"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Sunday, January 31, 2016

AJO, and other stuff.


One can’t get to Organ Pipe without driving through the center of Ajo (AH-ho) Arizona. Ajo owes it’s existance to this hole in the ground.  A mine called the New Cornelia, which later became owned by Phelps Dodge Corporation.

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It was a company town, and not like companies of today, they wanted happy employees.  The company built this plaza to house most of the early business ventures.  Even a movie theater.

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The plaza was anchored by the train depot.

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It’s been a while since the last train passed through.

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Across from the plaza is the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

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The local school.  1750 students in Ajo in 1965.

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Sadly, things went bad in 1983 with a bitter strike by employees of the mine.  The mine was closed in 1984 and most folks left town.  Phelps Dodge began marketing the company houses as winter homes to tourists.  An example.

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They left behind millions of tons of waste rock, as well of this hill of bleached slurry which was left over from the ore processing.  This hill is probably 200 feet high and over a mile long.

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On another day I hiked a seven mile route through the Monument.  Nothing special to see, but it was enlightening. Hiking with the same guy.

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A human highway.

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Water placed strategically by some Samaritan group.  Park Service and Border Patrol do not remove it.

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Water jug dropped by someone. Black bottle thought to be sign of illegal.

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Busted bicycle.  Once green, it had been camoflaged with black paint.

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Whatever their reasoning, drug running or just entering illegally, it is not a friendly enviornment.  I couldn’t imagine trying to cross this terrain without more water than one could possibly carry.

On a brighter note, we are surrounded by these little guys in the campground.  Gambel’s quail.  They are constantly on the move, and hard to get a picture of.

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And, we have suffered through one of these each afternoon.

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That’s what has been happening so far this week….jc


  1. Sad to see things from the past just going to waste.
    Hard to imagine what others will go through for a better way of life.
    We wouldn't mind joining you for such a sunset at this time of year.
    Be safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. That other Hiker sure follows you around a lot...though I have noticed he doesn't seem to follow when it's a cloudy day.. :)) I need to put Ajo on my list of places for this next trip...The pit looks like the one in Bisbee...Magnificent Sunset.....save some for the rest of us.... Horst sends

  3. I and my parents were some of those people that bought one of those company houses back in the late eighties.

  4. Looks like you just missed that big drug bust just across the border from Organ Pipe last week. Always good to check with visitor's center before heading out to make sure nothing is going on in the area.

  5. Interesting. Many people talk of visiting Ajo, but I hadn't seen the mine or heard the history. Nice. And Thank you

  6. The mine is a sad story, as well as the mess they left behind. Love that shot of the RR tracks. And who can complain about desert sunsets.


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