The Warren district of Bisbee has a completely different ‘vibe’ than Historic Old Bisbee, equally as historic, but just as unique. It was the first planned community in all of Arizona based on the City Beautiful movement that flourished in larger urban cities like Washington DC, between the late 1800s - 1920s designed to encourage civic pride and engagement.
The City Beautiful movement became the common ideal that cities were more than merely commercial necessities, but that they could be an effective social control device and that they could be beautiful. The first practical City Beautiful models were the plan for Washington D.C. and the comprehensive Parks and Boulevards Plan for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These plans, came to public attention in 1902 and inspired the development of a City Beautiful plan for Warren. The new town of Warren was to be named after the legendary George Warren, who was one of the original discoverers of the Bisbee copper mines in 1877, and a most colorful, legendary character of the period.
Warren became home to families of the copper mining management. The area boasts numerous craftsman style bungalows popular during the Arts & Crafts period. Some say that bungalows were originally the chosen architecture style upon which the Warren City Beautiful plan was designed; yet others state the homes were to be Spanish style architecture. Either way, Warren contains ample examples of both and other styles, as well. Additionally, several buildings designed by prominent architect Henry C. Trost are located in Warren.
Warren’s “City Beautiful” plan featured half-mile long Vista Park and wide boulevards. The townsite was laid out in a wedge or fan shape to take advantage of natural drainage. From the center of the fan, wide boulevards reached out symmetrically. To the northeast, steep hillsides required curving, concentric roads, following the topography. This provided access to residential lots commanding a view of the townsite and surrounding countryside. The townsite plan was dominated by Vista Park – 2,500 feet long, and 160 feet wide, flanked on either side by 60-foot wide boulevards. The park’s southern end was to terminate in a broad open “Plaza.”
The first building constructed in Warren in 1907 was the two-story office building of the Warren Company. Other early important non-residential buildings included the Warren-Bisbee Railway Car Barn (1907) and the C & A Mining Company Office Building (1909). The Mining Company building was located at the south end of Arizona Street, near the ball park. In 1974 the City of Bisbee relocated City Hall here from its prior location in Old Bisbee. The Warren Baseball Park was also constructed during this early period.
A modern sewage and water system were completed in 1907. Water pumped from the Bisbee mines (“copper water”) flowed by gravity through a series of pipes, both underground and supported by wooden flumes, to Warren. This provided free irrigation for lawns, gardens, and thousands of trees planted throughout the community. To protect against infrequent, but torrential rains, flood channels were dug right down the middle of several wide boulevards, in the direction of the natural drainage.
The C & A Mining Company provided a hospital for the area’s mining employees. The C&A Hospital was built on a hill at the end of Hillcrest Street in 1918. The hospital closed in 1930 after the C&A Mining Company merged with Phelps Dodge. The building later became the Hillcrest Apartments. It has recently been sold to a developer who will create affordable housing in the building and maintain its historic character.
The Warren Country Club was built about three-quarters of a mile south of Warren. The electric railway brought people to the Club for golf, tennis, rifle shooting, and social activities. Lacking water for grass greens, oil was mixed with sand to provide a smooth putting surface.
The closing of the Lavender Pit mining operation in December 1974 and halting of underground mining in June 1975 signaled the end of mining in Bisbee. Warren saw business after local business shutter their doors in the ensuing years.
In January 2022, a small group of like-minded residents and business owners gathered to share their dreams, ideas and energy to revitalize the Warren neighborhood…to celebrate our own unique community, its history & architecture, the talents, strengths and diversity of those who reside here. We are now officially a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Explore the community, learn about our history and architecture, be inspired to spread our vision and help us celebrate historic Warren!