on Broad Street which may be the same one in which she had her boarding house. As you can see someone has fixed it up to be Big Nose Kate's.

This is another business on Broad Street, apparently operated by a former airport security screener.

Below is a panorama looking from Globe down the canyon across Miami and the mine.

The photo below is of the current smelter. While traveling in this area we had to wait for a train coming from here loaded with copper.

This last photo shows some of the mining operation.


  1. A note on the photos: All are the author's except the two old REDs which was shot by the World's Oldest Photographer, and the one of Big Nose Kate. Contrary to what you may have heard, she was not an acquaintance of mine. Her photo is from Wikimedia Commons. The panorama is a huge file and problematic to reduce down to a size that will go on the internet and still show something other than ants.

  2. Kate's nose is something of a disappointment, but not Globe. Sometime I'll have to go out there to check out the "junk".

  3. My Family is from Globe and although Geronimo, Billy The Kid, Cochise, Governor Hunt and countless others lived or pasted thru, we never knew Kate was there. We had a family member working the 'profession' to survive.....wonder if she, Kate & Mattie knew each other ? How small a world it is !

    1. Did your family member ever talk about her trade and what it was like, nobody ever has opened up and to find someone who worked in the field at that time is really hard. Too bad your family member did not keep a journal.