Verde Heritage 1887: JEROME; New Life Infused into an Old Enterprise.
"The simple announcement that the works of the United Verde Copper Company had again started up, and that these mines, which in a few months' run, in 1883 and 1884, had paid out in dividends to stockholders something over $100,000, had again commenced to be productive, does not convey a proper impression of the magnitude of the works or of the importance of it to this part of Arizona. As stated, during a run of a few months, the dividends realized from the mines were enormous, but a decline in the price of both copper and silver, together with the remoteness at that time of the mines from railroad communication, caused them to be closed in December, 1884."
"The building of the Prescott & Arizona Central Railroad has reduced the distance for freighting by wagon from 70 miles to about 23, and although copper has not appreciated in value to any considerable extent, Governor Tritle, who is the largest stockholder of the company, concluded that the time had arrived to put them in operation again. The details of his trip east and securing a lease on the property have heretofore been told in these columns. Active preparations were at once commenced, and on Monday, August 1st, a fire was again started in the furnace."
"Accepting an invitation from Governor Tritle to visit the mines, the Journal-Miner man on Saturday, in company with the governor, W. C. Bashford, J. C. Herndon, Cot. S. B. Bevans, Cot. E. Burgess, F. W. Blake, L. Wollenberg, and Dr. B. Halsey, went out to Jerome and were more than pleased with their trip. The trip across Lonesome Valley was devoid of interest except as to the speculations of different members of the company as to the possibilities of this remarkable tract of land 30 by 15 miles in extent, if a water supply for irrigation was available."
"Just at the entrance to the canyon, on the western slope of the Black Hills Range, which have to be crossed to reach the mines, a stop was made at Sander's Station for dinner. From this point the road is a devious one, winding through canyons and along steep grades, over the summit at an altitude of 6,900 feet. Just after the summit is crossed, a magnificent view of the Verde Valley is obtained and at several other points along the road stops were made to admire the indescribably beautiful scenery through glasses. Long before reaching the camp it was admitted by all that the scenery alone was sufficiently grand to amply repay them for the journey."
"At a point just above the smelter, a view of the Verde Valley, from Camp Verde, 22 miles below Jerome, to a point several miles north of the latter place, is obtained, with Oak Creek in the distance to northeastward, and still further beyond this the red rim of the Mogollon Mountains, rising abruptly from the valley, assuming all kinds of fantastic shapes. Here will be seen the outlines of a castle, while at another point will be seen a red church spire pointing heavenward; in fact, all manner of shapes and forms seemed to have been carved out of the rocks by the hand of nature and the power of the elements. A visitor from the east, who had traveled extensively over the globe, a few years ago pronounced the view from this point the grandest he had ever seen."
"Arriving at the smelter, a busy scene was presented to the visitors. Everything denoted activity and life, with the hum of machinery, and the red-hot stream of molten mineral being discharged every few minutes from the furnace."
"A DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPERTY, although having been published heretofore in these columns, will bear repetition again at this time. The mines consist of a group of 11. The principal ones being the Eureka and the Wade Hampton, although considerable work has been done on several of the others. The enterprise is under the general superintendency of F. N. Holbrook, and experienced mining man and metallurgist. The mines are, however, being worked under the immediate skillful supervision of H. C. Church, who, as a mining foreman, has no superior, and few equals, on the Pacific slope. During the time he was formerly in charge of the mines, he opened up ore bodies, which are yet comparatively untouched, and which are sufficient to supply the present smelting capacity of the furnace for several years."
"A NEW FURNACE IS ON THE GROUND, the engine, rock-breaker, etc., for it being in position, and the work of putting the furnace up was commenced this morning. This will require only a few days, when the present capacity of the smelter will be doubled. The smelter is in charge of Thomas Reese, an old employee of the company. The product turned out is a high grade copper matte containing silver and gold, together with a considerable quantity of black copper. During the run last week about 50 tons of this matte alone, exclusive of the black copper, was produced. Teams were started today hauling it to the railroad for shipment."
"Governor Tritle contemplates making further additions and improvements to the property soon, making it the most complete ore-reducing institution in the territory."
"He has arranged for the sale of the entire product right here in Prescott, which is a very important item for our town, transferring, as it does, the exchange from New York here."
"Sidney Cook is in charge of the Assay Office and J. G. Griffith is head carpenter."
"Joseph Dillon, W. H. Williams, Charles Ryall, W. Compson and a number of other Prescottites have positions in various capacities in connection with the enterprise."
"THE HOTEL is in charge of W. M. Buffum, with H. W. ("Shorty") Blossom as steward, and visitors are entertained in a royal manner by them."
ROAD: "J. H. A. Marsh has just completed the repairs on the road to the mines, and they are now in excellent condition." [J. H. A. Marsh built a 2-story brick residence at Cottonwood for Mary Grace (Vineyard) Willard, which still stands on the north end of Main Street.]
STORE: "Ed. Morey has a general merchandise and liquid establishment in the camp."
MEAT: "H. H. Cartter supplies the camp with fresh beef at present."
(Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; August 10, 1887; page 1.)
While in New York, William A. Clark leased the United Verde Copper Company, signing papers on February 14 and 15, 1888. He visited the property and started it up again, eventually purchasing the mining claims and smelter.