Historic Bisbee, Arizona is bustling, with a renewed emphasis on art, wellness, and tourism, but in many ways, it remains a living ghost town of its heyday. At the turn of the century, Bisbee was organized around the copper industry, with stories of massive wealth and exploitation. If you are looking for a place to stay and reckon with the ghosts of the past, there’s no better option than the putatively haunted Copper Queen Hotel.
This Victorian-era hotel is the oldest continuously run hotel in Arizona (in fact, the hotel predates its statehood). Completed in 1902, it was built by the Phelps Dodge Mining Company, owners of the eponymous Copper Queen mine, to be the height of modern luxury, as the company entertained visiting VIPs and dignitaries. The opulent hotel featured an Italianate tile floor, a Tiffany glass ceiling, and a front desk made from Tiger Oak. All the while, Phelps Dodge was systematically underpaying (or not paying) their workers, demanding more hours in dangerous conditions, resulting in a 1917 miners’ strike that led to the arrest and deportation of more than 1300 workers.
By 1975, the quality of the Copper Queen mine had degraded, and the mine was closed. The city in turn experienced a death and rebirth, orienting itself around tours of the mine and as a healthy free-spirited Southwest art colony. In a similar vein, the hotel has made a turn for the paranormal, alleging the existence of at least three ghosts on its premises, which has led to an article in the New York Times and appearances on multiple ghost hunter television shows.
Guests can be said to interact with a young boy named Billy, and an older gentleman wearing a cape and top hat, who has failed to properly introduce himself. The most famous ghost resident is a woman named Julia Lowell, who as legend has it, was a prostitute who worked at the hotel and took her life there. Some male guests report (or self-report, more likely) that at night, a woman whispers in their ear, or plays with their feet. If you too are a fan of ghost footplay, you can experience it for yourself by booking Room 315, the Julia Lowell room.
Know Before You Go
The Copper Queen Hotel is an operating hotel, and certain areas are restricted to hotel guests. Visitors can enjoy the hotel lobby, or ask about tours.