Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ghost of Lowell

We walked out of the Bisbee Breakfast Club (in yesterday's entry) and into another era.

The town of Lowell was one of a handful of towns that sprang up near Bisbee with the success of Bisbee's mining industry. The majority of the original townsite was consumed by the excavation of the Lavender Pit mine during the 1950s. All that is left today is a small portion of Erie Street.

Lowell's welcome was a weary one.

Its signs of life were barely apparent. The Broken Spoke Taxi Cab Company car was unoccupied, as if the driver had abandoned hope for a passenger.

This reaction seemed similar to that of the anonymous painter of the "Indian Motocycle Co." sign on the side of the building. Was the artist's weariness responsible for the omission of the "r" in motorcycle?

Here the acqua and rust truck competes with the Sprouse Reitz Co. 5 • 10 • 15 Cent Store for "most antique" status.

Even this colorful delivery truck seemed to be waiting patiently with braces under its wheels outside a similarly-colored "physical therapy center" for these vehicles.

Just outside Lowell, we found the Shady Dell campground where the owners have capitalized on the aging of its facility.

They have dedicated their efforts to finding and restoring vintage aluminum travel trailers and renting them out. There are also spots for regular RVs, but the attraction is going back in time to the 1950s.

Way in the back of the motel rooms on wheels was a recently renovated 38' 1947 Chris Craft.

We doubted that the accommodations would have the same appeal if the travel trailers were larger or newer.

It seemed only fitting that also located in the campground is Dot's Diner, a small 12-stool diner that seemed right out of the '50s.

After our brief trip back in time, we returned to Bisbee for a farewell walk downtown.

This was one of those walks that focuses on the small parts of a scene that we find interesting in and of themselves.

Except for the Optimo Hat Works and the Woolworth sign, we have not made an attempt to identify the location of these photos.

So here are some of the small sights we saw on or around the buildings of downtown Bisbee.

Yes, Bisbee seemed the perfect place for a yoga expo.

We definitely have to return to Bisbee, AZ.

1 comment:

oldbisbee said...

Hi there. Just came across your photos while on a google search for something and wanted to maybe help clear up some of the "mysteriousness" of some of the elements of the town of Lowell, present day. The building with the taxi out front is owned by a friend of ours, who collects vintage motorcycles and cars. The "Broken Spoke" is a chain of biker bars he owns, the most famous being in Sturgis, SD. He restored this car and actually used it as a taxi for a while at one of the locations! The building itself is an old hotel converted to a residence and garage and has been in the owner's family for a few generations. The Indian logo was commissioned by the current owner and painted by a local artist/signpainter. "Motocycle" is actually the original spelling of the Indian brand, since their first products were essentially a bicycle with an engine. From Wikipedia ( "...known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company but which was renamed the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company [sic][1][2] in 1928."

Glad you had the chance to enjoy Bisbee!