VERDE HERITAGE 1890: JEROME; The United Verde Copper Company Begins to Evolve.
"Prescott, the former capital of Arizona, is the county seat of Yavapai County, the largest subdivision of the entire territory, embracing an area of nearly 30,000 square miles. This immense county, --- larger than many states in the union --- will doubtless be divided, and already the question of division is being agitated. But Prescott will always remain the principal city in northern Arizona. It is already largely in advance of any other town in population and is the center of movements in business which will tend to increase its relative importance. ... While at Prescott, our correspondent could not resist the temptation to visit the great silver-copper mine at Jerome, known as the United Verde [Copper Company]."
"The camp is but 30 miles from Prescott, but on account of the heavy grades in the road leading to the mine, a good part of one day is occupied by the stages in reaching this destination. For 20 miles the way is comparatively smooth, the road being through the low hills which enclose Prescott on the south and soon reaches Lonesome Valley, an almost level stretch of country extending to the foot of the Black Hills. At Sanders Station, 20 miles from Prescott, the traveler will stop for a good, hearty dinner."
"From here forward the heavy work of travel begins. The next 10 miles are a succession of steep grades, and for almost the entire distance the roadway is cut out of the sides of mountains, with frowning canyons extending hundreds of feet below. This road was an expensive one to build, and except for the great value of the property beyond, no company would have ventured upon the work of its construction." [It was abandoned soon after the railway was fully operating in 1895.]
"Arriving at the mining camp we see the buildings of the company almost hanging upon the mountain side. A site had to be graded for every structure. The few buildings in the town of Jerome, a half mile further on, are similarly situated."
"The present plant of the company consists of a smelter containing 2 furnaces, rock breakers, etc.; and there are also hoisting works, carpenter and blacksmith shops, matte house, boarding house, and several less important buildings. A reverberatory furnace is now being built, and enlarged machinery has arrived for the hoisting works, the former hoist being entirely inadequate to do the work required of it. There are roasting beds on the side of the mountain, part of the ore being taken out of a tunnel on a level with these beds, and after being roasted, returned to the shaft and there hoisted to an upper level where the smelters are situated. The mining operations throughout are not extensive, but are conducted, under difficulties, on the plans laid out by the former company. Most great mines become such by a system of evolution."
"The United Verde is in its earliest stages. Despite the great disadvantages under which the discoverers of this ledge labored in opening their property, they persisted, full in the faith that they had a mine which would warrant the expenditure. They obtained their machinery and began operations. Their faith was at once verified. The mine made excellent returns. Eventually the present owner, W. A. Clark, Esq., of Butte, Montana, was induced to [lease and] purchase the property. Now the work of evolution is progressing rapidly, because there is no lack of capital to prosecute all needed improvements."
"Besides the new machinery above alluded to (now about to be put in) there are also to be built a system of tramways from the mine to Verde Station, from where the ore and matte are presently shipped to favorable points for final working. the distance will be 15 miles or more. Through the mountainous region it is proposed to have the tramways run upon a certain level to some feasible spot, and there a perpendicular hoist will be arranged to elevate the cars to a higher level. By a similar system the cars will be lowered on the other side of the summit to the level of the valley in which the Verde Station is located. These tramways will be the precursors of a steam railway, which will doubtless be built to the mine in the near future. At present the richer ores and matte are freighted over the mountains at great expense by mule teams."
"The United Verde and adjacent mines in the same belt will fully warrant unusual expense in providing transportation facilities by steam and by the time these are obtained we shall see at Jerome a more extensive, if not a more promising camp than is now dreamed of. Other locations are soon to be developed and the prospects are that the United Verde will be one of a group of mines in this locality already made famous by this great property."
"The United Verde company now gives employment directly or indirectly (as miners, teamsters, wood choppers, etc.) to 300 or 400 men. The building of a railroad to the property will deprive a large portion of these teamsters of occupation, but by the time such an improvement is inaugurated there will be a great expansion of work in this camp, and even additional labor will be needed."
"Our correspondent's next visit was to the Senator mine, 12 miles east of Prescott. The increasing importance of this mine has encouraged an experienced stage man to put on a daily conveyance, and the Senator can now be reached with ease. This property is one of a number of properties owned in Arizona by Phelps, Dodge & Co., of New York, the well-known metal-broker firm. One of the company's great mines is at Bisbee, Cochise County; another is the Old Dominion mine, in Gila County, while in the vicinity of Prescott the Senator, the Boggs, the Hackberry, and the Copper Basin are all under the same management." [Phelps Dodge had attempted to purchase the United Verde Copper Company in 1888, and did purchase the properties in 1935.]
(Arizona Weekly Enterprise; Florence; November 22, 1890; by the correspondent for "Mining and Scientific Press.").