Globe owes its existence to copper, silver and other precious metals discovered 150 years ago. Mining started in the Globe district in the early 1870s after the Fort Apache and San Carlos Apache reservations were created. The town of Globe was laid out and a post office was established in 1876.
Most of the historic central business district was developed from 1904 to 1920, during the most prosperous times of the Old Dominion Mine. Earlier adobe and frame buildings were destroyed by floods and fires, according to a National Register of Historic Places nomination form. bit.ly/30RHcrX
Unlike other mining towns in Arizona, Globe never had a company store operated because local merchants objected to the competition. This led to a more diverse, independent central business district.
Globe's development got a boost when a spur railroad of the Southern Pacific reached the town in 1898 and later with construction of the Apache Trail in 1905 from Mesa to the Roosevelt Dam site. Five years later, the road reached Globe.
In 1920, when Arizona became the top-producing copper state in the nation, the Globe district contributed more than 30 percent of the total output.
Town declined after mine closure
Globe's population peaked in 1930 at 11,000 residents but declined to close to 7,000 after the Old Dominion Mine ceased operations in 1931. Much of the mining moved to nearby Miami and the Pinto Valley.
The Old Dominion Mine produced 800 million pounds of copper before it closed. Globe has turned the mine site into the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park, with walking and mountain bike trails, historical exhibits & picnic tables. The park is open dawn to dusk and is worth exploring in good weather.
Among the most prominent of Globe's historic buildings is the Gila County Courthouse, built in 1906-07 at Broad and Oak streets. The four-story building, designed by W.R. Norton of Phoenix, was constructed with a locally quarried volcanic stone. The architecture is a Neoclassical Revival style.
Down the block, is a two-story Beaux Arts design with a terra-cotta facade that was built in 1909 for the Gila Valley Bank & Trust at Broad and Mesquite streets.
Bacon's Boots and Saddles was next door to the bank but it closed in 2016 after nearly 63 years in business. The Western store was one of Globe's oldest businesses.
Earl Bacon learned the saddlemaking trade from his father Ed, who died in July 2015. The family's Arizona roots go back to the 1880s when Ed's great grandfather, Pete Bacon, moved the family to what is now the Roosevelt Lake basin.
Another longtime business, the Drift Inn Saloon, opened in 1902. It's worth a stop for a cold drink on hot day. Arizona Highways named it one of the state's Magnificent Seven Saloons. At one time, Drift Inn opened at 6 a.m. for shift change when the mines were in full production. These days, first call is 10 a.m.
The Pickle Barrel Trading Post on South Broad Street is worth a look. It occupies a sprawling Old Dominion Copper Co. warehouse, built in 1905. Pickle Barrel sells jewelry, books, cowboy hats, home furnishings, pottery, reproduction signs and garden sculptures.
Globe's local dining options
Chef John Wong's restaurants -- Bravo and Bloom -- come highly recommended and we can vouch for Bravo, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch in an indoor/outdoor room. The two restaurants are side-by-side on historic Broad Street.
We also tried NurdBerger, a five-table joint with good hamburgers at 420 S. Hill St., near the 1920 Hill Street School.
For Mexican food, travel a few miles west of town to Guayo's on the Trail along State Route 188 or visit nearby Miami to eat at Guayo's El Rey restaurant. Both are excellent.
Globe is a town that many travelers pass through on their way to other places, but it's worth exploring to peel back the onion to reveal its pungent history. That includes Gila County Historical Museum and Besh-Ba-Gowah, a 200-room prehistoric Salado pueblo on a ridge overlooking Pinal Creek.
Just off Broad Street there's a monument to Globe's Hanging Tree. It's long gone but a sycamore sapling is growing there now.
The monument notes that L.V. Grime and C.B. Hawley were hanged from a sycamore on Aug. 24, 1882, for robbing and murdering a doctor and a Wells Fargo packer. The culprits got a hearing in on a Wednesday and were lynched at 2 a.m. Thursday. The saloons were closed and it was an orderly lynching. Frontier justice was swift with Globe's Hanging Tree.
Shady characters in town's past
Among the tragic unsavory characters who called frontier Globe home was a woman named Celia Ann "Mattie" Blaylock. She met Wyatt Earp while working as a prostitute in Dodge City, Kan. , circa 1873. They moved to Tombstone in 1879 and she became the lawman's common-law wife.
After they split, Mattie moved to Globe where she resumed working as a soiled dove. She died at age 38 on July 3, 1888 after taking a lethal dose of the painkiller laudanum. Mattie Earp was buried at Pinal City, near present day Superior.
On the other side of the ledger, two of Globe's outstanding citizens became leading political figures in Arizona. George W.P. Hunt, Globe's first mayor, was elected Arizona's first governor in 1912 and served seven terms.
Globe native Rose Mofford served 50 years in state government, including 11 years as secretary of state and three years as governor. She was the first woman in Arizona to serve in both of those offices.
Spend some time in nearby Miami: