A black and white postcard showing two photos of burros in Bisbee. The first is shown carrying sacks of water and the second is carrying wood for stoves. The front captions read: “Wood Burro - I'm a Water Wagon from Bisbee, Ariz." The postcard is unused and was published by the Humphries Photo Company Publishers, El Paso, Texas. Helen Bendixen collection.
Before Bisbee had proper infrastructure and pipelines, the residents of Bisbee used burros to bring their supply of water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. These beasts of burden were highly relied upon during the early years of Bisbee. Before automobiles, they transported water, firewood, ore, laundry, and the construction materials to build Bisbee’s first homes. Mexican businessmen owned water burros that carried two twenty-gallon canvas sacks and took them from door to door to Bisbee residents. They sold the water for fifty cents ($14.60 in 2021) per twenty-gallon bag. The price was once at twenty-five cents but was doubled due to scarcity during drought and a desire for better profit margins. Bisbee’s children also favored these animals as they were patient enough to allow the youngsters to ride on their backs. The affection for burros was so strong that in July 1911 when 5,000 wild burros were to be slaughtered to make soap, several of Bisbee residents protested for them to be spared.
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