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A Busier Bisbee: 1940

A Busier Bisbee: 1940

May 1940. "Main street of Bisbee, Arizona. Copper mining center." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


The Review lives on.

Looking from the other end of the street. More of the Bisbee Daily Review.

Copper Mining Economics

In the 1970's, I lived a few months in Ajo, Arizona. Phelps Dodge operated an open pit copper mine and smelter there. It was a company town. The price of copper spiked while I was there, and the workers were put on a 12 hour workday, seven days a week for four weeks, and then took a weekend off. On Monday, they started a new cycle of 12 on and 12 off. Most of the modest housing was built by Phelps Dodge and rented to the workers. After working for Phelps Dodge for five years, the workers could buy their house for $1.

Neon Signage lit up at night

I imagine it sure would've looked pretty. And attention grabbing.

National brands squeezing out the local guys

This is 1940 and I see Walgreen's, JC Penney, Woolworth's, Coca-Cola, Florsheim, Rexall, and maybe Blue Ribbon.

I hear so much about Chain Stores and national brands squeezing local stores as some modern problem, and here we are in the photograph. All we need is for that business at the end of the street to be a Sears. Many years ago Sears was accused of shutting down Main Street as Wal-Mart is today.

[That's the company store at the end of the street -- Phelps-Dodge Mercantile. - Dave]

Walgreen Agency

Note the Walgreen Agency drugstore.

"One of the most significant expansions during the 1930s was the establishment of an agency cooperative purchasing system, whereby Walgreen's products became available in a number of independent pharmacies. By 1934, there were 600 agencies in 33 US states, stocking over 1,000 Walgreen's products. At its peak the Walgreen's Agency system had more than 2,000 participants within the network. The system continued until 1980, when the administration of the cooperative purchasing program was discontinued."

On another note, Walgreen's invented the Malted Milkshake. I did not know that.

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