Remembering my Hometown of San Manuel Arizona

Update: I’ve reopened the comments section for readers to leave their thoughts. FYI, users will have their comments moderated for any strong or inappropriate language.

My morning commute is usually pretty uneventful, it’s a short 15 minute drive in which I usually spend most of my time wrestling with the sunshade in a futile attempt to block out the early morning sun. This last Wednesday’s commute was markedly different. As I listened to NPR I heard a name called out during the broadcast that only lived on in childhood memories, that name was “Magma Copper Company”. The broadcaster went on to say that the huge, 500ft twin smelter stacks that acted as an iconic beacon for both the copper company and Buying us online xenical the town of San Manuel were to be demolished at 1:00PM that same day, January 17th 2007. Immediately I called my family in Tucson and told them about the news, of which they were already aware of. I went about the rest of my day as usual, not really thinking much about what was to take place in San Manuel later that day.

BHP's Magma Copper Company

You see, San Manuel was the place where I grew up and Magma Copper Company was at the very center of it’s economic heart and soul. The rich copper veins of the mine provided the residents of San Manuel, and neighboring residents of Oracle and Mammoth with more than enough to enjoy a nice and comfortable living. It was one of the few remaining places where generations of Baby Boomers and their children could make more than $20 an hour with just a High School education, and this was back in the early 1990’s just to put it into perspective. Truth be told, that fact alone gave many graduating High School seniors the incentive to not think twice about furthering their education and Viagra price online remain in San Manuel to settle down and work. Unfortunately, that all changed in the years to come.

In 1996, BHP Billiton purchased Magma Copper Company for $2.4 Billion. In 1999, BHP pulled the plug on the San Manuel copper facility based on the continually falling price of copper. What was once one of the largest underground copper mines in the world ceased to exist and in the blink of an eye, an entire community lost it’s identity and lifeblood. It was hard on my parents to just pick up and leave. My father had worked as a locomotive mechanic for more than 15 years, and now there was no other option than to train in another field and find job opportunities elsewhere. Luckily, my parents had provided my Sister and I with the financial means of getting a college education, yet it was sad to think about all the families that were left with nothing but a final paycheck and a thank you.

I think I avoided learning more about the demolition because I just wasn’t ready to see the smokestacks go. I left San Manuel in 1994 to attend Arizona State, and although I’ve lived in Phoenix for more than 10 years now, San Manuel is the only home I’ve ever known. My family and Generic viagra online I owe so much to that copper company and that small town, and I guess the demolition is one final act of closure that’s been missing ever since the copper mine was shutdown.

As a small tribute, I’ve attached 2 videos (RSS feed readers – please visit the site to see the videos). The first shows the demolition of the twin stacks; you can actually hear one of the onlookers weeping after the stacks fell. The second video gives a mini-documentary of the copper company and the Dell E. Webb designed town that was built exclusively for it. You can also read more about the financial decisions that ultimately sealed the copper company’s fate here: Town’s last copper relics to pass into history.

The Closet Entrepreneur

» This entry was filed under General


  1. Laura Glass Cothern

    Even though I’ve moved a number of years ago, I knew that I was close to home when I seen the stacks. I even remember when the second stack being constructed. It is truly an end of an era.

  2. Michael Mejia

    Thanks for the tribute. I grew up there. And you know what? It was sad. It’s like our identity was taken away. And now there truly is…nothing

  3. TOMAS

    Laura, I too remember being able to see the stacks on the way back home from Tucson about 2 or 3 miles after passing the last Oracle entrance.

    Michael, it was very sad visiting the town after the mine was closed. So many homes fell into disrepair when it wasn’t uncommon to see beautiful green trees and grass everywhere you looked. I always hoped that there might be an economic revival that could sustain the town, but it was quite a sad thing to see the town change so drastically.

  4. Leslie Page Nelson

    I too remember the smoke stacks. I have rarely been back to San Manuel, only 3 times I think, but it was very sad watching the video of the demolition. I too had a few tears and a lump in my throat while watching the video.

    My sisters and I are planning a trip back with our Mother. It will be sad not seeing the stacks, but our memories of our San Manuel will always be with us.

  5. Will Nedoroscik

    Weird, that would be the word I would use to discribe seeing the old town without it’s trade mark smoke stacks. My family lived both their and in Mammonth for a few years while my father worked as a welder for Magma Copper Co. I know there had been talk of San Manuel turning into a retirement community. While I haven’t returned in many years, I can only hope that the town survives and doesn’t slip away into history along with the copper mines.

  6. Russell

    I still can’t believe that the mine is gone. I graduated from San Manuel High School and worked at the mine for one summer. My father worked there for almost 40 years. I really wish Magma didn’t sell the mine to BHP.. If they didn’t I’m sure the mine would still be open and Canadian levitra all my friends and school mates would still be there.

  7. Nancy Cardell Hough

    Altho for some reason I couldn’t view your videos (even from the website) I enjoyed reading about the memories of San Manuel and Magma (it will never be “BHP” to me! We moved to San Manuel in 1956, then to Mammoth and then to Oracle…and I left there about 1964…after I graduated from SMHS, married, and have visited the towns often. My parents stayed there at Oracle until their death’s in 2001 and 2002……there are so very many memories of those growing up years! That is the oe thing that cannot be taken from us….the memories!!!!

  8. TOMAS

    Hi Nancy, the video issues may be on the hosting site’s end – they’re showing up as I type this so you might want to try viewing them again. Also, the videos require that you have the latest version of flash installed on your browser. If you really want to see them, let me know and I can send them to you to view locally.

  9. Joellen

    I was blessed to be able to make it to the demolition of the stacks. It was a day full of emotion and my sister and I shed many a tear as the full impact of it hit our hearts. We were both born there and Canadian viagra mom and dad are still living in town. I put my experience down on paper, and wanted to just share the opening paragraph, and one from the body of the story…

    “I debated with myself about writing this story. After all, how do I put into words being present for the end of an era, for the end of what built my hometown, as well as provided for our family? How do I explain this whole thing to people who would say, “What’s the big deal?” How do I even attempt to try and share the emotions, the tears, and the trauma of watching the San Manuel smelter stacks come down? But try I must, if only for the people who know what the big deal is, and weren’t able to make it to the demolition on January 17, 2007. Sort of our own little day of infamy in San Manuel, Arizona. It’s for those of you out there that spent your days working the mine, were the spouse and children of these people, or maybe just came to know and love my hometown because you knew me or my family. It is for you, and maybe for me too, that I’ll give it a try.”

    “Then suddenly we heard it’ nine, eight, seven, six, five” cameras in place. Will they drop one at a time, what will it be like, will I hear the bang or see smoke first, how will I really feel, what’s the big deal? Then there was an explosion, I heard three blasts, I felt them slam into my chest, I started clicking off pictures. I had hoped they would take down one at a time so I could shoot one and just watch the other. But I saw it all through my viewfinder instead, they were dropping together. It was all in slow motion, I hear that happens sometimes, but hadn’t really experienced it. We had laughed on the drive in that maybe they will topple them together, but they will bump into each other and get stuck half standing – nanny nanny boo boo on you sort of thing. The stacks began to fall into each other, but they didn’t get stuck, one broke in half. I could still feel it in my chest, the butterflies were really flopping now, I kept taking pictures, I could hear Ann’s reaction, she was beginning to sob, but still running the video camera. The crowd around us was a mixture of screams and laughter. Fifteen seconds it took to topple our lives, not long at all in the grand scheme of things. Then the stacks hit the ground, the earth shook on impact, the rumble rattled my bones and Viagra cheap broke my heart. I lowered my camera and stared. Just like that, the smoke stacks were gone. Some kid behind me hollered “Do that again!”. I wanted to turn around and tell him to shut up. But he was just a kid, without a history like mine, too young to care what it really meant to many in the crowd, and many in the world unable to make it to the event.”

  10. Joe P.

    Here it is…ohhh…about 6 months after that happened and I still get depressed thinking about the entire day.

    THey say you can’t go home again. I guess they are right.

  11. david

    what I remeber is the stikes.and the ocaionaly knoledge of learning some one died. and when I went to high school the sulfer was so bad I couild hardly breath. Yet in all that it was what kept that area alive. and even tho I realy didnt like it there i have to say I miss it. I reamber seeing the stacks go in winkilman and that was a site. but back then it was so they copuld build some bigger ones. to see the mines go is no dudt a end to a erra. but what teh large corporations cant take is memorys.

  12. William Cathey

    There are times such as now in which aspiring to invision the future rather than the past becomes obvious. I suppose we all do it, for what was our past, to some extent, makes us who we are today. I often look back to the days of grade school in Oracle, then on to High School in San Manuel all those many years ago. Although my families economic status relied only in part to Magma, the majority of close friends and their parents relied solely on the future of the mine.
    My father, who regrets to this day that he moved us away from Oracle, (for he knew that we loved it there), occasionally has to be reminded that my fate would also likely have hung in the balance of mine ownership, copper prices etc. My only regrets are missing the many great friends and memories that we shared in the quaint tri-communities.
    Move forward, I suppose we must. Thank you Closet Entrepreneur (whoever you are) for the videos and information, without which I may never have known, and my best wishes for those whose lives will forever be altered by the shutdown and the subsequent dominoe effect that I can only imagine will transpire in the region.

  13. vic corona

    I lived in the mammoth san manuel area for about 13 years,I was born in san manuel,I will sure miss seeing the stacks when I return to that area some day.I have lived in sacramento ca for the last 24 years,thanks for the film!

  14. I worked at San Manuel as a laborer during 1957-58. Great job for a college student: hard, dangereous, exciting. Jack Geary

  15. Wanda Wasson

    San Manuel will always be home to me also. My mom and dad (Chuck and Barbara Wasson) moved there in 1956 and I was born in 1957. Growing up in the sixties was filled with great memories, nothing but fun times…I went to First Avenue grade school, 1st grade thru 8th grade. My family moved away in 1970 to New Mexico for a year, then to Tucson, where I have been since 1971.I do get up to San Manuel every now and then, but, have not been there since the stacks came down. They were definitely a landmark that knew I was getting close to home too.
    Thank you Magma Copper, for the opprotunity to live in a small town, and helping my dad raise his family there :)
    For those of you that recognize my name, please feel free to e-mail me as I would love to hear from you.



  17. Arlene

    Wow, I am just reading this today. I live in SC and it was on the news here on January 18th morning. In fact, I called Mom (still living in San Manuel) when I saw it on the news.

  18. mary lee campbell legrand gregory


  19. Helen

    I was born in Tucson, but I’ve spent my entire life here in San Manuel. I mean, I didn’t see the mine when it was wonderful, not from an adult perspective (I’m not yet 20), but I remember the stacks. It’s hard to come down the curves from Oracle and not see them there…it almost feels like you’re not really going home. My dad worked at the mine as a journeyman mechanic on heavy equipment, my grandfather, grandmother, uncles, cousins and friends’ parents depended on the mine for everything. When it shut down, it felt like the town just stopped and that was it. Even now, nothing is the same. The houses are empty, the streets are bad, and the people are cold. To put it kindly, it sucks.

  20. Angelica

    I remember sitting in the living room of my home in San Manuel and hearing a loud horn that meant is was the end of the work day and I had exactly 5 minutes to clean up what ever mess I was making before my dad came home with the Mel’s Meal ticket that he had promised to give me if I was a good girl that day. I remember the Annual Magma Fouth of July picnics in the park, cruising up town every friday after the football games, and walking to Mel’s with my cousins for their famous jumbo cheese burgers and french cokes. It’s been about 8 years since the last time I stepped foot in my house in San Manuel and I can still remember exactly what it was like to grow up in my little home town, from riding my bike to the pool every every summer, to the day I tried digging for China in the back yard and ended up hitting the water pipes instead. The more I think about it the more I realize just how much fun it really was growing up there. From the front yard of my house, we actually had one of the best views of the smelter, I remember the realter calling it a “desirable scenic view” when we bought the property, I believe the first word that came into my head when I looked outside was “eye sore”. And now, I don’t think the view will be quite as nice without it. One day i’ll go back home and see all the changes my little town has had to go through, good or bad, but till then thanks for helping me realize how much fun it really was to grow up in that little town in the middle of no where.

  21. sara kety

    I have enjoyed reading through everyone’s entries so much and we all must thank you, closet entrepreneur!
    i googled “san manuel” since i am on my way to visit after having left 34 years ago (g-d! i can’t believe i’m old enough to write that!!)…my parents and i moved there in 1971 because my father got a job as head of a department at the hospital (if anyone remembers Dr. Kety that would be amazing to hear from you since he is gone now many years). my older siblings stayed in phoenix with my grandmother, but i, the youngest, had to move. san manuel was the most magical place to me – a wide-eyed 8 year old girl! we lived at the edge of town, which was then across the street from the desert, and had fantastic neighbors – the Johnstones. anybody remember jimmy or christie johnstone?? we had tarantulas in the house, bats in the garage, coyotes in the yard and rattlesnakes everywhere!! now that i am in new york city every day those childhood memories are even that much more precious and cherishable to me. subways, window-washers, pretzel and nut carts on the street, expensive shops and skyscrapers certainly don’t compare!! home is where the heart is!!
    i am so sorry to hear of the demolition and my heart goes out to everyone who was touched by the changes. it certainly dampens the excitement about going back to hear that people have suffered…but like someone said in a previous entry, no one can take away memories.

  22. sergio montes

    I grew up in San Manuel and the thing I remember most about the smoke stacks was recess at both Ave B and 1st Ave elementary’s. I thought I was going to choke to death and someday I would die a horrible death from all the toxins I inhaled. I wonder if there is a long term cancer study in place for San Manuel residents. Breath easy all you surviving San Manuelites.

  23. Melanie

    Seeing that video broke my heart. My grandmother lives there. My family drove from Mesa to San Manuel all the time. My mother would always say ‘look!there’s the smokestacks! And we’d all get excited. We’re almost there! I’ve been in Oklahoma for years now, and I’m going back home, and back to San Manuel for the holidays. And there’s no smokestacks to see, nothing. I don’t like it.

  24. I am not from San Miguel but while reading your story, I felt a tug in my heart and remembered how we felt when Clark Air Base Philippines closed. It’s the main source of livelihood in our city and my parents and almost everybody I know worked there. When it finally closed its doors, the city was like a ghost town, very different from how it used to be.

  25. Rodney Johnson

    I think I even cryed a little hearing that the most perfect little town had grown cold and deserted. I moved from Clearwater Florida to San Manuel with my Mother in 1980 when I was 10 year old and left about 1984. My Mother worked as a secretary for some big wig at Magma who lived in one of those fancy houses on the top of the hills. My childhood memories are nothing short of fond for growing up in such a perfect little town, Riding bicycles until the street lights came on, playing little league for “Cinema” and youth football for the junior Minors-bright orange-yuck! My first kiss, by first hid out in the desert, swimming at the pool on a hot summer day…the memories are endless. I attended 1st Ave and Ave B. I lived on Webb Dr and Ave H. I cant remeber many names but I do remeber the Chuck and Junie Johnson Family the kids names were Buddah, Oatie, and Tucker. Oh and Sean and Tonya Harre. Great people and great memories..Plase holla back if any of this makes sense!

  26. rey pedregon

    I heard the stacks had come down but seeing that on video really choked me up i grew up there 1st grade thru freshman in high school we left in 1978 or 79 . we lived on 5th ave. then on ave j those were truly times i cherish .i took my kids back to see my home town they couldnt believe how small it was we live in san diego now but if i could i would raise my kids in a town just like that. if dino weatherby or donald montes or any of the other dorks i hung out with sees this drop a note and hello.

  27. Sojourner

    (Note: Names have been changed for privacy)
    I first ventured into the town of San Manuel in November of 1978. My brother in law and I had traveled from California, bound for Tucson to find winter work in a very specialized construction trade. On a lark, we decided to steer Ethan’s Ford truck toward San Manuel for a quick visit with relatives who lived there. It was a detour that would alter destinies.

    Arriving in San Manuel later in the evening than expected, we called from a pay phone to announce our arrival, and to say we would just find a motel for the evening. After a short conversation, my brother in law hung-up the phone and filled me in on the details of his conversation. “They said we were being ridiculous, to just stay put and they’ll come get us”. Within a few minutes, a car drove into the dark parking lot.

    “Have you eaten?” She asked. The light was dim and I couldn’t see her well, but at the sound of her voice, something stirred deep within my soul. Whether born of primordial encoding, premonition, or some lingering familiarity from a spiritual preexistence, the feeling came with such force that I shivered from within. “No, we’ll just grab a hamburger some place,” Ethan answered his cousin.

    Without a sound, she smiled knowingly and shook her head no, just as my eyesight adjusted to the dim light. Her smile was perfect, her face angelic, framed and illuminated by soft blonde hair-I was doomed. Ethan and I abandoned our plans for Tucson opting to linger instead in the tiny town of San Manuel. We found work with Magma Copper Company. Ethan went underground; I worked in the smelter, first in the labor pool, then eventually in the coal yard, where I toiled for the balance of the most poignant era of my life.

    At first I denied myself any acknowledgment that I had been smitten by the girl who remains to this day, the only true love of my life. It is with deep sorrow that I report, it is not memories of a happy ending that were invoked by watching the tumbling towers of San Manuel. At first, I avoided contact with Sherri. But fate has its own course to impose on the weak will of mankind, and over the passing weeks, I fell deeply in love with Sherri, and she with me.

