The city of Bisbee is actually made up of the original town, plus a few of the outlying former small towns. One of those just south of the original part of Bisbee is Lowell.
The town was once like most places, with a main street shops and a few neighborhoods. Unfortunately for Lowell the massive copper mine next door wiped out all of the housing leaving only the main street, Erie Avenue.
Rather than completely die, Erie Avenue lives on thanks to a group of people who make up Lowell Americana Project.
At first glance it seems it is a ghost town where someone has parked a number of old vehicles. Closer examination shows there are a number of business that cater to the steady (but small) stream of tourists, including the very good Bisbee Breakfast Club restaurant – get the Shrimp Omelet, it is very good.
We arrived mid afternoon on a Sunday so there weren’t any tourist cars parked in the way of the photo ops with the vintage ones parked all along Erie Street.
One of many low angle views, this one of an Edsel.
Almost all of the cars and trucks parked around town are ‘rusty gold’ including this Studebaker pickup.
An old Chevy underneath the dealership sign.
This old bus has been renamed Strayhound.
There are a few open businesses to entertain you.
A couple of fully restored vehicles stand out amongst the rust.
Lowell, Arizona is one quirky stop, and literally about 1/4 mile from the Shady Dell!
Bisbee, Arizona is an eclectic little city that has for more than 100 years been a mining town. In addition for the last 40 years it has been a tourist town focused on their thriving artist community. As a result you get some really funky places like the Shady Dell.
The Shady Dell amazingly dates from 1927, when it was started as a motor court for the traffic that was going across county on U.S. 80, long before the interstates.
Today the Shady Dell is home to a number of permanently parked vintage campers that you can rent out for the night.
The Shady Dell’s environment encourages a sense of community.
If you are hungry Dot’s Diner is part of the setting for breakfast and lunch.
The trailers are scattered about, giving you a peaceful setting.
To add to the atmosphere there are a few old cars and trucks sitting around.
For a bit more luxury they offer a restored bus.
For those who love the water, this 1947 Chris Craft yacht is the ticket. Sorry no water, it’s Arizona.
The Shady Dell is truly one of those funky places that you must make a stop at. If you want to stay overnight, plan ahead, rumor has it they are booked up 6 months in advance.
Lowell, Arizona is just south of Bisbee, and today is officially part of the city of Bisbee. Not only has the town lost it’s population over the years, but it actually lost it’s land as the massive copper pit mining was expanded.
Today a portion of the main street remains, with a collection of old buildings, cars, trucks and buses – but it has a unique appeal. It is the scene of numerous photo and video shoots.
It is only about 20 miles from Tombstone to Bisbee, but culturally it is a world away from the old west gun crowd. Bisbee is known as an artistic town, full of free spirits, having been named the ‘Best Hippie Town in Arizona’.
It was founded in the late 1800s as a mining town, and there is evidence of that everywhere, with the town situated in a steep valley with a 1 street commercial district, and houses scattered up and down the hills.
Many of the houses and commercial buildings have interesting architecture, but the crown jewel is the Art Deco Cochise County Courthouse.
When the mining eventually died out in the 1970s, the artistic crowd found the town perfect for them, with a fantastic climate, interesting architecture and affordability. Today the town thrives on as one of the destinations in Southern Arizona.