“The grass is always green and the orange’s (sic) always bloom.”
I start this post with a sentence from our writer. This is a charming card in every respect. Our writer sends the card from Bisbee, Arizona, October 10, 1912.
Arizona had become a state a few months before our writer sent this card to his mom. This building is the original state capitol building, which now houses the Arizona State Capitol Museum.
“My Dear Ma – This is a view of the State Capital (sic) of Arizona, which is located in the City of Phoenix 231 miles from here in the most beautiful valley of Arizona, where the grass is always green & the oranges always bloom. Your affect son Chas.”
Sent to a Mrs. H. J. Young #168 Melville St., Rochester, NY
That day in Bisbee, the newspaper covers national news, of course. There’s lots of news about various Sheriffs, ranch men, and “rebels” traveling around, with or without shooting. Lots of mining news fills the pages. And squirrel whiskey – apparently this was an important kind of whiskey, needed in Bisbee at this time. I’ve researched said squirrel whiskey with some diligence and did not find a definitive description. I did find thing ranging from moonshine that made one crazy, or whiskey that made one energetic in general. Nevertheless, I LOVE the name.
About the time of this postcard, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. It was a mining town – copper, silver and gold. Mineral deposits were discovered by a tracker, working with US Army scouts tracking Apaches. That tracker saw evidence of mineral deposits instead. In fact, Bisbee had one of the richest mineral deposits in the world.
This must have been an incredible time in this part of Arizona. The excitement must have been palpable. These people were literally making money – the gold, silver and copper used to make currency, wire, jewelry, all the things these metals make. I like the idea that some bit of copper that I’ve touched in my life came from these hills.
Interestingly, as I write this, we are in the pandemic of 2020, with many businesses and institutions closed due to the virus circulating. Bisbee had the first public library in Arizona, which still operates. A year after our writer sent this postcard, that library was closed twice, due to communicable disease; spinal meningitis and smallpox. And history is history and time marches on. Today, the library’s website says it is open for curbside pickup. I wonder what people 110 years from now will be reading and thinking about the Great Pandemic of 2020.
The library had an average of 261 people visit per day. That statistic is remarkable. With a population of 25,000, that’s a lot of people reading a lot of books!
I envision a ranch, somewhere a few miles out of town, some cowboy from the ranch, or the ranch owner, or the wife or kids and a trip to town, to get books, take them home to entertain themselves through dark Arizona nights, safe in their home.
Sheep, cattle, fighting, brothels, bars, mining, railroads, and all the people, ideas and things that come with all of that, together in this small town near the Mexican border. The energy, hopefulness, enthusiasm must have been palpable.
And, then, to the north – that magical Valley of the Sun, which our writer references – where the grass is always green and the oranges always bloom…
And, there is Arizona, a mixture of riches and dreams and scent of orange blossoms so lovely, it still haunts my dreams.
Off to another adventure and another story about Arizona, told in one postcard, from one day, one time, one thought from one person to another.
Happy Travels!! Sherry