    I had never before, nor have I since, known such happiness as I felt while in Sherri’s embrace. She completed me, made of me the man I could never hope to be without her in my life. She was my night and my day, and she was my morning sun. But destiny rides a dark horse, and our life of love together was not to be, but was rent asunder in a flurry of extreme events.

    Thirty years later, I live alone, my children are grown, and I am blessed with a host of beautiful grandchildren. I’ll never know if capitulating to the extortion of outside forces was the right thing to do, but on the day I decided to abandon my plans and betray my commitment to Sherri, a light went out in my life and my morning sun has not since risen.

    I struggled with the ideas of right and wrong, desire and duty, and in the end, gave greater weight to my immediate duties over my own desire, and Sherri’s feelings. I collected my final pay from Magma Copper Company and left San Manuel forever. The greatest regret of my life is the pain and disappointment I caused Sherri to endure.

    She is the finest woman I have ever known. I pray each night that she has found happiness and fulfillment beyond what I might have been able to give her. Of this much I am sure; I wish in my lifetime, that I had been a better man, the man I might have been with Sherri in my life.

    I too hope that San Manuel survives in some new incarnation as a retirement or tourist destination perhaps. But regardless of her future, the mere mention of the name of San Manuel, invokes memories of the girl I once told, “I think you make me love you too much”. And I suppose you still do.

  28. William Cathey

    Sojourner I would be humbled under the tutelage of your writing. Bravo.

  29. Valkyrie

    My parents moved to San Manuel in 1954 from Coolidge. I was 6 months old. We lived at 624 4th avenue and I can remember going to 1st avenue elementary school in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. In fourth grade I can still remember the speech ‘if you see the flash, stop, drop and cover your head’ as we all had to practice ducking under our desk in case of a nuclear attack (yeah right like that would help!). The year was 1962. That same year I can remember Bobby Vinton coming out with Roses are Red and all the girls singing it :) I remember three friends that I miss: Kim Simmons, Mike Ballard and Steve Hernandez. They were great!
    We moved to Tucson in 1963 for a couple of years and returned to San Manuel in 1965 where we lived at 925 5th avenue. I went to 7th, 8th and 9th grades there. Finally we moved in 1968 to New Orleans because of a strike and my dad had enough so he got a job on the oil rigs in the gulf of Mexico.
    I haven’t been back since (40 years).
    I now live in Lawrence Kansas home to the University of Kansas and the Kansas Jayhawks. I am planning a motorcycle ride down to Safford to visit my brother and I think I may just swing by and see the old town. I’m sure all the people that I knew are long gone, but it would be worth the trip just to bring back memories of growing up there.

  30. Valkyrie

    And yes the stacks will be missed :-(

  31. Chris

    Have You Ever Thought About Putting this on Youtube

  32. TOMAS

    Hi Chris, thanks for the feedback. I know that the smokestack demolition is on YouTube for sure, but I don’t think the video from the Arizona Daily Star is.

  33. Chris

    HeyTomas the daily star video is the one i was wondering about if it was on youtube or not that would be cool if it was get it alot more exposure. i almost cried when i saw that video and i am not even from San Manuel i am from Superior.

  34. joyce

    we moved to san manuel in 1956 I went to school 1-12grade .I remember how simple our life was ,all our medical care ,the really cheap rent lol the strikes , I married there,had my first child there.
    my mom still lives on fifth . I have been living in Tx for the last 21 years but still think of san manuel as home and return often. It is so sad how the closing of mine changed the life of so many loyal employees,we may be scattered all over the country now but we will always have our history .

  35. Andrea Montes

    My Grandparents raised my father and the rest of their family here. I also just read my father’s very synical (but not out of character for those who know him (Sergio Montes) comments about the smoke stacks. I remember that long drive up Reddington road every summer. My brother and I spent the best summer’s visiting our parent’s old stomping grounds. Even in the 80’s and 90’s I remember us just being able to run free and play with no worries because this was such a wonderful, tight knit community. My brother and I recently visited San Manuel after about 10 years, It was sooooooooo weird not seeing the stacks as we rounded the oracle corner. Oh by the way Ray, My uncle Donald Montes still lives in San Manuel and is doing well. I tried to find a way to email you but couldn’t find a link, maybe you’ll see this.

  36. Gina Ambrister-Vondrell

    I was Lucky enough to attend San Manuel High School my Senior year-1973-In that one year I made friendships that have continued on till this very day–Because of an incident with my StepDad- I left home in January of 1973 and lived with Donna Chambers family over by the Avenue A school–they were wonderful to me and I apprediate their kindness to this day–but because I felt that I was coming between Donna and her parents- ( since I was a couple of years older than her they would let me do things that they were not ready for her to do)–anyway I had one more month of school until Graduation-so I moved in with another friend–Rose Marie Delzer’s parents welcomed me into their home to finish out the year–and Rose and I are still in contact till this day–that leads me to another family who totally adopted me as their Own-even though I never lived in their home-(unless daily visits after schooll counts) that would be Ernest and Mary Ivy-and of course their “Boys”-I was lucky enough to make the Very First squad of “Mat Maids” for wrestling at SMHS-and since all of thir “Boys” were wrestlers I met the whole family at the meets– Now,since I didn’t have my parents around and I needed rides to the meets Mom Ivy decided I could ride with them she was very careful because girls had gotten her in trouble hitching rides to the meets without getting permission from their parents–but she knew that the Chambers gave me permission to Always ride with them. And so that began a Love and feeling of Gratitude that will never end-
    -Ernie Jr., Henry and I were Graduating together and on the Graduation cake at the party it said “Congratulation to Our Kids”–Ernie –Henry– and Gina”
    To a 17 year old girl away from Both of her parents -that meant the world to me and Still does–But thats how the people in San Manuel were–Loving and Giving-Even though some may think that they didn’t have much back then it was the Love and Friendships in the mining community that helped make San Manuel such a special place to live.
    As time goes by some of our loved ones got into things that lead to rough times in their life and then to death. As you- who live there now may know- we lost Henry Ivy in July of 03 and then our “Mom” in 04. I am still in contact with Dad Ivy and Charley-Richard and Ernie–I truly can’t express how safe they all made a young girl feel at a new school –with no blood family around. Every day-each one of the Boys would make sure that I had money for lunch (which we usually ate at the Liquor Store-Uptown) and a ride wherever it may be that I needed to go-They truly made me feel like a “Little Sister”-Mom Ivy always said I was the Daughter she always wanted but never had -for Mom’s funeral –as I drove in from Tucson in my rental car–I knew that I was getting close when I could see the Smoke Stacks-I couldn’t help but feel some excitement even though I was there for such a horrible occasion-something was missing? Ah, yes, it was the Smelter Smoke–It was very sad for me to see that my “Special Place” was becoming almost like a Ghost town–so many homes were either empty or for sale-I hope that it does become a Retirement community -what a waste of beautiful desert land– it was Wonderful feeling so safe in San Manuel in “73”. Nothing is better than the smell of the desert after a rain-talk about memories!!
    I know that I will return there some day–but it won’t be the same without the Smoke Stacks–but I so appreciate the fact that I happened upon this site so that I could watch the video of the “End of an Era”. But Never Forgotten!!!
    I don’t know if anyone from the class of “73 would remember me– but if you would like to email me I would be glad to hear from you—35 years May 31st–
    -The day after Graduation at 7;00 A.M.- I went with my Real- Dad and my Stepmother back to Ohio where I was origially from-and have lived there ever since–I have been married for 34 years inOctober and have 5 children and 1 grandaughter-
    San Manuel will always hold a very special place in my heart as will all the people who made it my “Safe Haven”.
    Thanks for listenting to me ramble– but I just had to share my personal thoughts on this Video-and my experience as a “Miner”
    -Sincerely Gina Ambrister/Vondrell

  37. Rose Marie Delzer Milam

    I have managed to stay in the Tri-area for over 40 years now and go to San Manuel to visit my mother. Talk about something missing. We were on my mom’s roof at lower 6th Ave. to watch the stacks come down. Trust me, there were tears flowing down my checks. I too remember when the 2nd stack went up, I remember when “Green Peace” protested. I rememebr the star on the stack at Christmas time. It will always be home to so many of us, but like everything in this world, we must go on. Wish the folks who live there now the best of everything and hope they will have memories like we do.
    Rose Marie Milam (Delzer/Carender)

  38. Charley Ivy

    The Johnstones you are looking for are both passed away, Jimmy many years ago in Vegas & Christie just recently in Calif. Their parents and sister Kathy live in Marana, AZ.

    I too was raised in good ole SM. I was born in Superior but my folks moved to SanManuel when I was 6mo. old. That was 1956, a pretty good year I think. San Manuel in the 60’s & 70’s was a fantastic place to be! It was back when neighbors could and would take care of business if you stepped too far out of line. It was acceptable. People took care of each other back then. Looking back, I, for one miss the the days when adults were in charge and took the responsibility.
    Enough of that ,
    back to San Manuel – for all of us “kids”, students, classmates, friends & lovers during the time when San Manuel was at it’s peak or hayday, let me say it was a BLAST to be a part of that history. I’m proud to say I’m from San Manuel and it will always be HOME.
    I didn’t make it to the stacks final moments mostly because of emotions I knew everyone would see, so I quitetly tapped at my wrist watch at the appointed time and pondered the the flood of memories of years past.
    I would like to say to all of you San Manuel die hards HERES TO YOU and my heart is with you. By the way when you guys see Grandad Ivy around town remember he’s been there since 1956, a life time in its self. God Bless
    One last thing to say – I miss you Mom! – I miss you Hank!

  39. Laura Nameth

    I moved to San Manuel in 1971. My brother , Joe, and I graduated from San Manuel High School in 1973. I’ve been in Phoenix for the last 20 years and the rest of my family has moved about the country to different locations, but I still think of San Manuel as where I’m ‘from’. My dad , Steve, retired 16 years ago and moved back to San Manuel, where he bought a house on Ave . I
    When I go down to visit him I always feel something deep inside when I see those stacks. I haven’t been there since they came down and I don’t know how it will feel when I won’t see them after coming up from the second “dip” on the hill down from Oracle. I do know that when I saw the picture of it in the Arizona Republic’s business section it literally brought tears to my eyes. I always thought the mine would start up production again, until I saw that picture.
    Rose (Carender) do you remember me? I still have this picture of you and me and a bunch of us camping on the beach in Rocky Point, Mexico about 1980, I think it was. Remember?
    That is so cool that you have been able to stay in the area all these years. I’m about ready to move back there myself, altho , realistically , it probably won’t be for a few more years.
    Gina Ambrister…. your name is so familiar, but I just can’t seem to put a face to it.
    If anyone out there reading this remembers me, please feel free to email me. And , Rose, I would love to hear from you. My email address is :
    I still have a T shirt that says “Where the hell is San Manuel?”
    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this website. Thank you , ‘Closet Guy’ whoever you are ! Sincerely, Laura Nameth

  40. JJamie Dicus

    What a wonderful treat to receive this great site! Joellen Thomas
    forwarded this to us. To LARRY BARSTOW , so very glad to remember all the good times John and I had with the Barstow family as neighbors. Such a wonderful family, Mrs. Barstow helped me so much as I learned how to be a Mom, and how to open the door when Debbie locked me out! John sold THE DICUS
    just 8 months before the shut-down. People still ask him to “Please buy it back”. It’s so neat to hear people still say,”Met me at the “Dicus”. John is continuing his love of kids and school and helps with different projects. I really think he should be a “Town Greeter.” Wal-Mart has nothing on San Manuel!!!
    We have lived in the same house for 52 years and are very sure that we will always be at home in SAN MANUEL. The day THE STASTACKS came down will always be remembered. Everything good or bad that has happened to our family flashed before me, and I felt that truly our lives had changed forever, no longer could I hope that events might change. This is for REAL.
    How fortunate we are to have such wonderful memories, such caring friends, and experiences that only come from living in San Manuel. The town has had its ups and downs, but like John always says, “We just push a little harder” and keep going. San Manuel has always been and continues to be “A good Place toLive”his motto for the many years he had “The Dicus.”
    We enjoy hearing from anyone who’d like to email us.
    Thank all of you for posting. Hope to hear from all of you!
    Smiles, hugs and yes, a few tears too.
    John and Jamie Dicus
    918 N. Webb
    San Manuel, AZ 85631

  41. i have been in san manuel since 1955-kay wood-and nothing has hurt me as bad as the stacks coming down-did not watch-just sat in my house crying.i met my husband-35 yrs-when they put up second stack.this is still my town-but it is so different now.i will never forget all of the good times!

  42. Melanie

    I went back to see my dear grandmother Mac Voy Walker, (my grandfather Owen Walker has passed away) on 6th Ave this past holiday season. The heartbreak of not seeing the smokestacks – I have no words for it. This site is so wonderful. I didn’t know so many people knew and loved San Manuel like I do. And to see what the desert behind her house looks like now. I cried. I guess that lovely, beautiful desert I grew up playing in is becoming a dump/dirt bike track now. It hurts so much to go back. The memories will always be there though. At least all of us here have that…

  43. Joellen

    This site seems to be getting lots of action, so thought I’d use it to drum up folks from the Class of 1978. (You can also see my thoughts written above, back in July 2007).

    In anticipation of the 30 year reunion in 2008 for the SMHS class of 1978, a separate email account has been set up to collect information in order to build a database of names, addresses, emails etc. Please send an email to Joellen (Thomas) Brown at in order to get on the database to receive information as plans proceed. For now, just send your name (maiden name too if married), email address and your mailing address. Please forward this to anyone in the class you may have on your address list. Also, if you know of anyone in the class who is no longer with us, please pass along their name and date (year) of death, if you know it. I will begin to build a database in anticipation of the big event. If you want to help with the plans, please let me know that also and I will share that information with who ever becomes our fearless leader.

    Thanks for your response, and hope to see you there!

  44. Penny Ramsay (Tippetts)

    I grew up in san manual and my dad was an engineer or the railroad for many years. I did quite alot in that little town! Still live in Oracle. I don’t know if I will ever call anywhere else home. And to Charley Ivy Thanks for being there for me when I was growing up. Tell pops I said Hi. I don’t get to san manual much even though I live only a few minutes away. And I agree that it is very hard seeing the skyline without the sillouette of the stacks. I spent 31 years looking at that skyline! Thanks for putting up this site!
    Penny Ramsay (Tippetts)

  45. It is bittersweet reading all of these messages. I remember the day we moved to San Manuel. My dad pointed at the smelter tower and assured me that “it never stops”. There was only one then you know.

    I recall living up at the top of 4th Ave. San Manuel is on the side of a mountain. In the rainy season the road became a wash with two feet of water rushing down into town. That’s why many of the roads were designed in concave fashion.

    Much of my early life was spent out in the desert. I can still remember the smell of broken cholla. It is a sweet thing unlike anything else in the world. I well remember the simple trick of getting jumping cholla off of your leg. You put a stick under it and flick the whole thing at once. If you try to pull it up slow it hurts like the devil.

    I lived in San Manuel only four years. We moved down into Tucson where my dad commuted back to the mines. Years later his last job before retirement was working as a quality assurance engineer for Bechtel, digging the subway systems around Washington, DC.

    Thank you all for your messages. It reminds me of where I come from.

    Bud Houston

  46. Avnel Hogan

    It’s hard to believe were coming up on 9 yrs that the mine has been shut down.I too like many, like many others have moved away. Since I am currently only two hours away I do get to visit often. It is just not the same going down the Oracle hill and not seeing the stacks anymore. Change is always hard and it can seem as if San Manuel has lost its lustre but I think it is only a matter of time before people once again appreciate the beauty of that little valley. The mine may have been the reason for starting the town, but it is still a pretty little place. Tombstone is the town too tough to die, could San Manuel be the town too treasured to die. It seems we all have great memories about growing up there and for many of us no matter how far we may roam, San Manuel will always be home.

  47. Debbie Douglas (Sheridan)

    I moved away from Oracle a long time ago (summer of 1973…I believe), but have always considered it home. I remembered traveling on the school bus to SMHS and seeing the stacks as soon as we were getting close to town. A few years ago, I was passing through while on vacation and the memories…those wonderful memories…came flooding back. My children, who were teenagers then, could not figure out why I had gotten so teary-eyed. I tried to explain to them about my memories of SMHS…without the the fencing (that was a shock), about the hamburger joint which had the best hamburgers, the great friends that I had, still have and those whom I have lost. The list goes on. At least I was able to explain to them the smoke stacks while there were still standing.

    I remember a class I had as a sophomore where the teacher asked what we planned to do after we graduated. A large marjority of the guys said that they had planned to work in the mine. All I could think of at the time was that there was so much more out there…I couldn’t understand why anyone would stick around to work the mines. Oh, if only I had the foresight to see what would happen years later. Little did I know what would happen when the mines shut down and the changes it brought to the town and surrounding area. What I would give to go back and try to prevent this from happening…alas, I cannot.

    To those of you “die-hards”…thanks for hanging in there and keeping the history…and the town…alive!

  48. Laura Nameth

    I see that Joellen is rounding up recruits for the ’78 class reunion.
    Is anyone trying to organize a reunion for the class of ’73?
    35 years for us. Anyone out there know if there is a reunion planned?
    Laura Nameth

  49. Laura Nameth

    I just told my sister in law , Barbara Matier Nameth, about this site and then I came back to it myself and read all of the posts all over again and just cried thru the whole thing ,again. Wish I could just click my heels together 3 times and say”there’s no place like home” But with my luck I’d end up in Kansas instead of San Manuel


  50. Barbara Matier-Nameth

    I just found out about this site, and had to check it out. I left SM in 1980, and have lived in Elko, NV every since. Another small mining town, just alot colder. There are MANY people living here in Elko that came from SM. I have occasion to visit SM once in a while, as my father-in-law still lives there, but I haven’t been back since the stacks came down. Speaking of tears, the video was enough to make them start flowing. I too thoroughly enjoyed growing up in SM, it was a blast! Now my children have grown up in another mining town, but they know very well some great stories about SM. I wouldn’t trade having grown up there for anything. Thanks to those that keep it alive so the rest of us have a hometown to return to occasionally. I graduated in 1979, and have never been notified of any of my class’s reunions. 2009 will be our 30 year, if anyone knows anything about the reunion, please clue me in.
    Barbara Matier-Nameth

  51. Valkyrie



    Don’t feel bad, I am in Kansas!!! But after nearly thrity years of living here, it still isn’t San Manuel :(

  52. Laura Nameth


    Thanks for not being offended by my comment about ending up in Kansas. I’m glad you took it the way it was intended, just a bit of humor.I’ve never been to Kansas and have nothing against it; but you’re right–it isn’t San Manuel!

    Laura Nameth

  53. Valkyrie

    I plan on riding my bike down to San Manuel in the first part of June. If there is anyone still there that remembers me and would like to say hi, please drop me an email. By the way, ‘Valkyrie’ is the type of motorcycle I ride. My name is Wes Ellison and my email is

    Tomas, great job on this site !!!

  54. SP

    Good old San Manuel. I remember waiting for my dad to come home after the horn blew, walking through the desert with his lunchbox to S 5th St. We had a clear view of the crusher, mill and stacks from there, quite a site to behold. Called my dad 1/17/07 to tell him I would pick him up to go see the end of an era, he was sick with the flu and couldn’t make it, couldn’t stand to go by myself so I watched it on the news.

    AHH, but the memories are still there, making ourselves dizzy cruising the circle, trying to find someone to buy you a 12-pack so you could go to the party between the hills or up at the circles, playing at the river on Easter. Remember when there was two grocery stores (verns AND gordons).

    I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for all the good and bad times that happened in San Manuel. Getting in trouble at school and your mom knowing about it by the time you got home, OH in high school. Home is home and thats where it will always be.

    The hardest part for me was when BHP shut everything down. Getting phone calls from friends that I have known for years, looking for work and having to ask them what kind of money they were looking for and what they were willing to do and then having to turn them down because I couldn’t offer them what they were looking for.

    I still go there every once in awhile, have a double cheese burger at Mels and think about growing up. It is very ironic to look at copper prices now and think about how that place would be if BHP had just held out for a few more months.

    I am with Charlie I, Jamie D and the rest, Heres to all you San Manuelites! This ones for you!!!

  55. Delores Monreal

    I remember the stacks of the mine every morning on the way to San Manuel highschool the school bus would ride right by it and now seeing the demolition video it makes me upset that they would take the heart out of San Manuel.

  56. Amber Morris

    I grew up in San Manuel and I was so hart broken when the took down the stacks. I no longer live in that little sleepy town like so many others my family moved when my dad, who had worked at the mines sense he finished high school, lost his job. We tryed to stay but found no posibel way in wich we could do that. To this day i still miss that little town and will alwas remember my childhood there. There is nothing like the destert in the summer or going down to the pool with your friends.

  57. cindy hyde

    I was born in San Manuel in 1960, my parents moved there when my mom was pregnant with me! My dad worked on the reverbs for years and i went to 1st grade at Ave. A and then we moved to McNab and i went to Ave B school! Joellen, Barb, Beth, Nancy, Debby Trejo, Aline White, Shawna Listiak, Fonda, Danny M., Ronny R., Robles boys, Jimmy N., Theron,Fred Winkler, Kiven Forman, Freddy R., Tutti, Frank G., Carol T., and so many others, all great friends! I have missed you all so much! My dad took a job at the new smelter in Playas, NM in July of ’75. I didn’t want to move! I married and now live in Silver City, NM. My dad retired from Phelps Dodge in Playas and moved to Arkansas for several years until after the death of my oldest brother, Bimbo Hyde! So my folks are back in San Manuel and I visit from time to time! I cried when I watched the video of the stacks coming down! After the stacks at San Manuel were demolished the stacks at Playas and the ones in Hurley, NM came down as well. I was able to be there when the stacks came down in Hurley but I did not feel the heartbreak that I felt for the ones in San Manuel! I also think of San Manuel as my hometown even though I was only 15 when we moved! I was just in San Manuel last weekend and it was so sad to see so many houses empty and many with boarded up windows! I will always remember walking to the ball games and uptown! I remember when the drug store was where the station with Subway is now! Eating lunch there and then the drug store moved up the strip and Leo’s moved in! Now uptown is pretty sad looking! I can’t hardly believe that Gordon’s is still there! These things are difficult and hurt our hearts, but look how many of us have now found old friends we haven’t heard from in years! Joellen you are the best! I am really hoping that the date for the reunion works out where I can come and visit with all of you although I moved after my freshman year! My wish for all of you is to have a good and happy life!
    Cindy Hyde

  58. cindy hyde

    oh, didn’t mean to leave you out Sergio! And Tony Almindinger! I am sure there are many who escape my mind right now, but I have thought of you all through the years and miss all of you! Oh and I must add Herman Blackburn!
    Cindy Hyde

  59. I found this site on purpose — I found your town by accident — and had to learn more about San Manuel, the place that saved my composure. It all started with a random private sightseeing trip. I chose Redington Pass, entering it out of Tucson. Bad idea. After being lost on the Pass (nobody told me it went on “forever”), I got a flat tire. No phone. No passing cars.No fix-it ability. But what really shook me up was realizing that not only was the sun going down, but it seemed to being going down in the north. Sanity returned and I realized that the sun must be where it should be, so apparently I was NOT (I’d thought I was headed east)..and eventually (on three tires) made it to your town with the help of a passing cowboy. It’s incidents like that helpful man and your blessed town that keep me being an optimist.

    This finally brings me to one of the purposes of this note: The passing cowboy owns what he described as the last ranch in the area. I repeated the name he gave me but have forgotten it (of course). It was a long last name, made up of two anglo words, something like “Applehouse”, thought that’s not quite right. I’d like to thank him. I didn’t have much money so I couldn’t offer that. He refused my cigarettes (smart man). I think he said his HQ is in what’s left of Redington. PLEASE, CAN ANYONE GET HIS NAME TO ME? ADDRESS, TOO, IF POSSIBLE.

    Second purpose: All your notes about San Manuel made me cry, too. I also grew up in a smallish town (up north) where I could play in the empty lots, woods, fields, even a swamp. My grandboys live in New York City and I weep for them, too. Such fun we had. Such adventures. Yes, we heard “don’t talk to strangers” but that wasn’t much of a danger since we knew nearly everyone. My grandboys, 7 and 9, can’t go out without an adult and usually also with their big dog. Can you imagine a big dog in a 3-room apartment? SO, KEEP YOUR SMALLTOWN ROOTS. LET YOUR KIDS WANDER. LET THEM PLAY FREE. If you live in Oracle, or worse, Tucson, or worst of all, Phoenix. Take them out of town at every opportunity. You’ll be rewarded with happier, more self-confident, and much braver kids. You? You’ll have fun watching and remembering.

    Lastly, after I get a new spare tire, I’m going to drive up from my place in Green Valley to San Manuel to get a daytime view of your wonderful town and if I can find her, thank the super kind woman at the gas station/grocery for her time, support, directions and the use of their facilities (in no special order of importance).

    For all you people of San Manuel and vicinity, true blessings upon you. And heartfelt thanks!

  60. I wrote the way-too-long message above. I’ll be briefer this time.
    1.Now I know that Redington-as-a-town is no longer – it’s housing and headquarters for the large ranch that owns it and much more. Can I write or call them, just to say thanks?

    2. The flat tire I got while traversing the pass has morphed into a need for five new tires, a new ABS system and, not surprisingly, a car wash. Over $600. But the scenery I saw, the marvelous people I met, the frazzled nerves I overcame — priceless.

    I still look forward to seeing San Manuel — in daylight. Thanks again.

  61. vic corona

    well i came back to san manuel, it sure was great! I lost a brother this year he was from san manuel, like the stacks i will never forget him and the way he loved his home town!

  62. William Cathey

    Vic, your name sure sounds familiar, and I had thought that on one of your earlier posts but didn’t ask. I couldn’t help but wonder if you may have been one of my sisters friends (Kellie Cathey).
    At any rate, sorry for your loss.


  63. Jennifer Aguirre

    This is a great site- I found it completely ny accident… I am a native of San Manuel, and like many of us, I have a strong connection to the mine and what it meant for our community. I was with my father- watching as the stacks came crashing down. I felt helpless as I watched- and cried… After the community lost so much with the closing of the mine, as well as the loss my family suffered when Beto was killed there, it felt as though everything was being taken away. It seemed as though all of the blood, sweat, and tears that was put into the building of this community was being erased before my very eyes. There is no longer that feeling of coming “home” with out the stacks there on the horizon to remind you of what you’re made of… Although, the stacks are gone, we will NEVER forget.

  64. Susan

    Wow! This has brought back so many memories! I was born in San Manuel & lived there until 5th grade, I moved away after my parents divorce but went back every summer to stay with my dad, my sister & her family still live in San Manuel & on the day the stacks were dropped I stayed home from work & cried. My 13 & 8 year olds didn’t understand, but they sat & cried with me. We went down a few months after the drop & my daughter ended up at a party that the town was giving as a new start to San Manuel but we all know San Manuel will always be thought of as a miners town….. I loved growing up there & have very many wonderful memories, I know everytime I go down to visit I really miss seeing the stacks! Thanks to everyone for their positive comments & the memories you made me remember!

  65. Robert Fritts

    I joined the military after I graduated SMHS in “78” and left AZ for over 20years. I could always remember Uptown, Softball games, Football games, and drinking beer at the “circles”. Most of all I have wonderful memories of all of the people in my brothers and I were lucky enough to get to know. Sugar Bear Ivy and Manny Ubeta who played catch with me in the football locker room when I was a 85lb freshman. Sergio, John Haro, Ronny Rodriguez, Stevie P. Everyone that Drag raced, Riding dirt bikes in OUR desert. All the wonderful ladies who made our great meals at SMHS before they went to fast food. All of the Coronas. DD & Authur and the Halls. My second Parents, the Urquijos on 6th Ave. So many that I cannot recall and include you all. My brothers and I were military brats and moved every couple of years, we never had a HOMETOWN until my dad moved us to San Manuel.
    Sitting in the Iraqi desert between Basarah and Nassiriya after the 1st Gulf war, talking with my team about food I end up in the mother of all fights because some Captain from Georgia can’t accept that Nothing else in the world is better than a Jumbo Cheeseburger from “Mel’s”, with a grenn chile burrito on the side, thrashed him good.
    My parents carried on at the Western Auto until the Mine closed. My neice and nephew graduated from SMHS recently and my brother Chuck still lives in San Manuel,but when my parents moved to Tucson it was like a ending for me.
    We folks from San Manuel our family. We take care of each other, we fight alot, we sometimes really hate each other. But let a outsider mess with us and family closes ranks.
    Yes, Sergio that sulfur taste from the smelter was awful, running hills with Angel Trejo and Peter Acosta until Coach Roybal got tired made us men. The Stacks came down and a little bit of my life and family died.Peace, Prosperity, Love and Happiness to you all.

  66. Valkyrie

    Well I rode into San Manuel for the first time in 40 years one week ago today (May 31 2008). I stopped at the Salt and Pepper gas station (used to be a 76 station) for gas and just stood there looking where the stacks had been. It just didn’t seem right. It was like another place. I headed on up McNab to Webb and over to 4th where I grew up. The house looked pretty much the same save for a bay window in the front. I sat there on the bike just thinking about how it was nearly a half century ago. Such good times back then. Then I rode over to 5th and by the place I lived in the mid 60’s. It didn’t even look anything like it used to. It looked like a condo! Sad. Then over to first ave. elementary school. I pulled into the parking lot and shut the bike off and just sat there. The rooms I had gone to 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th grades was still there. I had to laugh as now they are called the Bulldogs!!!! We didn’t have a name back in the early 60’s. The friends that I knew who lived around the school, their houses looked the pretty much the same. I started the bike and went down past the baseball diamonds. I had completely forgotten they were there. Then down A ave and the strip. It was so sad to see all of the boarded up store windows. The Triple XXX lounge was replaced by Beas Bar which was closed. And suddenly there was Gordons! I can’t believe that they are still there.
    Then I stopped at a place that used to be the drug store. It is now a mini mart called Arizona Fuel. I remember getting green rivers at the drug store and my first little girl friend (Dixie Cage) and I getting into trouble there for stealing a bag of candy and sitting on the floor eating it. We were like 4 years old :-) I got to talking to a really pretty girl behind the counter and she and I talked about how the place had changed. She didn’t remember the old 50’s and 60’s San Manuel but with that pretty smile, she would have fit right in.
    I left there and rode back to 77 highway and just sat at the stop sign for a bit. I realized that my San Manuel went with me in 1968. San Manuel was no longer the home town that I remember. I was a stranger and it wasn’t home anymore. I headed out to the junction, not looking back as now I can close that chapter and say good bye

  67. sergio montes

    Bobby Fritts, good to see you are alive and well.

  68. Barb Collins Kranking

    This is a great web-site. I loved reading about all the people who loved SM and the smokestakes. We were all sitting on top of my dad’s garage (Bob & JoAnne Collins) when the stakes came down. It was very overwhelming!! My son Daniel was there and still comments about how very weird it is to come down the hill from Oracle and not see the stacks. I have very fond memories of SM and all my friends that I still keep in contact with.

    I hope all of my classmates try to come to the reunion this summer. It’ll be fun to catch up with each other.

    Wanted to say hi to Cindy Hyde, we had lots of fun in grade school, thanks for remembering all of us!!! :)

    Barb Collins Kranking

  69. Cindy Hyde

    Hey Barb,

    I could never forget all of the friends I grew up with in San Manuel! I have been gone from there for so many years now but when asked where I am from, I still say that originally I am from San Manuel, Arizona! Drop me a line! Beth has my e-mail address! Say “hey” to the gang for me!
    Cindy Hyde

  70. vic corona

    will i am 48 years old, i don’t remember cathey is she my age? i went to ave b elm for a short time then moved to mammoth untill 7th grqade then moved to tucson.i have a very large family 17 of us all in and around san manuel many of my brothers worked for magma copper co. i am sure that cathey knows one of us or me? thank for asking it’s great to respond to others from my home town’s take care vic!

  71. William Cathey

    Likely A family member I must be thginking of then Vic, although the age is close, she is…47 now I’m thinking. She must have graduated in 79 or 80? Actually her first name is Kellie, last name Cathey…common mistake. Anyhoo…my mistake.

  72. sergio montes

    Just an observation, I love this website. Everyday I get to my office and the first thing I do is read email, by far, this is the most entertaining. There seems to be a common thread amongst us, “we all love Mels burgers”, and therefore I want to pay tribute to the Zazueta girls, they were and may still be, the best pattie flippers in the business. Ernestina, where ever you are, if you happent to be in the Phoenix area, please look me up, I would love to have you over for a BBQ.

  73. Joellen (Thomas) Brown

    Sergio and all,
    Just this past Saturday, I had a most tasty cheeseburger deluxe at Mel’s flipped by Ernestina! I have always told my family that all is right and well in the world when I can walk in Mel’s and see a Zazueta. Very funny that you are tuned into that also. Love those burgers. Can I stop in for a BBQ at your house too??!!

  74. Arlene Bonney

    I miss those Mels burgers. Greasy and good! My friend Cynthia and I use to go to Mels during lunch at school. As I am sure it was the place for all HS students.

    My family is the Chavez family from Mammoth. But to me the tri-county is all the same. I love the small towns and the Arizona desert.

  75. sergio montes

    Hey Joellen Bo Bellen!!!

    I heard through the grapevine that you skipped town and got hitched. Good 4 you!!!! You seem to be the thread that bind us old farts together. Yes, you can BBQ at my home anytime. Lori and I were talking about you, your ears must have been tingling. Kids are grown, life is good.

  76. Rodney Johnson

    I moved to San Manuel from Clearwater FL in 1979 when I was in third grade my Mom got a job as a secretary for one of the big wigs at Magma, I remeber that he lived in one of those “Mansion” at the top of the hill on Webb.

    My mom and I would go to Mamoth and eat at the absolute BEST Mexican resturant. I can’t remember the name but it right on the main road as you get into Mamoth, they had a juke box that had the best music on it!

    But I have to say that Mel’s was unbelievable! I still compare every burger and burito to Mel’s. I remeber the dog days of summer, after scowering the destert on bicycles hunting horny toads we would raid the pool…then it was off to Mel’s for a plain cheese and bean burito.

    Now thats what memories are made of!!

  77. Joe G

    The restaurants in Mammoth were La Casita on the hill on the left and the Redwood Cafe on the north end of town. I worked there in 1980, fresh out of college and worked on the fire department as well. great times.

  78. Joellen (Thomas) Brown

    Hey Sergio,
    Glad you haven’t forgotten me! Do you still sneak to San Manuel for a Mel’s burger??!! Send me a note thru the class reunion email at then we can really get caught up. (Anyone else from the class of 78 please send me a note too… reunion is in planning stages!)

    Many times when we roll into San Manuel, we hit Mel’s for lunch, then head to Mammoth and La Casita for dinner. Now if that isn’t the life!

  79. Helen

    In Mammoth now, there’s La Casita of course, but also Alicia’s and now Cassandra’s, both of which I’ve heard are pretty good. The place in SM that used to be Carmelita’s is now La Hacienda, and, I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but over 30 minsutes for a bean burro is ridiculous. I won’t go there again. LOL, this turned into a restaurant review. In short, all of the restaurants except Mel’s and La Casita (and maybe San Pedro Pizza) has changed…

  80. Dan Cervantez

    Hello All. I stumbled upon this site by accident tonight while I was showing my wife on google maps the house I spent my first 6 years of life in. A side point for all of you- google maps now has a “street view” feature which allows you to see the city at the time google drove through (not sure when that was). I found the house I lived in, 182 S. Mcnabb. For those who have not been back you will really enjoy this.
    Anyway, I was born at the hospital in San Manuel in 1966 and moved to Tucson in December of 1973 and have lived here ever since. I don’t have the emotional connection that many of you have but I was mesmerized by the comments from all of you who have posted and could not stop reading until I finished all of them. The history lessons are greatly appreciated. My Grandparents, Antonio R. & Maria C. Cervantez, completed raising there 6 children in San Manuel. My Mother was Maria Louisa. My Grandpa worked for Magma until his death in the early 70’s. My mother had since moved away and my grandparents had adopted me. My Gradma and I moved to Tucson shortly after that.
    I went to kindergarten and 1/2 of 1st grade at Avenue B elementary when they still had corporal punishment (swats with a paddle) and I got a few of those. I remember my first grade teacher well, Mrs. Carpenter. She was very kind and understanding and didn’t swat too hard. Some of my uncles and aunts new her well and when she was dying of cancer we went to visit her in San Manuel and she was still the kind person I had remembered.
    Lets see, I remember Valley National Bank, the drug store on the corner of the same little mall, a woolworth’s type of store that smelled like mothballs, a burger place that may have been Mel’s by the high school, and of course, the smokestacks.
    Coming down from Oracle you could see them clearly. A little further and you would hit the crossroad to Mammoth then there would come a big dip, the drive-in, the Ford dealership to the right and your last view of the stacks to the left before we turned right onto Mcnab (which we always did). The hospital to the left and the rest was residential until you hit the little mall I spoke about previously.
    My grandma’s brother and his wife, Neto and Petra Marques, still lived there and we would go visit them from time to time while I was growing up.
    My uncles and aunts all graduated from San Manuel High. I remember how excited I was to get bussed from the elementary school to the high school to eat lunch. I recall the first time clearly. I thought that they would make you eat everything they served you and I was worried because I hated vegetables. Thankfully, I did not have to eat my vegetables, although I like them now.
    I have met a lot of people who grew up in SanManuel, Mammoth, and Oracle and I am always proud to say that I was born there. Since I moved to Tucson at such a young age I consider it my hometown also. But there seems to me to be more of a connection with someone I meet who is from those small towns. Now I know why. In such a small town we all went to the same places, did the same things, new the same people. That is something special in this modern age that we can be happy we experienced and sad because are children can’t.
    While I was showing my wife the goolge stuff she remarked that we should take our kids back there to show them where I lived. I certainly will and, thanks to all of you, we will try one of those Mel’s cheeseburgers.

  81. Laura Nameth

    Dan, you might also want to take your wife to the Casita in Mammoth for the best chili rellenos in the state. I always order a #4 (taco, cheese enchilada, and chili relleno). One year on cinco de mayo , I drove all the way from Phoenix for a relleno at the Casita, because I just couldn’t find a decent one in this metropolitan valley. When I got there and ordered a #4 they informed me that they were all out of rellenos and it broke my heart! Give them a try. For Mexican food , they are the best.
    And Mel’s is the best for a hamburger.

  82. vic corona

    i agree la casita is the best! i grew up with pete jr all the family is great.i was with pete in march of 2008 he and his family are very kind and giving. thank’s for all that the la casita and family did for my brother frank.

  83. Pastor Dean Mead

    It was wonderful to find this website, see the videos, and read all the stories. So many names ring long-forgotten memories of times that were good.
    We have visited San Manuel twice; once on the 50th anniversary of the San Manuel Community Church in 2004; and again in May of this year. It was so strange to see the smelter and stacks gone, but welcoming to find so many ‘dear hearts and gentle people’ remain, and see the town poised for its next great adventure.
    It’s ironic that copper is now over $4.00 a pound! But it’s no use looking at what might have been.
    Thanks for this website.

  84. Pastor Dean Mead

    Oops! Addendum: We lived there 1975-1984, including myself, Donna, David, Dustin. I was Pastor of S. M. Community Church.

  85. Robert Fritts

    Sergio Montes,

    Friend, it would be great to get together sometime, Life has had its ups and downs, but God has blessed me with a good life. I’m in Tucson now with my civilian work, but will deploy to Afghanistan again in November(I seem to remember retiring from the Army in 2001, but they seem to have forgotten that, 3-Iraq, 2-Afghan tours). I’m in Phoenix often for golf or a Diamondback game. Drop me a line at I’m usually busy being grandpa to my girls.

  86. Winnie

    I came to San Manuel when I was 3 years old. My mom absolultely HATED living in such close quarters, and felt that the town was segregated-hot shots on the top of town, tramp miners on the lower portion-so after much nagging, we moved to Oracle just before I started 1st grade.

    I have nothing but amazing childhood memories of growing up in the tri-community! My dad worked for the mines from 1955, until her retired in 1975. They even honed out a job for him when he came back after a 6 month illness and could no longer work as an underground miner. Those were the times when the company, and the people affiliated were like FAMILY!

    Of course, when high school came around, we Oracle kids were loaded on the bus for our grand adventure to San Manuel to meet and greet all the new kids from there and Mammoth. My freshman year, I met the young man who would become my husband of now 38 years! Who would’ve thought?? I had both my babies in that little hospital, which at the time, was a full-functioning surgical center.
    When my father accidentally sliced off his thumb, there was even a fully qualified hand surgeon on call at the hospital that night! The doctor did such an amazing job, until the day my father died, you’d have never known he’d had that accident! Those were definitely the days…

    I was working as the school nurse at SMHS/Jr. High when BHP decided to shut down the doors forever. We were out for the summer, but once we resumed, there were days I’d take my lunch break, and drive over to the old smelter area, sit in my car, and just curse BHP for all the damage and destruction they caused that community!!! I saw it every day in the faces of the kids I took care of, and the families who came in to my office. Not to mention how it effected my own life and my husband’s. But we’ve survivied.

    My husband took a day off from work the day the stacks were blown away. We went and sat as close as we were allowed, video’d them, took pictures, cried together, remembered old times together. We’ve known for a long time that things would never be the same. But we’re all survivors. And even a huge, multi-million dollar corporation (as selfish as it is!) cannot destroy us! From here, we just make newer, better, memories, right?? God bless you all!!

  87. Helen

    Winnie… as in Winnie Nelson? I remember having you as the school nurse for a little while, maybe my 8th grade through sophomore years at the high school. I was reading and just thought it was interesting that you were someone I remember. Most of the people who leave comments here are older than me and have different memories of SM. You probably don’t remember me, though. My last name is Jorg.

  88. Winnie

    Helen, I DO remember you! Good to see someone else here that I remember, who isn’t as old as the hills!

    Hope you are doing well, and have made a good life-probably outside of San Manuel? I know that I see loads of kids (now adults) in the Tucson area that were at the high school when I was working there. Many of them work in town, are going to school, etc.

    It’s always great to catch up to them and see where they ended up, and/or where they’re still going!

  89. Helen

    I’m working and living here in Tucson now, as far as I can from San Manuel. Yes, it’s a beautiful little place when you’re a child, but as you get older, and start your own life, there’s not enough oppurtunity there.

  90. Joe G

    Is the same inne who taught the EMT Class for the fire Department?

  91. Joe G

    Is the same Winne who taught the EMT Class for the fire Department?

  92. Brad Wilt

    Hi Sergio Montes
    I remember you, did you lose your front tooth because of a BB Gun ? sorry I Lived at 121 6th ave we played together often & had many classes together.

    I’m now live in tucson the past 8 years .about twice a year i ride to San Manuel for a Mels burger. Remenber in school burger, fries & coke cost $1.06 .what a bargan.

    I was also their when the stacks came down was a very sad day for me also . My grandparents lived on McNab we watched the number 2 stack go up.was so cool .

    Also remember walking from Ave B School To High School Cafeteria For lunch thur the desert befor they built the new homes along McNab Behind Mels Lunch was .25

    San Manuel Will Always Be Home To Me. I was born and raised there. My Moms Dad Walter Marsh was a miner from DeadWood SD ,they moved to Sam Manuel When The Mine was Jest starting, to make a better life for them. My Dads Dad James C Wilt Came to Sam Manuel To Bartent for Del Webb when the homes were being built, then later worked at the mill and retired.

    what about all the mussle car back then?that i will never for get.

    Also love to BBQ and smoke Meat

    Brad Wilt

  93. Winnie

    No, I never taught for the fire department. I did teach first aid/CPR to the staff at the high school and jr. high, but that’s it. Hard to believe there’s more than one person with THAT name running around in the community! HA.

  94. Nancy Hough

    For all of you San Manuel-ites who would like to keep up with what the graduates of ALL the classes are doing, you need to subscibe (sorry not free but is reasonable!) to

    There are a lot of our classmates there, and you can take a look and see if you might want to join. Some reunion iformation is sometimes posted there, as well as some of the “passings”. BUT DON’T FORGET to come back here to see what is new. This site is awesome, and I am soooooooo grateful that it is is here! THANK YOU webmaster, whoever you are. I read each and every posting and enjoyed them all!
    Nancy (Cardell)-Keith- Hough Class of 1964

  95. Nancy Hough

    I thank you for the offer of sending the video’s. I appreciate it. I bought the DVD’s from the town. I think the problem is with my dial-up being so slow. But then I am always careful when asked to download something, so I may not have the flash player installed.
    Sorry this took so long, but lost this link when PC went down.
    Again, thanks for the offer.

  96. Pamela (Weddle) Large

    Can someone give me details on the 1978 class reunion? I am not sure how to go about signing up to go and who to give the money to for it. Please e-mail me at the above e-mail. Thanks. Pam

  97. Joellen (Thomas) Brown

    No email address showing for you, so hopefully you will come back and read this! Send a note to me – Joellen – at and I will catch you up on the details. The reunion is Labor Day weekend coming up. I also sent a note to you via Additional info can also be found there on the message boards and my profile (Joellen Thomas Brown). Send me a note!!


  98. Pamela (Weddle) Large

    Joellen: my e-mail is Thanks. Pam


    Hi to all my old friends. Hortensia and I will be going to the 30 year reunion this year in Aug. 1978 Grads. Hope I get to see most of our class there. I know we have lost a few on the way to this point. God Bless them. I am going to film our get together so you may want to be careful who you bring and not say or brag about anything that cant be proven…lol. See you there.

  100. Carmen Garcia Trejo

    First of all for the lady from Green Valley – “Gibb” I believe. The cowboy with the ranch in Redington was most likely Andy Smallhouse. You can google his name and the redington ranch and probably find an address etc.

    For all the other “San Manuel former and current residents” I have throughly enjoyed reading everyone’s posts.

    My family also moved to San Manuel during the glory days of Mother Magma and the mining boom. We arrived in 1969, I remember starting the 6th grade at Avenue B and meeting my future husband (Alfred Trejo) that first day, along with many other future graduates of the class of 1976! What memories we shared during all those years. Alfred & I graduated from SMHS in 1976 and married in 1977 – still married after all these years and living in Oracle. Alfred is now the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at the now – San Manuel Jr. Sr. High School. Both our children attended school in San Manuel K-12, so we have lived through all the changes of the last 30 plus years. One constant though is the feeling of “family” that continues to exist within the community. Thank you to the oldtimers (like the Dicus’s, Piersons, Marquez’s, Paynes, etc.) who have continued to be active within the community.

    As for Tomas – I saw your name – and my first thought was “hmm must be Tomas Carrillo”. I did a little digging and found that I was right. It is great to see and read of your career successes. I remember your parents and your sister. (I was a CYM sponsor and know many of your Tias, Tios and cousins – my mom worked in the tank house with your dad….)

    May God continue to bless the town of San Manuel and all it’s current and former residents.. and may we all take time to remember and give thanks for the joyous, simple time of our childhood and the friends of our past, present and future.

    I may be reached at

  101. Laura Nameth


  102. sm alive

    All of your memories that u share is the way I live. My dad lives in san manuel I live in san manuel and my son does also. Most of the younger generation still work at the mines in hayden or ray, or they went to go work in the prisons. The smoke staks were more than a symbol to alot of us. They were the way home u could go as far as you want into the mountains and know exactly where you stood. I was never taught to look for the north star I was taught to look for the staks. the mine shouldn’t of shut down but it is what it is. People r angry with bhp for the shut down…….why? Magma put us up for adoption!

  103. chris

    Vic Corona,
    Im a friend of frankies and just wanted to say your brother Anky was loved dearly, and he loved where he was from.

  104. Here’s a quick shout-out to all who are “San Manuel and Proud!” I was born in San Manuel, did all eight years at Ave B and graduated from SMHS in 1976 – as in “THE SPIRIT OF ’76″!
    I live in Oro Valley and, from time-to-time, see students/adults wearing SM t-shirts. I always ask them, “Are you San Manuel and Proud?” I’ve never heard a negative — community pride still lives! Thanks to my long-time, Ave B, “buddy”, Deb Corona for sending my this link. I read every single blog — lots of fun! Great seeing people I remember like Avnel Hogan, Charley Ivy, Carmen Trejo, etc. God Bless each of you!
    /s/Bill Seale

  105. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    I just received this from Debbie a former classmate of ours & it was wonderful to read all your posts! Laura Nameth I remember you!! We were neighbors, Ginny is still friends with my sis Alma. Your Mom was a wonderful wonderful big hearted lady. We loved her & her cooking! We moved to San Manuel in Aug 1971 it was the scariest time of my life. I was born & raised in Douglas so i was the new “guachita” in town who couldnt get used to speaking english all day. I grew to love San Manuel even though i only lived there until 1977. I married very young and moved to Tucson. Been in Tucson for over 30 years but San Manuel is still my “hometown”. I divorced in 2000 and remarried in 2004 to a great guy who went to Sunnyside with Debbie, go Blue Devils!! I have 6 kids and 19 grandkids with one on the way in October. I’m an insurance agent and I have to say God has really blessed me and my family. Seeing the stacks go down (saw it on video) was so sad. I’ve taken my husband there a couple times and all the memories come flooding back, the friends, the parties, school dances and my sister Alma & I actually worked at Mels during high school and we did make some dang good burgers!! I love small town life and always will not matter how many years I live in the “big” city. Thanks for all the wonderful memories everyone!

  106. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    If anyone would like to email me my email is Would love to hear from you!

  107. vic corona

    hey chris thanks for the good word’s on Ankie he will be remembered for a long time, do you know frankie tapia?

  108. chris

    Im friends with frankie corona ankys son.

  109. vic corona


  110. jimmy telles

    My sister carol telles sent me this blog and decided to see what people had to say. I was completly blown away with what so many poeple had to say about san manuel and the tri community.I too moved into the area in 1956, went to grade school in mammoth and then to the high school in san manuel. Reading all the entries brought back so MANY of the same memories I guess we all have and will cherish for ever. Nobody can take that away from us. I remember when mels was built, when I was in high school. I joined the army when I left the high school. When I was in, I got wounded in Viet-Nam and was retired from the milatary. Hard to get a job , went back to school. and I ended up teaching at San Manuel High School for 16 yrs, from 1985 till 2000, so many of your names I remembered I just had to write this. Cant talk to all of you but to a few I say hi.. Vic corona hope everything is well with you. Nancy cardell you name is so familar,were you at the high school in the 60s (mid). William cathey I had you dad as an instuctor at C.A.C. your sister kellie ran track with my sister carol, they still hold the record in the 4X100 meteres and finally to eleanor gibbs sorry about your mishap over reddington pass, the name of the ranchhand that helped you was probably andy smallhouse. Oh I forgot to winnie nelson, the nurse at the high school, went to school with your husband don. By the way I retired in this good ole place and plan to be here for a long time.

  111. Danna Barksdale Emde

    If I recall correctly, Mr. Seale, we were both born in San Manuel…and on the same day/year! Great to see you’re still out there! It’s hard to live far from home, but it’s nice to find blogs like this on the net and see familiar names, especially from the class of ’76 like Carmen and Bettie. Great to see everyone is doing well. My husband and I are just now closing on some land in the area to build our retirement home on (whenever that is!). I haven’t lived in Arizona for 18 years, but I knew when it was time to settle down, that I had to come home. I’m envious of everyone that was lucky enough to stay in Arizona, and it’s nice to walk down memory lane…

  112. vic corona


  113. Shawna Crown

    When I look back on my youth in San Manuel I can not remember crime, stress, hate or drugs. I am only fondly taken to a place where all was well and everyone bar-b-queued (usually together at the little league fields after a game). I remember cruising our cars in circles around the Gordon’s grocery parking lot thinking that we were too cool. I recall trick-or-treating from house to house without a thought of poison or vandalism and going without parents which is unheard of now.

