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Superior History

The History of superior arizona

The hub mine claim
of 1875

Superior began as a mining town with the Hub Mine claim in 1875 filed by W. Tuttle and the Irene Mine claim filed by P. Swain in 1876. These claims, together, became known as the Silver Queen Mine and by 1910 were owned by Colonel Boyce Thompson and renamed the Magma Copper Company. They had followed the opening, in 1875, of the famous, nearby, Silver King Mine founded by Mason, Long, Copeland and Regan that brought prospecting to the area.

The History of superior arizona

The magma smelter In 1914

Superior narrowly avoided becoming a ghost town when the Silver Queen and Silver King Mines were impacted by the change in the U.S. monetary standard in 1893 with the devaluation of silver from $1.50 to $.20 per ounce. This change from silver to gold killed many of the West’s silver mines. Fortunately, the miners looking for silver and gold also found copper, and with the founding of the Magma Copper Company, Superior continued to thrive. For 86 years, the Magma pulled copper and silver out of Superior’s mountains.

The History of superior arizona

The Boyce Thompson arboretum

Superior grew as more businesses evolved to serve the townspeople and ranching families. Nearby water from Queen Creek, water piped up from nearby Florence and a commerce base created by the ranchers and merchants that served the miners, kept Superior alive. This growth encouraged community involvement and activities that bonded people to Superior. Clubs and associations were formed, friendships forged, and more businesses built, including the Magma Hotel. Superior’s tourism boomed when Boyce Thompson, who was a self-made millionaire and mining magnate, established the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in 1923 to exhibit and study plants from all over the world.

The History of superior arizona

Main street & Magma Blvd

Superior is home to many resilient and self-reliant residents, many of whom are third generation descendants of the early settlers of the town. They are fiercely proud of their town, as are the newer arrivals. The artist community has brought the downtown area back to life, while revitalizing the historic buildings on Main Street and Magma Blvd with quaint new businesses. Hollywood has discovered this historic wild west town’s charm, as they have filmed a number of commercials and movies in the area including How The West Was Won, The Prophecy, U-Turn, The Fugitive and the PBS special Skin Walkers by Tony Hillerman.

The History of superior arizona

1982 The mine shut down

Some predicted that in 1982 when the town’s largest mine shut down it would mean the end of Superior and it, too, would become another Arizona ghost town. The following decade proved them wrong. The town had developed a much loved sustainable community in their beautiful high desert setting. The Magma Mine reopened in the 1990’s as the Resolution Copper Company. A copper dome was found 7,000 feet underground that is projected to be the largest copper vein in the United States, fourth-largest undeveloped copper deposit in the world, and is expected to revitalize Superior with employment and businesses.

The History of superior arizona

100+ year history & charm

Historic pictures of Superior show that the area has grown over its 100+ year history, but still retains its small town cultural and historic charm. Visitors who travel to Superior can see reminders of the glory days of mining and ranching in the town while enjoying the local shops, food, arts, and town activities such as Apache Leap Days and the Historic Home Tours that make Superior a great day trip and a walk back in time.

visit superior

learn more about the history of superior by visiting us today

To learn more about the history of Superior, visit the Bob Jones Museum or pick up a copy of the books When Silver was King by Jack San Felice and Superior and Queen Valley by Carol Schumacher and Danielle Tomerlin at local gift stores or from the authors through the QV Historical Society. To experience a mining themed Escape Room activity based on the history of the area, visit the Lost Dutchman Room at Escape Rooms Mesa owned by the Superior and Queen Valley book authors.

THE AMAZING BUSINESSES OF OUR COMMUNITY

SUPERIOR CHAMBER Businesses

Copper Cottages

House rentals in the town of Superior.

Spectacular mountain views from this wonderful home that sits on a quiet street. With a spectacular view of Apache Leap mountain and Picket Post Mountain ranges.

Each unit is a one bedroom home, fully furnished, with safe and private secured parking, walking distance from the historical down town Superior and perfect for a short getaway or business booking.

Our homes are designed to fit anyone's budget and taste.  Each unit is fully furnished with washer/dryer, linens, full size and equipped kitchen, air conditioning, TV & access to WiFi.

Each home has its own unique character including a Tiny Home option

Superior, AZ

Pickle Barrel Trading Post

Jewelry, Home Decor, Gifts; Since 2003, the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona has been a regional destination point for national and international visitors. The Pickle Barrel is known for its curated collection of Sleeping Beauty turquoise jewelry, Mata Ortiz pottery, Native American crafts, and Southwest home décor. Visitors love trading post items such as Arizona souvenirs and tasty edibles; the antiques and vintage reproductions are popular, too, as well as the rock and mineral room. Buckskin, beading supplies, and leatherworking goods are all on hand, as well as Southwest and Native American-themed books, music, and films. As they say, ‘You Won’t Believe What’s Inside’, and it’s true!

Globe, AZ

Arizona Water Co

Arizona Water Company has served growing Arizona communities for over 65 years. In 1955, the Company purchased ten water systems from the Arizona Public Service Company. Today, we operate 22 water systems in more than 30 communities throughout Arizona. Our corporate office is located in Phoenix and we have 12 local offices located in the communities we serve. Our employees are your neighbors and we are proud to provide clean and reliable drinking water through our award-winning production and distribution systems on demand, every day.

Superior, AZ
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