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Old Tyrone Ghost Town

In connection with our series on Silver City I wanted to share this article from 1966 in Desert Magazine. Little did the author know that by 1969 the entire town would be demolished, except for an office building and the jail, when Phelps Dodge reopened their copper mining activities.

The story of Old Tyrone is told in Turquoise in America Part One The Great American Turquoise Rush, 1890-1910. Following the collapse of turquoise prices during the recession of 1910 attention turned to copper in the Burro Mountains. Many of the old turquoise claims were sold to Phelps Dodge and the mining town of Tyrone was created in 1915. While the price of copper soared during WW I it collapsed after the war and the mine was abandoned in 1921 because the company had more economical operations at Bisbee.

Old Tyrone in 1940 showing the hospital and mercantile store.

The railroad to Silver City was a spur from Deming and a reason why copper mining halted in 1921 was because it was more economical for Phelps Dodge to ship processed copper from their Bisbee operations.

Today, as we see in the Silver City videos, little remains of Old Tyrone. New Tyrone was built a short distance to the northeast for workers residence and shopping. The copper mine continues to produce copper and is a significant source of employment for Silver City. Freeport McMoran, who purchased Phelps Dodge, has initiated reclamation on many of the old dumps.


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