    It was a neat summer when Copper Pizza opened its doors (probably long since vanished). Yes! We could get oven-baked pizza without going to Tucson and it was delicious. The movie theatre was always packed solid with everyone in town or when a new movie hit town, the drive inn theatre was the place to be.

    I recall swimming in that huge pool until we were forced to leave and then going to Mel’s drive inn for a 26-cent ice cream cone afterwards.

    We lived at 305 McNab and then, when the new trailer court opened, we moved to San Carlos…a huge doublewide paid for by Magma. It was brand new and so pretty.

    Since those days, my dearest father (Dale Crown) has passed away…owing much of his life to Magma. My wonderful Uncle Bill Sarett is gone now, too and sadly, we lost my cousin David Sarrett just after Thanksgiving last year.

    San Manuel wears our crest. So many of our loved ones have stepped on that dirt, died on that land and loved each other under that warm, Arizona sunshine.

    I now live in Wyoming and am a successful business owner. My home is here now but many of my smiles are on the memories and hearts of the San Manuel residents who allowed my family and I a peaceful and a safe environment to grow up.

    Leaving Tucson after a day of shopping we would see them. 2.5 miles from the Junction, standing like mascots for what we knew to be “ours” – a land mark. Watching this video made me recall thinking that, as a child, I was certain that the Smoke Stacks made the clouds – and like saying good-bye to a friend, I felt my heart jerk as they laid in a dust cloud in the end.

    I still have family in San Manuel who I love so dearly. Should you meet her on the street give her a hug for me. Pamela Sarrett. A sweet person and a part of my heart.

  114. Joellen (Thomas) Brown

    Greetings, Just passing along some sad news. Mr. Jean Simminger, former SMHS teacher, passed away a few days ago. At the 30 year reunion for the Class of 1978 last weekend, we read a note from his son Rick written in response to our invitation to teachers to join us at the reunion. Mr. Simminger truly loved his years at SMHS. If interested, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Oracle Public Library, P. O. Box 960 , Oracle, AZ 85623 .

  115. Don Crown

    A lot of you may remember me as one of the Crown boys ,I grew up in san manuel, on mc nab for awhile, then in the new trailer park.
    Every time we would come back to SM from shopping(in Tucson )or ,swim meets ,games whatever it was….when we saw the stacks….we were Home.
    The longest & hardest day of my life in SM…..I was a Security Guard (@ the Main Gate) at the Mine. By order of my Superiors, I had to turn all the miners away & tell em that the mine was close. Practically all of my family worked at the mine,
    one time or another. I still have family living in SM and I wish them well. It is so difficult to believe that those stacks are gone.
    BHP did us all an injustice. Magma had a hand in it too, for “Sellin Out”.
    I send all the best wish to the good people of SM for a bright and prosperous future. I will always miss SM.
    May God Bless You all. Don Crown

  116. Helen J.

    I’ve been here a few times now, and I always get the comments in my email. It’s nice to see that everyone still loves the town and that people are finding each other again…

    Is there anyone that knew Lois and Victor Clark? They both worked at the mine for a long time, and their children are Shelly (Hanson), Ricky, Timmy, Vonnie (Jorg), Cindy (Malone, Manuszak). Vonnie works at the Minit Market; that’s my mom. I’m wondering because I’d like to find a friend or two of my grandma’s before she’s gone.

  117. Bill Seale

    Hey, Danna, my “twin”! Our October landmark b-day is fast approaching — aren’t I at least a few minutes younger?! It will
    be great when you can resettle in AZ.

  118. Danna Emde

    Unfortunately you may be correct Bill. I was born not much after midnight so there’s a lot of time left in the day for you to be younger! The big Five-O… and every day is still a good day! I’m looking forward to coming back home.

    On another note, I was saddened to hear about Jean Simminger. I have great memories of a great teacher. My sympathies to Rick and the family. I lost my father 3 years ago this summer and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.

    Joellen: Thanks for the post on Mr. Simminger. I saw your parents back in July along with your sister at La Casita. It was nice to see them.

  119. Bill Seale

    I’d like to give tribute to Mr. Simminger as well. He led a lot of wide-eyed, SM students to Europe and helped broaden their understanding of culture and history. The Simmingers were always gracious to the Seale family and we extend to them our sympathy and love.

  120. Joellen (Thomas) Brown

    Mr. Simmingers obituary from the Tucson paper. I’ve also included the link if you care to go out and sign the guestbook.

    Jean P. Simminger
    SIMMINGER, Jean P., died on September 2, 2008. He was born on a farm in Western Kansas on September 23, 1933 to Fran and Etta Beims Simminger. He was born on the farm homesteaded by his grandfather in 1884 and proud of his pioneer heritage. Jean was involved with music and loved to play the piano. He graduated from McCook College and enlisted in the Army in 1953. While stationed in Fort Huachuca in Arizona he met his wife Rita. They were married May 26th, 1956 in Lordsburg, New Mexico. He finished his degree in 1958 at the University of Nebraska and obtained his teaching certificate a year later. They moved to San Manuel, Arizona in 1959 where Jean taught high school history, was a counselor and administrator for 30 years, during which time he also achieved two masters degrees at the University of Arizona. In the summers he led students on many tours of Europe. After retirement in 1989 he and his wife enjoyed traveling. Jean was involved for many years as Treasurer for the Oracle public library. He is survived by his wife, Rita; three sons, Rick (Holly), Jeff (Amy Lou), Greg and six grandchildren. Jean loved life – especially reading, playing bridge and music. A celebration of his life will be held at the Oracle Community Center on Sunday, September 14th between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jean’s name to the Oracle Public Library.

  121. Nancy Cardell Hough

    Jimmy Telles,
    In reply to:

    ” Nancy cardell you name is so familar,were you at the high school in the 60s (mid).”
    Yes, I was with the class of 1964…..there was also a Dorothy Cordell that some mix me up with…..I do remember you tho. I married to Teddy Ray Keith (class of ’63) in 1964 after I graduated, and we divorced in 1975. He is deceased now, died in 2003. You might also remember his brother Dale Wayne Keith (class of ’62)….his wife was Millie Kimmell…and Dale passed away this year. Then there was Nellie Keith Large (married Jerry Large) and she has also passed away. The remaining two Keith kids, Dennis and Betty Keith Kimmell are both doing great. Betty married to Millie’s brother, Sammy Kimmell. The Kimmell’s ran the 77 Drive-In at Mammoth for a long time.
    Millie and Sammy Kimmell’s sister was Mary Kimmell Hyde (think divorced now tho)
    Glad to hear that there are a few of us still living at San Manuel. I also attended Mammoth Elementary from 3rd grade to 8th……

    Take Care…..

  122. Karen


    * Ms. Weatherall’s shoes
    * Walking through the desert to the High School Cafeteria for
    * Scare Sticks, Cinco De Mayo and Easter Baskets made of
    * Mr. Hammer taking us to his house to see his back yard full of
    * Mr. Brett and his paddle hanging on his side
    * Live Band at the High School Dances – ? John Acton’s band ?
    “Stairway to heaven”
    * Clothes-pin stealing night
    * Snow days and Mrs. Barksdales famous Hot Chocolate
    * Going to the Drive-in movies and sitting in the room next to the
    concession stand.
    * Motocross Races
    * Leola at the San Manuel Drug Store
    * Does anyone remember Creed’s Market and your parents
    buying food on credit during the strikes?
    * Elsie the nurse
    * When the High School dress code changed and we could wear
    * The class of 74 wearing there white belts and shoes.
    * The cowboys leaning against the library walls.
    * Townsite and how they would come do your home repairs.
    * The old pool and Community Center
    * Enjoying life without technology

    Hey Bill, I also live in Oro Valley, nine years now. I think the last time I saw you was at the hospital.

  123. Valkyrie


    Yep, remember Creed’s, right on the hill as you enter town.

    Also remember Willy Worm (Mr. Willis 7th grade at 1st ave) and hiding his paddle under the platform his desk was on because he was so short and he loved to use the paddle. But so did Mr. Hagler!

    Going to the drug store for green rivers (now a mini mart).

    Cohens store on A ave.

    A few memories, some good, some bad.


  124. wes-i was in mr.willis class and got more swats than anyone.remember kay wood(now smith).i used to hide his paddles under his platform and mess with his fish.i remember you used to have an iguana or something like that.i have been here in the same house for 30 years.raised my 2 girls here and am still here with my honey.just wanted to say hi and see if you remembered me.

  125. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Wow! John Actons Band!! I’d forgotten that! When we first moved to San Manuel my brother Richard & I went for a walk around town one evening and we heard music and we just walked up to the garage it was coming from and since my brother was a musician too he got to know all those guys along with Nacho Chavez, Ernie Velasquez (my exhusband) & Rick Flores. Richard also played tejano music with Mr. Urquijo, Rickys dad. They had a band called Monterrey & our parents loved going to all the dances. That was a magical time :) So young so innocent.

  126. Valkyrie

    Hey Kay!

    Yes I do remember you as Kay Wood! Yes I did have an iguana that was longer than I was tall :) I forgot about his fish. If I remember right, that paddle had holes drilled in it for maximum effect. (ouch!) I was living on 5th avenue back then and Steve Hernandez and I was always doing something with electronics. What I hate most about that year was the class picture….I can’t believe I was wearing a….gulp…bow tie! My daughter who is now 25 saw that picture and the first words she had to say about it was who is that geek in the front row with a bow tie! Ugh!

    I rode a motorcycle down to San Manuel on the 31st of May 2008. It sure looked different and yet still the same. The stacks being gone was what took me back the most. They were an icon of an era gone by.

    So any others from that time still live there? Great to hear from you and all the best to you and your family.

  127. Rose Marie Delzer Milam

    I have been checking this website almost daily to read everyones memories. There are so many. Where would one start?
    Mr. Simminger’s “Celebration of Life” was on Sunday, Sept. 14th. GREAT turn out. Mr. Fred Hawk was there with his wife, Susan. Jack and Pat Egan also, along with Mrs. Bell. Didn’t see anyone fromt he class of 1974, but then I was busy catering the event. I for one will miss Jean. He and Rita were/are one of my clients and I cherish their friendship very much.
    Anyone from class of 1974 can email me at

  128. Laura

    I remember Steve Hernandez.I worked with him at my first job out of high school. It would have been 1973/74. or 74/75 ,I don’t remember for sure. I worked for the district media director and Steve did , too. He repaired the audio/visual equipment for the district. I must say, he and I never really had one thing in common, but I really enjoyed his company that year. And I think he enjoyed having me there,as well. I really livened the place up for him! It was fun! I wonder what Steve is doing now? Does anyone know where he is ?
    Hi Bettie! Thank you so much for saying such nice things about my mom! I still miss her so much and you know she always loved Alma and your whole family. We all did. I especially loved your mom’s tamales. She was the best tamale maker in the whole world! Last time I saw Alma was at my dad’s house in San Manuel a couple of years ago and Ana , too ,was there. She and Virginia were talking about making tamales and I kept teasing Alma about being the daughter of the “best tamale maker in the whole world” and figured since she was the daughter that she was the ” second best tamale maker in the whold world”!!! I hope next time me and Ginny are visiting my dad, all you beautiful Fuentes girls will come and make us tamales! You had the best teacher in the world , that’s for sure!!!! Love you Bettie! Your family was the best neighbors we could have ever had!!! I still remember your little brother Victor at 3 or 4 years old just walking right into the house unannounced and asking for a cookie! I think it was the only thing he knew how to say in English. My mom and dad got such a big kick out of that!

  129. Laura

    Hi Rose, I’m not from the class of 74 but I can email you anyway, right? You don’t snub the class of ’73 , do you? I’ve been kinda busy and I know you have ,too. But I will sit down and email you soon and we can catch up on stuff. I was also sorry to hear about Mr. Simminger. I don’t care what any one says about big city teachers. San Manuel had some of the best teachers in the world , as far as I’m concerned, and Mr. Simminger was certainly one of them! And they stayed teaching there for years so they had everyones little brothers and sisters in their class and knew the whole family and it made a difference. They were teachers that really cared about their students cause they were all part of the same tight knit community/family. You don’t find that in the big city!

  130. Valkyrie


    The last I seen of Steve Hernandez was in the early 70’s while I was stationed at Davis Monthan. He visited me at my mothers house in Orcale. Knew Steve since the 2nd grade and Mrs. Hernner (sp) class at 1st avenue. When he visited he was living in Tucson at the time. Great friend! We were also in 3rd grade (Mrs Milburn), 4th grade (Mrs Renyolds), 7th grade (Mr Willis) 8th grade (Mr Sheldon) and 9th grade at SMHS together. Wow….sooooo long ago :(


  131. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Laura, Hey I thought I was the best tamale maker! After all I’m the oldest daughter :) Mom is still cranking out the tamales every Christmas and we look forward to ‘em. I heard the girls tamales turned out really good but i never got to taste them, their kids got to em first! Victor would get a kick out of knowing you still remember him like that! He’s still a pain. I remember my friends said they’d walk by our house on the way to the high school and he’d be out there yelling crude stuff and flipping them off at age 5. I wanted to crawl under a rock! Actually he turned out to be a really good guy :) I can still hear Mrs. Traweek saying “Victor go casa now, go casa”.

  132. Laura

    Bettie, I was hoping that second best tamale maker would get a ise out of you! Maybe now you and your sisters can have a tamale cook-off and me and Ginny can be the judges! Yummmmmmm!!!!!!!!
    You know, Bettie , I debated saying this here on this posting or just emailing it to you , but what the heck, I’ll just say it here. I had to laugh when you commented about Mrs. Traweek saying
    “go casa, Victor, go casa” . You do remember that he walked in on her when she was talking a bath and that was when she told him to “go casa” . Alma , Ginny and I were cracking up about that last time we were all together at Dad’s. For everyone reading this out there, we want you to know that Mrs and Mr
    Traweek were super neighbors , they lived in between us—
    the Fuentes and the Nameths. But you really have to know Mrs.
    Traweek to appreciate that whole scene. Funny , the silly things we remember,isn’t it?
    Anyway, my dad’s birthday is the 25th of this month and he will be 86 years old and he’s still blowin’ and goin’ and living in San Manuel. So any one out there reading this in San Manuel, if you run into my dad, Steve Nameth, please wish him a happy birthday.

  133. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Nice try Laura! but the tamale and tortilla factory closed when i had to go back to work after my youngest was born. Thats been 24 years now! Mr & Mrs Traweek were sooo nice and Victor was such a brat! What we would really laugh about is that my Dad could never get peoples names right and he would call Mrs Traweek – Mrs Parrish! :) A big Happy Birthday to your Dad, 86 years young.

  134. Paul Seale

    Thanks to Ann Thomas for teling me about this website. When I heard about the smokestacks coming down I had a flood of memories about growing up in San Manuel. Why do I remember walking from home to home each halloween and getting homemade treats that you didn’t have to worry may be poisoned? My deepest sympathy for the Simminger family. I got so much from his class. I also have to send a greeting to the Class of 73.

  135. Helen (Ringler) Wright

    Great Web Site! Ann Thomas Ross forwarded this to me. Thanks, Ann. I, too, grew up in San Manuel. The clinic was open, but my parents had to travel to Tucson when my mom went it to labor with me. I watched the demolition of the stacks on the noon news. It was very emotional. My husband brought home the DVD, but I couldn’t watch it. Once was enough for me. The thing I remember about the stacks, besides the suffocating smoke, was the whistle blowing at certain times of the day, and night. I, too, remember Mr. Brett and his infamous paddle. Wasn’t it made of rubber, or something? I remember the time he paddled a boy so hard you could hear the child fall on the sidewalk. Mr. Brett did not return the following year. Hmm! Wonder why? I went through San Manuel, on my way down towards Redington to visit my husband’s oldest brother, once since the stacks came down. I have no longer have family in San Manuel, so I don’t have a reason to go. The town has not been the same for years. My mother passed away in 1983. I think that is the year they started selling the houses. After my mother passed away my father moved to Oklahoma, where they were from and where we had her burried. I haven’t lived in San Manuel since 1982. We moved out towards Redington and spent 3 years there. In 1985 we moved to Catalina, and have been there since. We have 3 grown sons and 2 beautiful grandchildren. As far as the saying “You can never go back”, that is so true for San Manuel, but I am proud to say “San Manuel is my hometown.”

  136. Laura

    Hey, does anyone out there remember a Gloria Simpson or Sampson? She would have graduated in 1968 or somewhere around that time. I have a friend , here in Phoenix , that remembers going to San Manuel with Gloria when she was about 16 or so . She can’t remember if the last name was Simpson or Sampson, but she remembers San Manuel. So, Gloria, if you are out there and you read this , Robin Alexander would like to say hi to you, if you remember her. If anyone remembers her and knows anything about her, please let me know. Thanks.
    Laura Nameth

  137. Buffie & Sean Pearson

    First thing is First!

    MR. T . How are you? We miss seeing you! Loved you as a teacher and a friend. You should come see us!

