1959: CLARKDALE; History of the Smelter; September.


"General reaction in the area to the announcement that construction operations will start in six months on the steel mill at Clarkdale will be in sharp contrast to reactions of many veteran smelter workers, almost a decade ago when the text of a notice posted on the smelter read: 'Notice to employees: The company regrets to announce that, due to the depletion of the ore reserves, the smelting and related operations at Clarkdale will be permanently terminated June 6, 1950.'"

"Signed by C. E. Mills, the notice affected between 100 and 150 workers, some of whom were later offered similar jobs at Ajo or at other Phelps Dodge operations in the state. However, some had records of 25 years or more, dating back to the United Verde, and it was not pleasant for them to be uprooted from the place they had long known as home."

"June 6, 1950, and for the first time in 15 years, no dense plume of white smoke arose from the tall smelter stack at Clarkdale, and the converter crew was cleaning up and loading equipment for removal. It was their last shift. The last charge of copper had been poured the previous day at 3:30, and the oil flow to reverberators was stopped and the fires pulled at 6 o'clock."

"When No. 4 furnace was shut down, it had set a record of five years continuous operation without stopping for repairs or cleanup, according to an announcement at that time by W. C. Hunter, smelter superintendent, who was also sent to Ajo as converter general foreman."

"The smelter had been in operation by Phelps Dodge from early in 1935 when it was taken over from United Verde Mining Co., and though its principle source of supply was from the United Verde Mines in Jerome, ores from other parts of the state were also processed there."

"The United Verde Mine from the date of its purchase by William A. Clark in 1888 to ... 1935, when the [sale of the] Clarkdale smelter was completed, had, had yielded 20,346,000 tons of ore from which 1,979,105,400 pounds of copper had been extracted, and ranked among the 'bonanza' mines in the state. Besides copper, the ore yielded 917,735 ounces of gold and 34,358,390 ounces of silver, and the gross value of this output after transportation, refining and marketing was slightly more than $350,000,000, which indicated an average of better than $17 ore." [?]

"During the early days, United Verde was worked on a small scale, and shipments of high-grade gold and silver ore were made from surface workings. In the summer of 1882, however, Fred Thomas , a San Francisco engineer, obtained an option on the first claims and two millsites which comprised the original United Verde grant, and with the help of George Treadwell, organized the United Verde Copper Co. Its secretary was Eugene Jerome, for whom the growing mining town of Jerome was named."

"During its first year of operation, Thomas built a 50-ton furnace and had turned out nearly $800,000 worth of copper and paid $62,000 in dividends when Clark took over in 1889."

"Unfortunately the smelter had been built over the mine workings, and because it was endangered by the settling of the ground, another smelter was started in Clarkdale in 1912. Completed in 1915, the Clarkdale works were equipped with a full compliment of shops for performing a great variety of services."

"The shops consisted of a foundry and pattern shop, machine shop, plate and structural shop, and carpenter, pipe and electric shops. The shops not only performed repair sevices, but also fabricated and manufactured many kinds of mechanical supplies for the company's consumption. Due to the large amount of scrap available, the availability of waste heat, electric power, and the saving of freight expense, many articles were made at a profit."

(The Verde Independent; Cottonwood; Monday, September 21, 1959; page 2, columns 3-5.)

See: The Verde Independent; "1953: JEROME: P-D Mine Officially Closed March 23;" May 8, 2014.


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