A colorized postcard of the Gardner Shaft. The front caption on the top left reads: “Gardner Shaft, (Copper Queen), Bisbee, Arizona.” The postcard is unused and was published by the Curt Teich, Chicago, Illinois.
The claims that would become Gardner mine was discovered by a pair known as Gardner and Howell, when it came into development the mine was named after the first claimant. The claim was bought by the Copper Queen Company who filed a patent in April 1891 and installed a hoist in 1905. The Gardner shaft was sunk 626 feet and was connected to the Spray Mine by tunnels on the 200-, 400-, and 600-foot levels. The Gardner was the smaller shaft that lay only 1,440 feet east southeast from the Spray shaft. Gardner was used as a prospecting shaft for underground exploration. A new headframe needed to be installed in 1904 when enough ore was discovered, and the hoist used was the largest in the Southwest at the time. The working conditions were unique, it was both hot and humid in the interior of the mine. Large fans had to be installed to create a comfortable working environment. The Gardner Mine was temporarily closed in January 1921 but reopened the following year. It closed again after the merger between the Phelps Dodge and Calumet & Arizona mining companies on November 1st, 1931. When the mine reopened in 1936 several repairs were done in the shaft. Mining continued on a lease basis until 1944 when the Gardner Mine shut down for good. Along with copper, the Gardner also produced zinc and lead, along with smaller amounts of silver and gold.