A black and white postcard of the Court House, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the Iron Man statue. The front caption at the bottom in white reads: “Court House and Catholic Church- Bisbee, Arizona B-349”. The postcard is unused and was published by the L.L. Cook Company, Milwaukee on Kodak paper. Thomas N. Foster Collection.
The county seat of Cochise County was moved from Tombstone to Bisbee in 1929 necessitating the construction of a new courthouse on Quality Hill. The land was donated by the Phelps Dodge Corporation and Tucson architect Roy Place was hired. The construction was temporarily hindered by a strike of 30 workers on January 9, 1931. The design is an example of art deco architecture with white walls hinting at adobe buildings. Both the exterior and interior feature art deco art that was added as part of the WPA Federal Art Project. The interior was furnished by the Phelps Dodge Mercantile company. A small dedication ceremony was held on Friday, October 16, 1931 and was attended by a number of attorneys and judges. In 1935, the copper coated Iron Man statue sculpted by Raymond Phillips Sanderson was unveiled in front of the courthouse. - The Saint Patrick’s church was built in 1916 to serve the dominant religious sect in Bisbee – the Roman Catholics. The building is Gothic Revival in style and was designed by Albert. C. Martin from Los Angeles. The church was named for the patron saint of Ireland and for the many Irish miners in Bisbee. Saint Patrick’s was the fourth hall of worship built for Catholics in the Bisbee. The first meeting place was a cabin on Naco Road. The second was built on Quality Hill from adobe which served from 1884 until 1890 when the congregation outgrew the building. The third Catholic church was built on Clawson Avenue in 1891. In 1913, Father Constant Mandlin began fundraiser to build a grand church. By 1916 construction began at the cost of $45,000 ($1,119,000 in 2021). The church’s most stunning feature are windows with Munich Pictorial style-stained glass that depict Bible scenes which were installed by Emil Frei. The first pastor at Saint Patrick's was Father Gheldof who attended to Bisbee’s Catholics from 1895 to 1905. St Patrick's Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Since their installation 107 years prior, the windows never had any restoration or cleaning work done. In 2020, fundraising brought in $500,000 for the window’s much need restoration project. Support not only came from Arizona, but a few donations also came from as far Canada and the Philippines. Among the workers on the project was Emil Frei’s great-grandson, Stephen Frei. Other recent restoration work on the church included remortaring the bricks and repairing the roof. With all this love and labor, the Saint’s Patrick’s church will remain a beloved site in Bisbee for generations to come. - In 1935, during the Great Depression, artist Raymond Phillips Sanderson was commissioned to create a monument to Bisbee’s Miners through the . It was Sanderson’s first major work, and he was paid 30$ a month by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration for the six months it took to complete the statue. Despite the name, the Iron man is mostly concrete with a thin coating of copper. Sanderson used 200 pounds of copper wire through a oxyacetylene heated gun to spray the solid cement. The physic of the statue was modeled after Bisbee resident Lee Petrovitch. The Iron man statue was Sanderson’s first major commission. Along with the statue, he was commissioned for a second art piece through the WPA Federal Art Project, a bass relief in plaster “A Cavalcade of Cochise County History” tin Cochise County Courthouse. In a 1965 interview conducted by Sylvia Loomis, Sanderson is quoted “It stood up beautifully, except that the people of Bisbee don’t like copper to turn green and they like a bright copper, so every year they paint with copper paint which annoys me to no end. But as long as they like it why it’s all right with me. “ His goal of the statue was to portray ‘Beauty, toil and simplicity”. He was paid 30$ a month by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration for the six months it took to complete the statue. The plaque at the bottom of the statue is inscribed with : “To Those Virile Men The Copper Miners Whose contribution to the development of the wealth and lore of the state of Arizona has been magnificent – Erected by the Citizens of the Warren Mining District this Eleventh Day of November A.D. 1935.” Today, the more mischievous of Bisbee’s residents will decorate the Iron Man statue for various occasions, anything from a festive Christmas hat to a football jersey during the high school’s football games.
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