Sunday, December 30, 2012

Can Arizona’s mining heritage be saved?

Prior posts on this blog have detailed how significant pieces of Arizona’s unique mining heritage are being erased. The historic statue of an early Arizona mining engineer is being removed from the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington DC, and the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum has been eliminated.

Perhaps these actions are driven by a currently popular bias against mining. Public opposition is currently blocking a number of major mining projects in Arizona. This is a self-inflicted wound damaging to the economy, but the foolishness will probably persist until a future generation finally recognizes the essential role of minerals in a successful modern economy.

In the meantime, a small group of dedicated volunteers has been and is tirelessly working to preserve some fragment of Arizona’s mining heritage for future generations. Over a period of 20 years, with tens of thousands of volunteer hours, they relocated, preserved, and restored significant mining artifacts. Those included the head frame and stamp mill at the former mineral museum at 1502 W. Washington St. in Phoenix.  Arizona thanked them by having the capitol police lock them out of the building in 2011.

Unbelievably, this small group of volunteers is continuing to preserve something of Arizona’s mining heritage for future generations. They are currently restoring another stamp mill in Cave Creek, AZ. Examples of this groups incredible historical preservation efforts can be seen at:

Will any of their work survive the destructive forces of those trying to rewrite Arizona history?