    This is a great sight! So many of us have such great memories of growing up in the Tri-Community of San Manuel, Oracle and Mammoth. Sean and I meet in High School, he was a Senior and I was a Soph, that was in 1986. We were married in Dec of 1988 and spent most of our childhood and adulthood in San Manuel/Mammoth. Although we have been gone for 5 years it was sad to see the stacks go. I remember being on the news when green peace climbed the stacks and so many year book have them on the front also like our mascott. It is so nice to read about everyone and all the generations that lived and grew up there. My parents still live in Oracle and my father still works for the mines, but for Sean and I we are in another business adventure. We tried our first one in Mammoth with Pearson’s Pizza Place! It was great but when BHP shut down that was all gone and with everyone else we had to start all over. We have now moved to Globe and have another business, Sean’s Window Tinting. We are doing great! Have three wonderful children ages 16, 10 and 9.. Globe is alot like San Manuel but bigger!!!!! still the same home town feeling with everyone youtmeet but the convience of big town stores. We have been back to San Manuel a few time to see friends and family but it is really not the same. Not only are the stacks gone, but so is San Manuel Ford and they have shut down the Ave A school from what I have heard due to lack of kids and all attend Ave B. They have also moved the 7th and 8th graders to the High School and shut down the Junior High. This is sad to know that there is not enough children in the area to keep the schools alive. I have heard of talk to even close Mammoth Elem unk if this is actually true.

  138. Letty Norman Pintos

    I was born in San Manuel and left at age 6 to Tucson only to return at 16 to attend High school after my dad died and went to live with an older brother. All in between age 6 and 16 I attended several schools between Tucson and San Diego area in California. It was where I was living when I returned to San Manuel at 16. I was not happy to return to my small town at 16 after living just 2 blocks away from the Pacific ocean….but it didn’t take long before I was “home” again. I just loved being in that community that we all knew each other, dances at the community center, hanging at Mels for burgers at lunch time ( where you could barely walk) and going to CYO dances. I once again moved …back to Tucson after my brother bought a house near Marana…were I attented my senior year but did not graduate from (class of 74),I again moved to the other side of town to finish senior year at Sunnyside High. I have traveled 1/2 way around the world but always remembered my “hometown”. I have not been back but hope one day I will. It is with the fondest of memories that I think of San Manuel Arizona. I now live in Boynton Beach Florida with my husband of 30 years. I happened on this site and it was a pleasure and sandness at the same time. Thanks for the memories.

  139. Jaime Bergstresser

    I grew up in San Manuel. I remember going into the desert with my best friend, Stacy Robinson, and looking for treasures. We never found any, but we got lost many times. We always used the stacks to find our way. When we didn’t know to go north or west, we always knew to follow the stacks. I was not there to see the stacks fall, but I saw it on the news. I live in Kansas now. I moved here my sophmore year in high school. I miss all my old friends, but I am still in contact with one. You know it, Stacy Robinson. We both have had many bumps in our roads but we will always have the stacks to lead us home. Even know they are not there, our memories are. God Bless You All!
    Jaime Ludlow (Bergstresser)

  140. Valkyrie


    What part of Kansas do you live in? I ‘m in Lawrence. Well actually I work in Lawrence for KU but live in Baldwin City.


  141. Symphony Sanford Jones

    Hey Tomas, long time no see. I miss home too, been back a couple times for saladitos and nachos from Fast Stop. I miss it, but the town was deteriorating for awhile I remember as a kid, so does Walter, the old pharmacy and drug store in the lower arcade and what the town looked like when we were little. There were more kids and it was like it’s own little universe, you thought it would never change. But, change it has. It was nice seeing responses from everyone…with some luck maybe San Manuel will be revitalized..

  142. Symphony Sanford Jones

    It’s so crazy to see everyone here, thanks Tomas! Jaime Dicus, my big brother Phil used to work for John, who was the sweetest guy. I must have stopped and talked to him almost every day of high school. And Mr. Telles, always a smile on your face and always a great teacher. It’s so sad to see our town go, I want so much for it to stay the way it was, and yet, it can’t…even if we make it a “bedroom ” community or a retirement community it just wouldn’t be the same without everyone we know and love there, it’s time, came and went, I’m just so happy I got to know what it was like, and I get to hear stories from people who were in SM longer, like my dad, who tells me stories of back when SM was new, and they had lots of softball games.

  143. Cody "Coons" Yeck, class of 85

    My memories evolve around the 20+ years we lived on 1st avenue, and two homes on Ave. H. My dad, Robert “Bob” Coons was the fire chief for many of those years.

    For those of you who had volunteer firefighters in the family will remember the fire phones ringing at all times of the night, for dump fires, and desert fires were popular items. But the fondest memories are of the 4th of July when the town would gather at the football field and watch the display. We have lived all over the US from Coast to Coast and San Manuel is still our favorite memory of the fireworks displays, homemade rootbeer, barbque, and homemade donuts. Too bad the school systems of today forbid anything from scratch, the kids are sure missing out.

    Christmas would bring out my dad on the firetruck dressed as Santa and would end up in my front yard where the town would be invited to sit on the sleigh with my dad in his red suit.

    Memories abound as I have read the entries on this web site. Everything from 25 cent pool passes to door to door San Manuel Miner Newspapers for 25.

    Thank you San Manuel for the memories, Avenue B elementary to San Manuel High. Mrs. Bell, Ms. Cooper, Mr. Donaldson, Mrs. Hicks, Mr. Payne, just to name a few. Thank you from the Coons family, we read the comments regularly and enjoy the fond memories of our hometown.

  144. Bobby Kent Class of '85

    Wow this is a great website. Reading all the stories certainly stimulate good childhood memories of SM. I spent a couple of years living next to the Barksdales on 3rd Ave. There were long games of baseball in the alley behind the Cole’s house with Jeff and Scott and the Bayardo brothers. I recall a few windows getting broken during those games. There were long walks to the pool, and a stop at Mel’s on the way home for a good old soft serve cone. Baseball and softball were always king in our little corner of Arizona. I’ll always remember watching the softball tournaments my dad played in and all of the people he played with. Donny Payne, Zane Dahlin, Rick Hogan, Boobie Hernandez, Hankie Corona, Bill Jackson, the Clements, Carlos Gaona, Ralph Ramsey, Bill “Hillbilly” Hill and my Uncle Ben. What a cast of characters! I even recall a dugout clearing brawl during one of the tournaments in SM! Needless to say the team from Tucson retreated with their collective tail between their legs. Cody, don’t forget Mr. Egan and Walt Widowiak (That was good for a point on his test, remember?).

  145. vic corona

    Bobby Kent are you part of the kent family from mammoth! sherry sue billy we lived next door i also have many softball tournaments memories in mammoth and san manuel, lot’s of people watched those game’s back in the day i don’t think we will ever see it again san manuel was a special place back then i still have family in san was a great place to grow up! take care vic corona

  146. Scott Barksdale

    My sister emailed me this website an it’s been a fun read.

    Bobby Kent – you definitely brought up alot of memories with all the names from our past. Baseball was definitely the game of the day.

    I was just back in San Manuel this last summer and the missing smoke stacks was a definite shock. Does anyone remember when “green peace” climbed up the stacks and camped up on one of the platforms? It must have been ’81 or ’82.

  147. Bobby Kent Class of '85

    Let me correct my spelling first, W-d-o-w-i-a-k. I would have missed my free point!

    Scott it’s great to hear from you! You can’t beat the memories from our childhood. I’m sure I forgot to mention a few names. It’s really a shame more kids don’t get to experience the freedom and security we had. We only went inside when our mom or dad called us, or we were hungry and/or thirsty (remember-we drank from the hose in the yard, and we’re still here to write about it). The world sure has changed. I remember the Green peace incident, it was on the news, I guess we got our 15 seconds of fame!

    Vic, I am indeed one of those Kents. The tournaments were big news back then. I’m pretty sure they are a piece of history, sadly enough.

    I suppose we all lost a bit of ourselves and our collective identity when those smokestacks fell.

  148. Cody "Coons" Yeck, class of 85


    My sister Tracy just called and reminded me about your Uncle Benny. I believe that he is the same one who “hung-out” (to use my teenagers terms of today) with Hector Ahumada our next door neighbor. It has been 20+ years but we remember what a fun guy he was.

    Miss the smells of the tamales cooking and the chiles roasting. Tell Benny hi from the Coons Family if you still keep in contact.

    My parents and sister read this blog daily, so no secrets around here.

  149. Joe

    Cody, I remember your dad very well. I was on the FD from 1980-1983. He made a great Santa and Chief as well. Later he moved to Elko and work at the same mine as me for a while.

    Also, I think I have the news footage from the Greenpeace stack incident on vhs somewhere. I’ll try to figure out how to get it o Youtube if I can.

  150. Letty Norman Pintos

    Mr. Wdowiak was my history teacher in 73 as well as my older sisters in the early 60’s and used to tell her that wild story about how he lost his hair. He was a riot and loved being in his class. I remember if you got caught eating in his class you would have to bring in enough of what you got caught eating for the entire class…Well I got caught eating my lunch ( a sandwich) and luckily only had to bring in candy for all. It is great remembering how wonderful small town life is….ahhh memories.

  151. Paul Seale

    I can’t help remembering one thing. Being scared of some of the teachers . In the 60’s a teacher could yank you out of your seat and do just about anything from yelling at you to full out swats.I was at an assembly for both schools and a kid was sitting with friends and his teacher ordered him to join his own class and while the kid was trying to move back the teacher grabbed him, and dragged him across other kids and threw him into an empty chair , can’t forget he was also shaking the crap out of him as well. I can’t help having bad memories with the good.

  152. For some reason I keyed San Manuel in the address and came upon this web site. I felt all kinds of emotions when I watched this. My family moved to San Manuel in 1972 or 1973. My father became Sherrif and life was good in San Manuel. I do however remember when the wind blew over the town, how awlful the smell was and yes I also remember the teachers spanking etc to the students. I will always have a place in my heart for San Manuel. Late from California

  153. Tom Deatherage

    I found this website by accident and am glad I did. Reading the entries brought back alot of memories. Karen I read your memories and it brought back alot as well. I got a few spankings from Mr. Bretts paddle and got to ride in Mr. Hammers jeep. He use to pick out kids in his class and would take us for rides during lunch. He use to read to all of us in his class just after lunch. I lived on Mcnab when we first moved to San Manuel and then moved to 4th avenue across from the Harphants. Lived up the street from Joellen. We use to sell kool-aide on weekends and ride homemade skateboards down the street. Learned to swim at the community center pool. I remember some classmates, Vivian Herrera, Arlene Romero, David Hogan, Randy Norris, Billy Mcdaniel, Kevin Dugan, David Bertoldo, and of course the Goins kids what memories. When my family moved to Utah I lost touch with everyone. We only stayed there a year and moved to Tucson where my dad went back to work for the mine. He was involved in a cave-in breaking his back and was medically retired. They still live in Tucson, as for me I did 30 years in the Navy retiring in 2005 living in North Carolina and now work for the Navy in Norfolk with the submarines.
    I have kept in touch with Joellen and enjoy her e-mail stories she sends out and is my main contact to San Manuel. She was the one who told me about the smoke stacks and was disappointed it had to happen. I remember hearing that if you drank from the San Manuel river you would return never forgetting the town. When I graduated basic training I visited there and had the famous Mel’s burger but have not had the chance to return. I am sure there are alot of changes there and I know that the town will never die because of its history. Keep the entries coming love to read them.

  154. AL DAVIS

    moved to mammoth in 1952,we owned a booming grocery store there. the town of san manuel was just about to be born.we had to go to tiger to see a movie!i remember a lot of names mentioned here,like the coronas three of the boys worked there.the kents,burl,joe,bob.the miller sisters hattie and millie & brother cowboy .harry clark &son papoose.i attended san manuel high school also,we sold the store and moved to apache jct,az in 1958

  155. vic corona

    first of all merry xmas to all! al what was the name of the store you had in mammoth? their were many great stores in the tri community

  156. AL DAVIS

    the name of our store was Davis mammoth mercantile,it was next to the mammoth bar on the north end of old mammoth.on the east side of main street, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL !

  157. AL DAVIS

    vic – are you related to gus/joe/gilbert,they worked at our store years ago.would be nice if you had an update on the brothers.thank you very much,you can contact me

  158. Bill Ruschmeyer

    Just found this web site it is great to read all about the area. I first moved to San Manuel in Oct. 1970 i worked at the mine until it closed in 1999. I now live on the gulf coast of alabama. I was back to San Manuel this past November visited with Charlie and Darlene Blank. and Conrad Hogan. was good to see them. I also played golf with Conrad and Joey Hogan and Zane Dahlin. Good to see Charlie Iveys name. Charlie remember our trip to Houston for work during the strike in 1980 we got to go to the astodome and watch a game. God Bless to all

  159. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Does anyone remember the Mammoth “chicken coop”? there were lots of weddings, anniversary parties, & dances there back in the 70’s. Lots of fun memories.

  160. vic corona

    bettie i remember the dances behind roy’s bar by the softball complex
    also in the bar across from p&r market, mammoth had lot’s of bar’s back in the day . i still remember them and alway’s will, Al Davis yes i am one of the corona boy’s and gus gilbert and joe are fine i will pass on your email take care vic

  161. Pamela (Weddle) Large

    I was born in San Manuel and lived in Mammoth all my life. Lots of good memories, friends and fun. I remember going to Barbara’s Drive Inn to get ice cream in the summer time’s, going hunting and fishing with my family to the mountains, playing baseball, etc. Life was good growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. After graduating high school, I worked for Magma for about 4 years. Then I married Larry Large and had 1 daughter and 2 stepkids. We moved from Mammoth in 1986 to Coolidge when Larry began working for the prison in Florence. The same year, I began working for the state of arizona and was there for about 17 years. After that, I began working at the prison as an officer and was there for 5 years until I became disabled. After 27 years of being married to the most wonderful man, I lost him this past July to cancer. It has been very difficult dealing with this. If it wasn’t for my kids and my parents and siblings and his family, friends, I don’t think I would be doing as good as I am. I really planned on going to our reunion, but I was still dealing with loosing him and having some serious back problems. This is a great web-site. Wishing you all a very happy new year!! Pamela (Weddle)Large

  162. valkyrie


    I remember growing up of my parents meeting thier good friends the Ballards at the Blue Front bar for a few brews. They would take Mike Ballard and myself to the bar with them and we would sit in front of the place watching cars go by. I think Junior was the bartender back then. Of course this was back in the early 60’s :-) It sure has changed as I went through Mammoth last May and the place is still there, but closed up.

  163. Bill Ruschmeyer

    The Blue Front bar brings back memmories for me also. The owner was Junior Cantino. My dad used to go there. Junior was quite the character. He was the person to see if you wanted to buy a used car.
    You could also catch up on the gossip and when you ordered a drink you got your monies worth. My dad took my son to for a ride and when they got back home my wife asked my son where he had been, he told her Grandpa took me to the Blue store. Which was the Blue Front Inn. Junior was a a pallbearer at my dads funeral. I worked with both Walter and Mike Ballard at the mine. Walter trained us to be hoistman. I have heard Walter has passed away and havent heard from Mike in years hope he is doing well.

  164. valkyrie


    I had see Mike in 1998 when I rode a bike down to visit my mother in Oracle. He was with the Pinal county sheriff’s office. My mother told me about Walter passing away. Dorthy, his mother and Walter were best friends of my parents, Wes and Val Ellison. My dad worked as an electrician for the mine from 1954 to 1968. Walter was a great person and I really liked him when I was growing up. I came through Mammoth on a motorcycle ride in 2005 headed to Tucson. I stopped at the little mexican restruant on the main road and asked about Mike. I was told where he lived at (still in Mammoth) and rode down to see him, but it was mothers day and he wasn’t home :( I hope he and his family are doing well.

    Blue front days….seems like a hundred years ago.

  165. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Good Morning & Happy New Year!
    I dont remember the Blue Front just the Mammoth Ballroom that we called the chicken coop. My ex played there quite a few times, he was a guitar player. When we moved to Tucson I was shocked at how much the old Casino ballroom resembled the chicken coop!! not in size but in the way it was built, I guess that was the style back then. Have a great week all.

  166. Tracy Bunch

    Good morning! I was excited to that I came upon this website and saw so many familiar names. I was born in San Manuel Hospital in 61. I was surprised to see the stacks gone when I passed through back in Oct. My son and I were on our way up to Oracle Ridge Mine to scout for whitetail deer. I haven’t been back since mom and dad left for Elko Nevada in the 80’s. I retired from the Air Force after 23 years and now live in Buckeye Az. I always spoke highly of the town and was shocked on how much it changed. It really hit home when I went to see the Gardner Middle School. I was part of the first graduating class when the school was built and now it is all boarded up. I remember the Dime store and the little café in the back. The up-town cruses until 10:00 pm (new curfew law). Placing my new basketball shoes on my dad’s tab at Mitchell’s clothing store. The night games during summer time and fire works at the drive in. There were a lot of good times with great memories. I can even remember when dad built the new dugouts for the baseball field now located behind the high school when he taught mining I and II. Remember Bird Lady and Bird man the English teachers? The stacks will surely be missed as they represented a great community. Most of all I have missed the friends and families I grew up with. I was not able to attend the reunion for the class of 79 in 1999. Does anyone have any idea when the 2009 (30 year) reunion will occur?

