Bisbee’s Warren on Arizona’s state seal

Ever look at Arizona’s state seal? There’s a miner depicted there who is connected to Cochise County’s history.

Arizona's state seal

Arizona's state seal

The mining prospector is George Warren, a man who held a claim to Bisbee‘s copper wealth.

Clay Thompson wrote a column in Friday’s Arizona Republic that talked a little bit about the man and why he is on the seal.

He says he got most of his info from Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian. Thompson writes:

“He [Warren] had quite a life, including being raised by Apaches until they traded him for some sugar.

The Apaches seem to have gotten the better end of that deal because Warren turned out to be kind of a bum.

He had many various misadventures, mostly fueled by alcohol.

However, Warren’s crowning moment came at a Fourth of July celebration in Bisbee where, with a snoot full, he bet that he could outrun a man on a horse through Brewery Gulch.

He lost, of course, and, in doing so, lost his share in what became Bisbee’s fabulously wealthy Copper Queen mine. He died a pauper.”

So how did this guy get on Arizona’s state seal? According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, Warren’s picture was taken by famed photographer, C.S. Fly. The post says:

“A print of this photo hung in the office of William Brophy, founder of the Bank of Bisbee and general manager of the Phelps Dodge Mercantile Company. During the Constitutional Convention in 1910, Delegate Ellinwood, a former director of the Bisbee bank, borrowed the picture of Warren from Brophy to use as a model for the seal. Warren’s signature pose, with right arm and leg propped up, became part of the first state seal.”

Arizona (and Bisbee in particular) had a wealth of copper that was mined in the 1800s through the late 1900s. The copper helped “electrify” the country when power lines were installed across rural America. Today, you can go underground with former miners who will tell you about mining life. It’s at Bisbee’s Queen Mine Tour.

One of Bisbee’s neighborhoods is the “Warren district,” where the beautiful arts and crafts-era Greenway House is and farmers markets are held every Saturday from May to October.

The Warren district is also home to the Warren Ballpark, the oldest continually run ballpark in the U.S. The ballpark is celebrating its 100th birthday this year during the July Fourth weekend. See the Bisbee events calendar. Download the 2009 Annual Bisbee events document for a full schedule.


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