Apache Leap rises above downtown Superior, Arizona
The town of Superior is in northeastern Pinal County at the junction of US Highway 60 and Arizona Route 177. Just west of Superior is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. This is an area popular with Hollywood, and movies such as Eight Legged Freaks, How the West Was Won, The Prophecy and The Gauntlet were filmed here.
The history of Superior revolves mostly around the mining of copper, silver and gold. An Englishman by the name of George Lobb sold his holdings in the Golden Eagle Silver Mine to the Lake Superior and Arizona Mining Company in 1902, but he stayed in the area and platted the townsite of Superior that same year. He named the town after the mining company. The first postmaster took office in December, 1902.
In 1910, William Boyce Thompson arrived from Montana and bought the Silver Queen Mine (first worked in 1875) and renamed it the Magma Copper Company. Then he bought out Lake Superior and Arizona, adding their properties to the Magma holdings. At first, Thompson sent his ore by wagon to Florence and then by rail to the big smelter at Hayden for refining. Then he built the Magma Arizona Railroad to carry his copper ore from Superior to Webster in 1915. Come 1924 and he finally built a new smelter in Superior. Magma Copper cut back operations in 1981 and since then, Superior has worked to position itself as a tourism and retirement center. As the mines in the Superior area were all underground mines, the possibilities of profitably re-opening any of them are slim to none.
To take the photos on this page, I traveled through Superior early on a Sunday morning in March. Hardly anyone was out and about but that made it easy to get around and take the photos I do have. Sure could have used a cup of real coffee though, that convenience store stuff just doesn't cut it. If only there were enough population to support a real cup of coffee...
The view southwest of Superior
The Resolution Copper Smelter in Superior
Parts of the newer and older Magma Hotel(s)
What's left of the original Magma Hotel
High School or Higher: 71.0%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 7.0%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 2.8%
2011 Cost of Living Index for Superior: 89.7
Estimated Median Household Income: $35,200
Estimated Median Home Value: $60,700
Median Resident Age: 39.2 Years
Government, Mining, Construction, Educational Services, Lodging & Food Services, Health Care, Social Services, Arts & Entertainment, Transportation Services, Retail Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 11.2%
2010 Population Demographics
|Population by Age|
|18 & over||2,167|
|65 & over||555|
|Population by Ethnicity|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,942|
|Non Hispanic or Latino||895|
|Population by Race|
|Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||0|
|Two or more||108|