Guest post by Charlie Connell
The Museum was in the middle of moving the Boras Headframe from Bisbee to Phoenix after Phelps Dodge donated it to the museum. Jerry Ohlund and I went to Bisbee in my RV and stayed on the site to volunteer on the disassembly of the Boras Headframe for the three days. We met Mason Coggins and worked with him on the headframe disassembly. APS was there along with some contractors to disassemble the artifact and load it onto flatbeds. During this time there was considerable use of a cutting torch to cut the rusted bolts on the headframe’s wooden superstructure. It was very windy and there was a very strong possibility of setting the wooden headframe on fire with the cutting torch. Our fire protection was a couple 5 gallon buckets of water. There was no running water on site. We had to go several miles back to the main mine complex to get water. There were several small fires set by the torch during the three days and they were all extinguished.
It was about 6 PM on November 2nd and everyone had left the site. Jerry and I were going to hit the sack and I thought I would go out one more time and check the headframe. It was very gusty and I noted a pretty good fire developing about half way up the headframe where the backstay intermediate timbers connected to the uprights. I took a flat bar and climbed up to the location and used it to beat the fire down. I climbed back down and took a bucket of water to finish off the fire. If we would have gone to bed all that would be left of the headframe in the morning would be a pile of ashes. The next day we managed to complete the disassembly of the headframe and load it onto (3) 40’ flatbeds for transportation back to Phoenix. The picture below and to the left shows the headframe at the mine site in Bisbee and the location where the fire had started. The picture below shows the headframe relocated at the Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum.(November 1-3, 1994)
(click on photo to enlarge)
Note: The AHS attempted to tear the historic headframe down in 2012, but it is still standing outside the abandoned mineral museum at 15th Ave and Washington in Phoenix. Its future, however, is uncertain.