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Downtown Santa Rita, 1913. Courtesy of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.

Proceeding up Hwy. 356 is the Hobo Mine, 1,000 feet deep, that dates back to the 1900s and nearby is the 700 foot deep Combination, with a timber headframe. These, formerly owned by the Blackhawk Consolidated Mining Co., are connected underground. “You could go to a lot of places underground and never see the sun,” said Humble. He told about a miner who took a wrong turn underground and walked a long way before he saw other men in the distance. He had gone in one mine and came up in another! From then on he was known among his friends as “Perdido,” the “lost one.” Across the highway is the Princess, a USSR & M mine. It goes down almost 1600 feet. The Princess was sunk in 1948 and mined until 1969. “My dad was one of the miners that sank the shaft to the bottom of this ore body,” said Terry. Then in Hanover, north of the intersection of 356 and 152, looms the Empire Zinc headframe. This is the site of the “Salt of the Earth” strike that happened in 1950-

1952. When the miners went to confer for higher wages, the company refused to talk to them so the men set up picket lines on Oct. 17, 1950 and were there for about seven months. When a judge in Silver City passed an injunction saying the miners could not picket or block the road, the men had to move, so their wives and female relatives moved into the lines. Removed from the line for “unlawful assembly,” wives, female relatives, and children were taken, to the county jail and held for one day. An agreement on the grievances finally settled the strike after 15 months. All these events were reported by the Silver City Enterprise and national press stories. The strike received international coverage when a 1954 film, “The Salt of The Earth,” was produced locally by Paul Jarrico and directed by Herbert Biberman. Many of the miners and their family members were in the cast. Chief among these was Juan Chacón, president of Local 890 of International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter

Workers. Rosaura Revueltas, a Mexican actress, was arrested and deported by the INS a few days before the filming ended. Despite charges of communism, threats, and blacklisting of the film, it won worldwide acclamation and is still a popular film today. Across the road from the Empire Zinc and high on the hill is the Pewabic Mine, its metal headframe blown over in high winds in 1961. The Pewabic and the Kearney, located across the road from the Princess, mined zinc and lead during the 1940’s and up to 1974 and were owned by the Peru Mining Co. Humble’s map shows 35 old mines and their locations. Five headframes can still be seen today from the highways: North of Bayard 1.9 miles on 356, in Vanadium, the Bullfrog’s headframe is on the left. Continuing north on 356, the Princess headframe is on the right and immediately to the left is the timbered Combination. North of the 356 and Hwy. 152 is the Empire Zinc headframe. On 152, east of the SILVER CITYLIFE – 29

Silver City Life Summer/Fall 2011  

Silver City Life is a fabulous publication featuring the best of what Silver City New Mexico has to offer in the way of unique people, busin...

Silver City Life Summer/Fall 2011  

Silver City Life is a fabulous publication featuring the best of what Silver City New Mexico has to offer in the way of unique people, busin...

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