  167. Bill Ruschmeyer


    Was your dad the baseball coach John Bunch? aslo i believe he worked at the mine for a while as a safety instructor. If you gradutated in 1979 you might have went to school with my nieces and nephew,Tammy,Kristy,Kim,Lisa and David DeCent

  168. Ron

    I’ve lurked long enough. Hey Joellen, how ya doing? Cold and wet back here in Ohio. Give my best to the fam, hope they are doing well. We lived at 975 W. 4th from 1978-82. I worked underground 1977-1981, until the big RIF, then we moved away. I miss those days: shift work, having a beer at 8:30 AM just outsie the gates, jogging the gas line between SM and Oracle, playing guitar with Tim and John, hot tubbing, 1-Shaft, Magma Mine Rescue, and many good evenings with great friends. Our children were born there, and even though they were very young when we left, they still tell people they were originally from San Manuel, AZ.

  169. Tracy Bunch


    Yes my dad was the baseball coach at San Manuel and taught for many years. I also remember your nieces and nephew. Seems like yesterday! My dad enjoyed working at the mine in the safety department. I was always waiting for him to come home after work. He had candy in his lunch box.

  170. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Tracy, are you related to Mike and Jerry? I went to school with them. If you are, how are they doing? You must have been in school with my sisters Alma & Ana Fuentes.

  171. Tracy Bunch


    Yes I am related to Mike and Jerry. Mike now works in Bolivia as the top boss for a silver mine. He commutes back and forth to Tucson were his home is. He is still married to Tami (Swanson) and now have a new grandson here in Phoenix. Jerry is also now in Tucson. Both are doing fine. Yes I remember Alma & Ana!!!!

  172. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Tracy, glad to hear they are doing well :) My sister Alma said to “tell Tracy there’s information about the 1979 30-year Class Reunion on It’s being organized by Scott Fritts and it’s supposed to be in June.” Hope you all go and have a great time. I never got word on class of ’76 back in 2006. Anybody know if there was a reunion?

  173. I was also born in San Manuel. When you tell someone that the response is “what states that in?” Both my grandfathers (glen massey, and Ernest Spurgeon, worked for the mines, as well as my father, uncles, just about everyone back in the day. I haven’t been back in forever, but my parents still have their house in Oracle, but live most of the time in reddington. It’s a way of life only those of us who lived it understand. This was a reminder of not to life and people for granted because you just never know when it will all be gone.

  174. I was just re reading some of the entrys and saw under memories Leola at San Manuel Drug store….that’s my grandmother who is still alive and well and living in SanManuel. Just as onery as ever!!! (lol) Tracy Bunch and Bobbie Fritts….good memories!

  175. Tracy Bunch


    Good to hear from you! Yes we had good times and memories. Good to see your grandmother still alive and well! It’s hard to believe that 30 yrs have gone by already. I am looking forward to my 30 yr class reunion in June of this yr!!!!


  176. lotsofun

    Does anyone remember when Magma Copper Rod (MCR) was established in Chicago, Illinois and some of us families were moved there? I was part of one of those families and I am forever grateful for that. It is sad to see the history of the town I grew up in fall down! I have to say I cried when I heard about it – then to see it on the internet made it very real. I had many family members and friends who worked there through the years. I was very young and I don’t remember much of my time in San Manuel but what I do remember I cherish. The small town where you knew everyone and everyone knew you or your family (this could be a bad thing too!) but we all helped each other and that is missing from todays culture.

    I love being here in Chicago to this day. I have family that live in the tri-community area and we go back to visit as often as well can….but it is not the same and I have not been back since the stacks fell…I am not sure I want to!

  177. Bill Ruschmeyer

    I remember when the rod plant opened in chicago. I believe Ron Parsons was one of the the people that went there. Is it still in operation? Even though i live 1600 miles away on the gulf coast of alabama. The tri community area will for ever be a part of me. My three children were born in the San Manuel Hospital My son Christopher graduated from San Manuel High School. My daughter Jennifer went there through the 10th grade and then we moved to tucson. My son Billy went to school in oracle through the 4th grade. I enjoy checking this web site out and reading other peoples memmories. When the mine closed in 1999 i was devastated only to discover there is life after BHP. They could take our jobs away but never the memories and friendships. I will never regret the 28.5 years i worked at the mine or the day it was closed and all taken away. It gave me a different outlook on life. Take nothing for granted and live each day the best you can. God Bless

  178. lotsofun

    Yes Bill he was one of them he is my step father. The plant which I now live very close to is open but it is another company now that makes parts. We all went back to Arizona when the option was to do that since the plant was going close. We did come back here and he was here until my Mother passed away in 98′ and has been back in Arizona since.

  179. tcbphoto

    More info on San Manuel with photos can be found at:

    Photos are by Joellen & T.C. Brown

  180. Bill Ruschmeyer


    I worked with Ron at the mine years ago. I was also a member of the Elks and remember when your mom and Ron would go there. You said Ron is in Arizona is he doing ok?

  181. lotsofun

    He is doing fine. He has since re-married and is living in Tucson. Still bowls a lot – so he is happy!! :)

  182. Russell Wood

    Moved to San Manuel in about 73 started third grade there had Mrs Torres. Moved to Washington state in summer of 78 hated leaving all the good times there. Riding motor cycles to no end skate boards, kites every spring. As kids we would go up to peppersauce caves and be inside for hours and come out just covered in mud, camp outs with scouts at copper creek or up on rice peak and many other cool areas. Ran with Weasel Cline, Hockets, David hughey, Victor Valdez John Woods, and many others and I went to school with Donald Montes. The swats at elementary were given by Jameson and Johnson and who could forget Mr Novelli. Have returned a few times sad to hear the mine has completly closed it was a awesome place to live a part of your child hood even if leo’s was always downhill and then you had walk uphill home. I remember running the hill for football practice in fact it was two hills. Riding the tank road on your bike puff up one hill to fly down the next. One other was the trick or treat at Halloween seemed like everyone was really into it so many kids out we never had a care growing up there.

  183. Rod Knight

    I was born and raised in San Manuel, we left to come to Wyoming in 1974, had to miss my senior year, which I still regret. My eldest brother still lives in Oracle, I have always been proud to say that I’m from San Manuel, a mining community, that was such a great enviroment to grow up in. I am so glad to have found this site, to read the memories of all the people from the tri-community, I also agree with the comments about La Casita, after eating there for years growing up, nothing comes close anywhere else. I live in S.W. Wyoming ( Green River) have been working in the mines here for almost 32yrs., once a miner almost always a miner. I enjoyed hearing about so many familiar names, if anyone would like to contact, please feel free to, I so miss the heat, ecspecialy when its below Zero here, which it is quite often in winter. I truly miss the smell of the desert after a rain, well enough rambling, thanks for the site and I will be checking back–Rod Knight

  184. Rod Knight

    I happened to find this site, by trying to get hold of the Miners archives. My sister-in-law, Gina (Mckay) gave me a book for christmas that told about the history of the Tri- community, all the old mines in the area, events that happened throughout the years. In the book, it showed a picture of the bus wreck, when we first had the joint 8th grade graduation. The caption read ” the kids were scared ,more than anything else”, I was on that bus , we had quite a few serious injuries, we were definetly blessed to not have had any fatalities. I was just looking for what the Miner’s account was of the event. Does anyone else remember, or have any thoughts? Thanks -Rod

  185. Laura Nameth

    Rod, I would be interested in knowing where to obtain the book that Gina gave you about the history of the tri community. I’d love to have a look at that book and I bet I’m not the only one. If you could find out where to get one I would be grateful.
    Thanks, Laura

  186. Rod Knight

    Laura, you can order the book from Arcadia, the author is Catherine Ellis who is supposed to live in Oracle. The title is Oracle and the San Pedro River Valley, I was just at the site, and the cost was $19.99. Very interesting book, with lots of photo’s and info. I don’t know if the library might have a copy or not. I hope this helps, Rod

  187. Laura Nameth

    Thanks, Rod. Yes, of course it helps , cause now I know where to find one. Sounds like a great book and I will probably order one . I will be going to the site you told me as soon as I get off of this one.
    Thanks again, you’re a peach!

  188. Rob Maxson

    I would like to say that i miss San Manuel alot. I moved away in 1988 when my dad was laid off from magma. I ended up moving to Nevada. I went back to San Manuel when they started tairing everything down. That was not a wonderful site at all. I have watched the videos of the stacks and it brought tears to my eyes.
    I am longing to go back there sometime, i live in Iowa now. I still have alot of family that lives in Arizona though.

  189. Genevieve L

    Victor Corona,
    Do you remember Mrs. Carpenter with her red paddle? When she would listen to us through the intercom and had to put our heads on the desk and having to sing “This old man”. I saw Victoria @ the hospital visiting Pepino for the first time since grade school.

  190. Genevieve L

    Do you remember:
    *The new houses & new trailor park use to be all desert?
    *The large carnivals every year with Happy Faces was the theme?
    *Rotary track meets that started from earily am to 10:30-11:00pm?
    *Drag Races @ the airport?
    *Taking the school bus to the high school cafeteria for lunch?
    *Remember when the 2nd smoke stack was getting built?
    *The Olympic size swimming pool in the making?
    *Able to buy snacks @ the old pool to munch on during break time?
    *The flower shop downtown?

  191. Genevieve L

    Too many things to remember about San Manuel, good & bad.
    When my dad left to work out of state for 9 months. Hated to hear that things didn’t sound good about settling…we would have to start stocking up in January to be ready for June 30th. Raul @ Pat’s Market in Mammoth was the butcher that would cut the meat for my mom.
    *Lay offs in 1980-1981-is when San Manuel started to go down hill from there.
    *When MAGMA sold to BHP-what a mistake that was. There was no problem when it was Newmont.
    My dad retired when it was Magma about in 1994 working 39yrs under Magma, not including when he worked for Tiger Mine, Christmas Mine. My dad said life time for the mine would be approx 50yrs-which it came close, but BHP didn’t have to do what they did. They aren’t very liked.

  192. Genevieve L

    Tracy, Debbie-give me the word about when & where the 30 year class reunion will be, so I can pass the word out with some other classmates. I’ve asked my mom if it’s shown up in the Miner & she says she hasn’t seen anything.
    Glad to hear you all are doing fine. I have pleanty of pictures for both the 10 & 20 year reunion. The 20 was the blast, dried out the Cantina bar @ Biosphere in Oracle-they had to do a beer run themselves. They said nobody has done that to them “Took the Class of ’79”.

  193. Brad

    Genevieve L

    Do you remember:
    *Drug store was on the corner were leo’s is now ?
    *bugers at Mel’s burgers,fries & Coke for $1.06
    *School Lunch .25
    *Taking Vac tubs from your TV to the drug stor to test?
    *I could buy smokes for my mother with a note, .15

    Brad Class 1978

  194. vic corona

    Genevieve i sure do remember Mrs carpenter she would paddle me every week i am sure i earned it. all those time’s were great for me i would not trade them for anything! i still miss mammoth and san manuel, i think the time’s were very good for all of us. i wish that mammoth and san manuel would start back in that direction again! every time i go home (tucson) i visit mammoth and san manuel sometime’s i just drive around to see all my old spot’s well time to go thank’s for the note hope to hear from other’s again. vic

  195. Genevieve L

    We had red token for lunch @ $.25. What use to be the old drug store,then the liquor store now sits “Mini Mart” with 2 gas pumps. Mels garlic salt french fries where the best-not even yourself doing them doesn’t come out the same.
    I use to go to Mammoth to buy my Doral cigs & beer @ corkers…the lady didn’t know who i was related to so i couldn’t get reported to my parents.

  196. Genevieve L

    I use to get swat because I was always talking to you. Remember if we didn’t have our heads on the desk when she walked in & she caught us is when she would swat us. I hated her with a pation & yet again her daughter & I are best of friends.

  197. Sean Wheeler

    My family moved to San Manuel in 1970 and we moved to Tucson in 1972. I remember some of the names in this blog as friends of my sisters Val and Tammy or my brother Kyle. My best friend was Gilbert Corona, who’s family was alway great to me when I came over and Mrs. Corona made the BEST tacos I always thought! I would like to know where Gilbert is these days and wonder even if he or his family would remenber me after all these years. My mom also taught at 1st Ave. Elementary School. I have some good memories of my short time in San Manuel, and some not so good like Mr. Hammer paddling me in the 5th grade. That was probably for a good reason. Anyway, perhaps the Town will find a new identity as a retirement community, or something else, and continue to be a source of good memories for future generations.

  198. Genevieve L

    Gilbert (Gibi) past away several months ago. Victor Corona was Gilbert’s Uncle.
    By the way, were you one of the last ones who came through the gate last for Mr. Hammer to paddle you?

  199. Carmen Garcia Trejo

    I remember you, “Tammy’s little brother” Tammy and I were friends until you guys moved to Tucson. When you talk to her tell her Carmen Garcia says hello. she can email me at

  200. Sean Wheeler

    Genevieve and Carmen,

    I don’t know about being one of the last for Mr. Hammer to paddle. I didn’t think he was a particularly nice person. I got swatted my first day being the new kid in school. He called my name for role as “seen wheeler”? Being quick on my feet I said “no I haven’t”. Really, for a 5th grader that’s pretty good. He should have known how to pronounce that name correctly, and you don’t make fun of any kid if you’re a teacher.

    All that aside, I soon became friends with Gilbert Corona. The Corona’s even took me to a big family picnic of theirs one time in Mammoth I think. Great and kind family. I am sorry to hear of Gilberts’ passing.

    Carmen – I will pass your message and email along to my sister Tam. I’m still her annoying little brother…keeps her on her toes. Of course I enjoy the role. Regards to any and all who may remember me. Sean W.

  201. Paul Seale

    I just wanted to pass on the book about the tri-community area and Oracle is available at Sam’s Club in Tucson. My sympathies to the Ivy family on the loss of Ernest and Henry. Hold your memories close.

  202. Laura Nameth

    Sean, what year did your sister ,Val, graduate? As soon as I read her name, I thought it is so familiar, but I just can’t put a face to her name. I was thinking that we must have graduated together, but if you all moved away in 1972 then I guess that wasn’t possible , as I graduated, along with my brother Joe, in 1973. We were only in San Manuel for two years , our junior and senior, 1971 – 1973, so we were there some of the same years as you all would have been. Ask her if she remembers me and I’m going to ask my brother if he remembers her.

  203. Laura Nameth

    Hey Bettie Fuentes! I wanted to mention to you that awhile back on the Phoenix news I saw a segment about a girl with no arms that was taking flying lessons and her instructor was Parrish Traweek! They showed him and his name or I never would have recognized him without it. He’s all grown up, not that cute little kid that lived in between us on Ave. B
    You know, Bettie , our sisters check out this site everynow and then , so that they can laugh at the stuff we write about San Manuel. They thing we’re corny! So we better think of some stuff to keep them entertained!

  204. Paul – what happened to Ernest and Henry? I don’t get the Miner where I live and noticed this in your posting. Thanks.

  205. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Laura! Wow that is so awesome about Parrish. I used to babysit him and even give him a bath! Bet that would embarrass him. I’m going to let Victor, Ana & Alma know they’ll get a kick out of it. How are you doing? How is your family? Mine just seems to keep growing! We’re up to 21 grandkids!!!

  206. Paul Seale

    Hi Pamela, I’m sorry I don’t know. Ann Ross sent me a E-mail telling me and it was just the obituary. Paul

  207. Jim Carender

    Thanks For The Memories
    First I wish to thank all Who wrote these Great Memories,,
    For All to read and take along with our walk Back through the Past and Present of Our Town San Manuel..
    I brought our Family from Ind. Feb,1961, left Ind. was 6 below Zero, got to Tucson was 72 Degrees,Have Never seen a reason to leave,,.
    Brother Joe had started With Mother Magma couple monthe before, Brother Tusco hired on in March 62. I in April 61.Sons Keith and Rodney were both Born in Ind,
    We Moved to San Manuel in 62, Our Son Timothy was born In San Manuel 1963,
    I Started in The Mill. Sweeping with a broom the floor under the belts behind the Mills.Shorty Vancis was My Forman,
    8 sections ,that floor was around 45 feet wide and 300 feet in leingth and , shoveling Muck back on the belts behind the tail Pullies, met Knew and Know lots of Great People whom I worked with….and For,,.
    Lots of Men brought Their Familes to San Manuel. children Came as did our Two Boys, the Children Born in San Mnauel Hospital, all inermxed with Building the History and Memories of the Foundation of Our Town ,the Mine, Schools. and Culture of a Little ((Big))Town .
    We live at 111 Ave B, where we watched the Stacks Fall.I had My Camera all set up on a tripod,But You Know What as the Stacks fell, I never turned the camera on….My Wife Eileen and I set there in Silence,,,As the stacks begain to Fall the older Stask turned fell against the Younger Stack.. I heard some Laugh and exclaimed, they couldn’t even get that right,
    But You know what, I at that Moment seen and Thought……
    The People that set the Charges ,Yes they did their job right,
    But ,,, Think of this, the Older Stack turned as they Both Started to fall ,took the hand of the Younger Stack ,,,,”They fell Togeather”,,,,Embraced……..
    At that Moment in Time which will Be Forever in the Hearts of Those that came, Those that were Born Here and those that Died while They worked here ARE Forever Frozen in TIME Togeather with the Two Stacks thar Fell Togeather Embraced….
    San Manuel as “”WAS”” died as did the Stacks…..
    San Manuel that was ,,is Now History….
    San Manuel as Was ,Shall only Live in the Hearts of of Histories Memories..
    I read one Comment say San Manuel ‘s streets are empty, Houses Empty, For awhile (Yes The wirter was right.) but Now Very Few Houses are Empty, and those that are, donot stay empty Long.
    Yes San Manuel is Alive and going Strong, on a Very STRONG , Glorious Historical,Beautiful Past…….
    Thanks For The Memories….

