Panorama of Globe, February, 2001.

Originally Globe City, the community was named for the Globe silver mine established by the Anderson brothers in 1873.  The mine is said to be named from a perfectly shaped 9" globe of nearly pure silver found there by a prospector.  It is also said that the silver nugget might not have been quite that impressive, but merely described as being as big "as the whole globe" by the exuberant discoverer.2

While Globe was born out of the discovery of silver, it would not have long survived without the discovery of copper.  The first copper mine in the area was opened in 1878, at about the time that the silver played out.  The Old Dominion Mine, which would become the prime economic engine of the community, opened 3 years later.

The railroad came to Globe in 1898, and shortly thereafter the area's economy boomed.  At the end of the 19th century Globe was already one of the largest and busiest cities in Arizona.  In the first two decades of the new century, the population doubled.  Contractors could hardly keep up with the demand for new homes.  Many of the historic buildings were built in this era.

The good times did not last.  The Old Dominion Mine closed in 1931.  Other mines in the area curtailed their operations.  Many of the other mines had a resurgence during World War II, but the community has never been able to achieve its old glory.

As a result, the architecture of the area has been frozen in time.  There has been little economic reason to replace the beautiful old structures, and many have been preserved.

The Globe sculpture in the median beneath the railroad overpass on US Route 60.  January, 2001.

The Gila County Seat

When Arizona became a territory of the United States in 1863, there was no Gila County.  The upstart towns of Globe and McMillenville objected to county governments 100 miles away in Phoenix and Florence.  The Arizona Territorial Legislature listened, and the next year created Gila County out of parts of Pinal and Maricopa Counties.  In 1889, 1,500 square miles of land in  Yavapai County was added.

Globe was named as the seat of the new county.  County offices were originally located in adobe buildings at the corner of Broad and Oak Streets.  In 1887 these structures were razed, to be replaced by a two story courthouse with a jail downstairs on the same location.

A thriving economy following the turn of the century allowed the construction of a magnificent new courthouse (pictured above).  Bonds in the sum of $40,000 financed the construction which was completed in 1907.  The "modern composite" design features Egyptian ornamentation and a French Renaissance roof.  Inside, a grand staircase with copper clad railings fills the central atrium while second story balconies look down on the stairway illuminated by a skylight high above.

County business was conducted at the courthouse for 72 years until the county moved to a new facility in southeastern Globe.  In 1984 the building became home to the Cobr� Valley Center for the Arts, and a long-range restoration project was started.

1. "Table DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000--Arizona," American FactFinder, U.S. Census Bureau. Back to text

2. Will C. Barnes, Arizona Place Names, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1997, p. 180.Back to text

Wilbur A. Haak, Globe's Historic Buildings, Gila County Historical Society, Globe, AZ, 1998, p. i, 13.

Wilbur A. Haak, Copper Bottom Tales, Gila County Historical Society, Globe, AZ, 1991, p. 1-2.

See also: Arizona's Cobr� Valley Communities

This page was last revised on 07/13/04.