Bisbee, Arizona

The historic
The historic

In the historic district of Old Bisbee, S. Grant Sergot is handmaking a fur felt hat inside the Victorian-style Optimo Hatworks.

Located at 47 Main Street, his hat business not only offers hand-formed fur felt hats among its original contemporary and period fashions, it is also an atelier (salon studio) that shares old world hat making demonstrations with the public.

The Old West world is well intact in the turn-of-the-20th-century historic district of Bisbee, a town of 6,390 people. In full-gunslinger getup, local  historian Michael London shares the former mining camp’s gold, silver and turquoise boomtown history with locals and visitors alike in his Historic Walking Tour. His historic photographs of the city bring home the tumultuous changes brought about from mining the region.

To hear more colorful stories about Bisbee and to enjoy the city best, Sergot recommends these hot spots.

Good Cowboy Bar: Bisbee Grand Saloon (61 Main St.).

Favorite Cuisine: Café Roka (35 Main St.) offers a delicious Stuffed Quail.

Best Art Gallery of the West: Belleza Art Gallery (27 Main St.).

What historic site do most schoolchildren visit? The Copper Queen Mine Tour, where you can ride the train through subterranean tunnels.

Do-Not-Miss Attraction: A favorite of locals at Halloween time, the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour is actually a year-round walking tour that takes you through the local haunts.

Old West Attractions: The Stock Exchange Saloon (15 Brewery Ave.), the original E.F. Hutton stock exchange. The 1898-1902 Copper Queen Hotel (11 Howell Ave.). Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum (5 Copper Queen Plaza).

Popular Local Event: September’s Brewery Gulch Daze, which commemorates the town’s dance hall, saloon and gambling heritage.

Summer Pastime: Baseball fans hit Warren Ballpark, the nation’s oldest, to watch a game of old-time baseball by Bisbee’s own Copper Kings.

Local Radio Personality: Noah Suby’s “B-Train with Noah,” Friday mornings on 96.1 KBRP.

Best Time of Year: Fall, with its soft air and incredible light, plus all the tourists return and liven up the place.

Avg. House Cost: $140,000.

Avg. Temperature: Summer highs in the 80s, with winter lows in the mid-30s.

Who does everyone in Bisbee know? Mayor Jack Porter, who has his nose everywhere, and Walkin’ Mary, a protesting social activist.

What’s the latest gossip? People are saying the copper mines may re-open in Bisbee.

Special thanks to S. Grant Sergot, owner of Optimo Hatworks, for sharing his love of the town with us.

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