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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Phelps-Dodge: 1942

Phelps-Dodge: 1942

December 1942. "Part of the copper concentrating plant of the Phelps-Dodge Mining Company at Morenci, Arizona. This plant supplies great quantities of the copper so vital in our war effort." Photo by Fritz Henle. View full size.

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The mine now, and Rt 191

The attached photo shows part of the mine in the summer of 2012 (Eastman Kodak Ektachrome, sadly no longer available). Rt 191 runs through the mine. North of Morenci it is one of the most scenic drives in the Southwest, and one of the twistiest. It is two-lane switchback after switchback. The road maps don't come close to showing how twisty Rt 191 is. Not for the faint-hearted, or in bad weather.

Adapting to Survive

Some of the old mining towns in Arizona are staying alive by becoming artsy tourist havens. Jerome and Bisbee, for example, are now bohemian enclaves. They tend to be very welcoming to young people and to gay couples, and they teem with antique shops and bed-and-breakfasts. If Morenci's ore ever runs out, this is certainly an option for it.

Company town

Morenci is one of the very few company towns remaining in the United States. Mine owner Freeport McMoRan, which acquired Phelps Dodge several years ago, owns almost all the property in the town.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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