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Santa Rita del Cobre: A Copper Mining Community in New Mexico (Mining the American West)
Synopses & Reviews
The Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans successively mined copper for 200 years at Santa Rita, New Mexico. Starting in 1799 with the Spanish discovery of native copper, the Chino Mines followed industry developments first as a network of underground mines and ultimately as part of the multinational Kennecott Copper Corporation's international open-pit mining operations--operations that would overtake Santa Rita, the town that grew up around them, by 1970. In Santa Rita del Cobre, Huggard and Humble detail the story of these developments, with in-depth explanations of mining technology, and describe the effects on and consequences for the workers, the community, and the natural environment. Evolving from mining-military camp to presidio, to company town, and eventually to independent community, Santa Rita developed rich family, educational, religious, social, and labor traditions before its demise. Extensive archival photographs, many taken by officials of the Kennecott Copper Corporation, accompany the text, providing an important visual and historical record of a town swallowed up by the industry that created it. Santa Rita del Cobre is for students, scholars, and laypersons interested in mining history, mining technology, Western history, Chicano studies, regional history of the Southwest, labor history, or environmental studies.
The Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans, successively, mined copper for more than 200 years in Santa Rita, New Mexico. Starting in 1799 after an Apache man led the Spanish to the native copper deposits, miners at the site followed industry developments in the nineteenth century to create a network of underground mines. In the early twentieth century these works became part of the Chino Copper Company's open-pit mining operations-operations that would overtake Santa Rita by 1970. In Santa Rita del Cobre, Huggard and Humble detail these developments with in-depth explanations of mining technology, and describe the effects on and consequences for the workers, the community, and the natural environment. Originally known as El Cobre, the mining-military camp of Santa Rita del Cobre ultimately became the company town of Santa Rita, which after World War II evolved into an independent community. From the town's beginnings to its demise, its mixed-heritage inhabitants from Mexico and United States cultivated rich family, educational, religious, social, and labor traditions. Extensive archival photographs, many taken by officials of the Kennecott Copper Corporation, accompany the text, providing an important visual and historical record of a town swallowed up by the industry that created it.
About the Author
Christopher J. Huggard is a professor of history at NorthWest Arkansas Community College and has published extensively on the history of mining and the environment in the American West. Terrence M. Humble was born in Santa Rita and retired from Chino Mines as a diesel mechanic and foreman in 2001. He has been recording histories, saving documents, and participating in local preservation of Santa Rita since 1967, publishing several journal articles on his hometown's history.
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