12. Southern Pacific Bringing Copper from Bisbee to Benson Smelter c. 1903
The early years of mining in Bisbee saw a richer quality of ore that offset the high cost of mule-drawn wagons. As the quality of ore decreased an alternative was necessary to cut expenses.
The Southern Pacific Railroad's arrival in Arizona in 1879 heralded a turning point in the transport of ore to refinement and market.
It meant greater speed and efficiency, and lower cost than traditional methods of transport. For example, it cost $6.00 to $7.25 per ton to transport freight by mule between Bisbee and Fairbank but by rail it cost $1.00.
Although early surface transportation was later replaced by rail and truck, the railroad contributed to the expansion of mining during the territorial years in Arizona.
Artist: Doug Quarles
Size: 5' x 8'
Completed: November 2013
City of Benson
Arizona G & T Cooperatives
Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative