It was a beautiful, cloudless November day when ten DIGS members traveled to the historic mining town of Ruby, Arizona. Dan Garand organized the field trip, the first of several scheduled for this winter. The drive to Ruby took nearly three hours as the three vehicles had to negotiate the unimproved “Ruby Road” en route to the town site. Ruby at one time had a population of nearly 1,200 residents. The town dates from the late 1800’s and has had a very colorful past filled with several murders, robberies, and the like. Now it boasts a population of two - the caretaker and his dog “Mica”.
Upon arrival, after the three-hour drive, we were greeted at the gate by - well the gate was actually locked with nobody in sight. Several of the members jumped the gate and walked the last quarter mile to the caretaker’s trailer and raised him from a late sleep-in. After apologizing for oversleeping, he let us all into the town site and happily collected our $12 entry fee. We were told that the ten of us constituted a “very busy day” for him. There are probably 40 or so buildings still standing in the historic site, most in extremely poor shape. The mine processed over 600,000 tons of material resulting in over $10 million of lead and zinc in its heyday. It was the leading producer of those two minerals in the state of Arizona in the 1930’s. It also mined for gold, silver, and copper. The mine eventually closed in 1940 and Ruby was abandoned in 1941.
We spent approximately three hours at the site photographing the various buildings and the mine entrance itself. The one building that had not suffered too much deterioration was the schoolhouse. At one time it boasted an enrollment of 150 students. Other buildings included the mercantile, doctor’s office, assay office, two bunkhouses, and several outhouses. There is also a very picturesque lake near the town with a nice picnic site to enjoy lunch. Everyone agreed that it was a great outing to a very photogenic town site.
DIGS holds a meeting once a month and is open to all residents with an interest in photography. Field trips to local photographic venues and mentoring in various fields of photography are offered. For more information on the club and its activities contact Joe Liske at firstname.lastname@example.org.