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November-December 2011

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Arizona Copper Company's baby-gauge steam locomotive Number 2 stands in front of the now-closed Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix. It was a favorite with the tens of thousands of children who visited the museum each year.

Plans for the Arizona Centennial Museum, which is slated to replace the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, consistently show that the locomotive and other historic mining equipment will be removed from the property. For more than a year, the Arizona Historical Society has not answered questions about what will happen to the locomotive, which is one of only twenty-nine surviving steam locomotives in Arizona. However, it is much more historic than that.

The little locomotive's sister engine (Number 1 and known as Little Emma) was shipped overland from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Morenci, Arizona, in 1880. It was the first steam engine on what may have been the first railroad in Arizona. Before Little Emma arrived, mules towed the ore cars on the 20-inch narrow-gauge railroad. Little Emma was cut up a century ago for parts to build an acid plant. Does that make Number 2 the oldest steam locomotive in Arizona? Does the Arizona Historical Society intend to scrap it? What will be its fate?

Caption: Is this steam locomotive, which is part of Arizona's mining history, being scrapped for Arizona's 2012 centennial?
Caption: Is this steam locomotive, which is part of Arizona's mining history, being scrapped for Arizona's 2012 centennial?

Richard Zimmermann
Tempe, Arizona


I am a new subscriber to Rocks & Minerals, and the first issue I got in the mail was the May/June 2011 issue. I was delighted to read the articles on the “Hoedown at the Hansonburg.” These brought back a lot of memories of a trip I made with my parents and my brothers in the summer of 1964 when I was sixteen.

After collecting at the Kelly mine, I remember driving to Bingham with my family and stopping at the rock shop along the highway (Bingham consisted of just a couple of buildings—a small store, a post office, the rock shop, and a house or two). Mrs. Blanchard was still alive and allowing people to collect for a fee. I don't remember what the collecting fee was, but I do remember that she had first pick of anything we found. I don't recall if we had planned to collect or found out about it when we stopped at the rock shop (probably the latter), but we decided to give it a try and drove out along the old dirt road to the Blanchard claims. My brother recalls us driving up the steep, rough road, and my Mom's death grip on the car door handle as we made the turns getting up to the mine (she did not like steep roads or sharp turns). There were some other people there collecting when we arrived. We spent a couple of hours digging around and did find some nice things, especially to a novice collector. I recall that one piece we found—I cannot remember what it was—was good enough that Mrs. Blanchard decided she wanted to keep it. I remember her as a very stark figure, but she was friendly and helped us find good places to collect (it was clear we did not know much about mineral collecting). As we were packing up our finds, she gave me a specimen of langite with fluorite and barite. I still have it catalogued in my collection as well as the memories of meeting her and collecting there early in my mineral collecting career.

Thank you for rekindling those memories.

Dr. William H. Wilkinson 
Vice President—Africa, Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Corporation, Phoenix, Arizona


 I am pleased to see that Jordi Fabre's website ( has a new forum on mineral art and illustration. So far, five artists have shown their art on the site. Among them are Felix Estrella, who was featured in the March/April 2011 issue of Rocks & Minerals, and Steve Sorrell, who is featured in this issue. I hope that additional artists, both beginners and advanced, present their art on this site. I look forward to seeing more of their work posted.

Susan Robinson
Hancock, Michigan


I appreciated Nelson Shaffer's In Memoriam column on Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Carlson in the May/June 2011 issue. As a relatively recent immigrant to southwestern Ohio and a Friends of Mineralogy collector, I experienced the patience Ernie had with novice collectors and benefited from several of his field trips. Despite his failing health last year, he made every effort to attend field trips and share his enthusiasm for mineralogy with others.

Richard Ackerman
South Lebanon, Ohio

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