    My opinion any way…


  208. Kevin Dugan

    I am so glad my aunt Thel (Dugan/Masterson/Lynch) sent me this link. She was in the first graduating class of SMHS in 1955, & after attending Ave. B Elementary & SMHS, I graduated 20 years later, in ’75. Too many memories to write here, but I know several of you who have posted- Laura, Barb, Bill Seale, Charlie Ivy, & my old grade-school buddy, Tommy Deatheredge.
    I have been living in Lost Wages, NV for the past 20 years, & would welcome e-mails from any of my old friends at .
    The last reunion I was invited to was in ’95 (our 20th), and I would like to go to our 35th (2010) if anyone is planning one. We shared the ’95 reunion with the Class of ’74, maybe we could do something similar…
    I finally settled down, got married, & have a beautiful boy, age 7, who looks an awful lot like me at that age. May God bless all of you who remeber “Where the hell is San Manuel?”

  209. Genevieve L

    Are you the Dugan’s who lived on the corner of San Pedro & Ave A in the brown house?

  210. Kevin Dugan

    Yup- that’s where I grew up! People don’t believe it when I tell them the only time we locked our doors was when we went out of town.
    My grandma used to say that any kid who was in her house was her kid at the time- as long as he didn’t steal- and she made sure there were enough snacks for everyone, so nobody would want to be 86’d from the house!

    A big shout-out to Rosie Delzer/Carender, who was a great friend & helped me through some tough times as a teen. Too many nice people in San Manuel to name them all, I’ll just send a GIANT (((HUG))) to all of you who helped out during hard times!

  211. Kevin Dugan

    Oops! Aunt Thel tells me that she graduated in ’56, not ’55, as I posted earlier. If any of you ever ate at Thel’s restaurant/bakery in Oracle during the 80’s, that was my Aunt Thel cooking up the goodies!

  212. Thelma Dugan,Masterson,Lynch

    Hi, I’m Kevin” aunt Thel.I road the bus to Florence with Buckwheat and Jamie. We were known as “THE ORACLE BUS CROWD”.I married Carl in 1985, and we still live in Oracle.I did have Thel’s Ranch Store Deli and Bakery for 6 years in Oracle. I closed it in 1995.I would love to hear from any of the people who can remember back to 1955-56.

  213. Tiffany Roybal-Barker

    Hello Thomas and to all who write about San Manuel,

    Like many of you I too have wonderful memories of the place. Was life really so innocent? I loved riding bikes out in the desert, never worrying if you were safe. We lived on third avenue (my parents still do) and I hung out with the Hockett girls until Jr. High. I remember the Barksdales (Danna you were my role model!) and the Woods- all that beautiful blond hair…and such good swimmers! I remember the swim team and coach Gomez and his family. I am happy to hear about the Bunches…Knew them well and went to school with Kelly for a few years. Tracy, you were a couple of years older. Remember when your family moved away, such a loss for the community. Rememer too the Kent family. Chris Kent and I shared the same birthday! Not sure if you’re related to him Bobby, but I remember you too. And you Robert Fritts….you were about 6 years older than me but I remember you on my Dad’s teams. Glad that life turned out well for you. Most of all I love hearing all the names….The Durazo’s, The Guttierez family, the Urquillo’s, the Bayardo’s (how many kids did they have?! The Corona’s, the Rodriguez family, the Hocketts, The David family, the Romero’s, the Hall’s, the Rios family, the Weisner’s (all those guys who lived on San Pedro). Such good memories. Best of all, even though the town has closed down and is vastly different, these things live on! These memories, these names that we still remember….the circles, under the bridge, cruzing and how the high school was the center of our young worlds. Donny Payne still lives in town, I think. I know that when I think and talk about my childhood, it is with great fondness and a sense of well-being and overall happiness…but hated that smelter-smoke! Thank you all for keeping these memories alive of the town and the families. My folks still live there and I used to play the “I see the smoke stack” game with my kids when coming down to see them. Even though everything has changed, until my folks are gone, San Manuel will always be my home town. “We’re from the hard-rock mines of San Manuel….”

  214. Pat Fairchild Collins

    After having been born in another legendary mining town—Leadville, Colorado, I was raised in San Manuel (my dad received a pamphlet while working at Climax about the new mine opening in San Manuel); my parents still live there (my father G. C. Fairchild is now almost 81). My family moved there in 1956 as one of the early families in San Manuel. My brother Billie and I attended San Manuel schools from 1st through 12th grade, both of us graduating in 1969. My children were born there in 1971 and 1973 before I finally left in 1976 to wander the world. San Manuel calls to all of us who lived there and who will always call it home. We grew up playing under the watchful eye of 1st one smokestack and then lving under the shadow of a second. It was an overwhelmingly sad day when the stacks came down. We played in our yards, listening for the mill whistle that told us, as young children, time for supper (4:00–head home now) or, as teenagers, curfew (10:00 P.M. — head home now). The ore cars pulled into the smelter from the mine with “Daddy’s paycheck” loaded high. It was a simple life of playing in neighbor’s yards, playing kick-the-can under the streetlights at night while our parents sat out on the front lawn visiting, watching the coyotes who came in to lay under the warmth of the streetlights, attending the CYO dances on Saturday nights, filling the high school stadium or gym on Friday nights to cheer on the Miners followed by a dance (with live band) in the school cafeteria, sitting on the grassy hill in front of the upper arcade, attending the drive-in theater, drag racing at the airstrip or on a town street, riding horses or trucks & jeeps in the desert, “tulie-hopping” along Smelter Wash or down at the river, going to one of the many churches on Sunday. We all knew more about rocks and sulphur smoke than we ever wanted to know. We played with snakes and tarantulas. We picnicked in Peppersauce Canyon and explored the caves above it, on our way up the back side of Mt. Lemmon. We couldn’t wait to leave the boredom of living 50 miles from anywhere at the end of the road. And ever since, as we traveled throughout the world, we have longed to return as often as we could, knowing that as we left Oracle and descended into the San Pedro Valley surrounded by the mountains that made us feel secure as children, we would come around the curve and spot the stacks in the distance like beacons leading us home. That idyllic time exists no more except in our minds, but it will exist forever in our hearts. San Manuel—my home. Pat Fairchild Collins

    SMHS class of 1969 40th Reunion on June 27, 2009 at MountainView Country Club, Saddlebrooke, AZ. Go to to purchase your tickets for this wonderful event or call 520-825-2818 to purchase over the phone.

  215. Genevieve L

    Your name has crossed through our house over the years. You must remember my brother Abelardo Llamas. I saw your sister several years ago in her work uniform. I bought my first diamond watch and a ring from your grandmother’s jewerly store “Hall’s”. I got to know your grandmother when she ran the business and my mom use to take us into the store. I remember your mom working the store as well. She amazed me fixing jewlery with her arms…The Roybals and us go back many years, even before us kids were born. My parents have been living in San Manuel since 1955 and are still there. They had a chance to make a home on their property in Oracle but chose not to make a house there.

  216. Dee Hudson

    I was born in San Manuel in 1956, and my son in 1975. Some family still live there, but I took off in 1976. I have been many places but still my heart aches sometimes for that place. But you can never go home. When the stacks fell it was like a whole way of life was over forever. It was a good life for a kid. Riding bikes and later motorcycles in the desert. Heading up to Leo’s for a coke and a bag of candy for a buck with change. Memories edged forever.
    Class of ’75’.

  217. Chris Bowra

    Wow! A very dear friend just mailed this website to me.

    I moved to San Manuel in 1971. (605 3rd Ave) Tom and I had 2 children that grew up there.

    My best memories lie in San Manuel. This is where I came to know God. The biggest and best change in my life.

    I often boasted of how, over the many years, it was the only place I knew that never changed.

    I moved away in 1985, living in Prescott, Az now.
    I plan to visit in about a week. I look forward to visiting my
    friends, whom I consider family, each year if possible.

    For a town of this size, San Manuel has a very nice motel. I have stayed there on many visits. One visit was difficult. Most of the rooms were rented out to a company who were dismantaling the mine and smelter. So much of the sites were already gone. My last visit rendered only the remaining stacks. I had heard the smoke stacks would remain and be a historical site!

    I think of my best times and memories as the author of Ecclesiastes wrote: Ecclesiastes 3 \”For everything there is a time and a season for every matter under heaven……\”

    Thank you Tomas for creating this site for us…

    Christin Bowra

  218. Dwaine Hussey

    Wow, talk about yesterdays… My family moved to Oracle, then the
    Red Hill Trailer Park in 1949, we lived either in Oracle, Red Hill TP,
    Superior, Red Hill housing until San Manuel was built, then lived on
    4 th Ave until I left after graduating in 1959. My parents (Dad just passed away) still are there on 6th Ave.
    Jamie, Buckwheat, & Thelma, hi guys, we are some of the more senior ones huh? Am sure glad I wasn’t one of the one’s that had to take the bus to Florence, that was like a 12 – 13 hour day for you all.
    Tiger for the movies, I saw many of them there, most memorable was the Wizard of OZ I think. But then again a lot of thing happened at the movie house. Bus ride to Mammoth to go to school from Red Hill
    thru Tiger, wow what an experience that was day in and day out.
    Then going to school and the old mens barracks whle the school were being built in town, I am one of 99 of the first full 4 year class graduating from SMHS in 1959. Thel tell Carl hi, K…

  219. Hello Dwayne. Guess what, Bruce Fassett and I live in Mt. View, CA and meet every couple months at Whole Foods to yak about the past. I see few other Class of ’59-ers posting comments here, just Buckwheat. Hm, little wonder, I reckon we’re all around 67. BTW, I glimpsed Buckwheata (BW’s sister Betsy) at a distance in a drive-in theater somewhere here in NorCal many years ago. She must’ve been in her early thirties, looked Real Good.

    I remember SM with mixed feelings, in part because of the circumstances of our leaving (father blinded). I remember some interesting people – Rex Mirich who would play for the Raiders, Patriots, and Broncos. Pretty cheerful guy at the time – I remember him being in front of me in the offensive line in practice, and in the next moment Rex was teleported somewhere behind me, and me on my back. I posed few obstacles to his football career.

    Also remember playing a JV game vs., I think, Miami where the halfbacks were TINY. They were so small, I couldn’t figure out how to get low enough to tackle them – so I just stood in the line with my hands on my hips and let them bounce off my tummy. Mirich & Co. were on the sidelines, laughing their heads off.

    I went on to a lifetime interest in sports and fitness – in no small part because of Coach Paisola’s “encouragement” when I dropped out of a mile race as a freshman. After completing my first trail 50-miler, at age 52, I stood at the finish and gave silent tribute: “There, what do you think of that, coach?”

    Funny the people I remember. Mr. O’Malley, of course, the softspoken ex-Marine math teacher. What a jewel. He visited us when we were living in LA and I was home from school. Still a wonderful man, then teaching in Tucson.

    Weird that I still occasionally think of Don Lankford, mostly for his laugh. Another really cheerful guy.

    I wasn’t too surprised by the stacks coming down. I was born in a mining camp in South America (El Teniente, Chile) – it was the largest underground copper mine in the world. Yet now the town is mostly a tourist attraction; the miners commute by bus; used to be, you could only get there by rail. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  220. Bryan Howell

    My parents still live in Mammoth and forwarded this site to me. I enjoyed reading all the comments it brought back alot of fond memories. I still love going back home and seeing all my old stomping grounds and a few friends that are there. It is a little sad to see the all the changes that have taken place and all the people that have left though. Sorry about hte grammer, but remember I went to San Manuel High. lol

  221. Dwaine Hussey

    Wow again, I haven’t heard much of you in forever, Bruce said the last time I saw him that you were jogging around places. Yes the old football days were a hoot till I got wounded at Sunnyide, finally had to have back surgery in 87, took 19 month to get over that. You still working to or are you among the retired?

  222. I grew up in San Manuel up until the seventh grade at Gardner Middle School. If I would have stuck around, I would have been part of the San Manuel high School class of 1995. My younger brother Paul graduated from there in 1996. I moved away from San Manuel when my parents were divorced back in 1989. I have never forgotten the place. I ended up in another small town (Silver City, NM) where I ended up graduating from high school. But when I think of home I think back to growing up in San Manuel. Riding my bike all over town and swimming everyday the pool was open until we were kicked out. Then going to Mel’s to eat. The baseball games and up town were the main spots to hang out. I often think of some good friends that I had back then like Danny Lopez,, Michael Early, Franky Garcia and Ben Yepiz, just to name a few. I go back there every once in a while on my motorcycle (it is a great ride from Tucson). I do have to admit it is not the same not seeing those smoke stacks when I am getting close. When we were kids, we would travel to Tucson often and I would always know we were close to home when we could see the stacks.

  223. Hi Dwayne. Sorry to hear about the back – “wounded” sounds like a service injury. Hope you’re able to get around. Are you working? I’m among the retarded, but not retired. – George

  224. Bill Ruschmeyer

    Pat, Its been a long time i didn’t realize that you moved away in1976.
    I moved to the Gulf coast of alabama in 2001 after the mine closed.I love living here, beautiful beaches and a laid back lifestyle, nobody gets in a hurry and when your my age thats a good thing. I remember you and Bill and the kids comming to to the house for dinner and playing cards. Lois and i divorced in 1989 and she lives in Virginia. Take care

  225. Helen

    It’s strange… I get all of our comments sent right to my email. I also get a newsletter of inspiring quotes. Today, I got about 6 or 7 new comments, and the newsletter, which provided me with this:

    For any American who had the great and priceless privilege of being raised in a small town there always remains with him nostalgic memories… And the older he grows the more he senses what he owed to the simple honesty and neighborliness, the integrity that he saw all around him in those days. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

    I can’t imagine it being any more appropriate. Also, on a side note, there’s a book out right now entitled, “Oracle and the San Pedro River Valley”. It’s at Barnes and Noble, I’ve looked through it myself, and there are some wonderful pictures and stories in it. Most importantly, it has an entire chapter dedicated to our town.

  226. George, no I got kicked on the tail bone playing football against Sunnyside in our junior year, it just 30 years to take me down along with all those other years of abusing my body. Yep still working, thought about retiring a couple of years ago, but missed my chance till the ecomony turns around again. Living in Tucson with Jean my
    wife of 44 years, currently raising our 13+year old grandson. I spend most of my time takaing care of business in eastern AZ , NM, and a small portion of TX. Lots traveling but that’s what I’ve been doing most of my adult life, tried the mines, underground at SM, mill at one of the mines south of Tucson, but luckily got in the exploration division of that one and moved on into exploration and mine expansion work along with the constant search for water and other thing, oil, geothermal energy, am now and for the past 37 years have been working in the drilling industry as a drilling fluids engineer for a division of Halliburton.

  227. Jerry A Taylor ( 1957

    Mary Elizabeth Hawes Taylor

    A Lovely, Sensitive and Talented Human Being

    It was on a beautiful autumn evening in the small mining town of San Manuel, Arizona that a young red headed boy, a 16 year old junior in high school that looked something like Richie Cunningham from Happy Days, went on a hayride. On that hayride he met a 14 year old freshman girl with beautiful long dark hair that shined in the moonlight, had sparkling brown eyes, and skin like cream. She had a slightly freckled nose, cherry red lips, and her speech flowed like a southern breeze. She was a vision of loveliness from tip to toe. The young boy was taken with her at once. To his fortune, she must have felt the same about him. Four years later they became man and wife and lived almost a storybook life for the next 44 years and 24 days.
    During their marriage Mary and Jerry Taylor had three children, Jerry Jr. first, Beverly Susan second, and Michael Sean was the last. Their children begat four grandchildren, Brian Scott and Amanda Marie (Jerry & Bonnie); Evlin Hawes Taylor, Jerry Michael Taylor. Bailey Edward and Lucille who died at childbirth. (Michael & Rachael) The grandchildren have had 5 great grand children, Braden, Noah, and Alex (Zach and Amanda Ridgeway) and Jaxon and Ryker (Brian and Cassy Taylor).
    During the early years, Mary was the homemaker and nanny while Jerry went to work, served a machinist apprenticeship and eventually graduated from college. Mary started her college later and was attending college when Michael was born. Jerry worked most of his career at Motorola Semiconductor in Phoenix eventually becoming an Equipment Engineering Manager. Mary chose to be a teacher eventually becoming a “Master imagineer”. She taught at Bustoz Elementary in Tempe for eleven years where she developed the skills of a journeyman teacher.
    In 1986, to satisfy her husbands desire for a career move to California, she pulled up stakes, left her job and moved. Not long after, she began teaching in the Corona/Norco school district and soon settled in the Lincoln Alternative Elementary School. Mary’s talents began to bloom and mature. She was able to capture the imagination of her students using situational role-playing techniques such as reproducing the Mayflower voyage as the vehicle. The methods she used would in the mind of the students, allow them to imagine themselves on that trip, experiencing the hardships, the food restrictions, and many other issues. During this trip Mary would integrate the necessary learning concepts such as mathematics, science, writing, spelling, social behavior, and historical facts. It was like magic to the students and Mary became the imagineer.
    Mary’s ability to generate lesson plans and learning concepts led her along with her good friend and associate Jill Naylor to create a publishing company “ The Forward Discovery Press”. She and Jill, along with the red headed guy, created and published five fully integrated teaching unit books for grades 3 through 6.
    Mary’s health began to fail due to the California humidity level, smog, and mold spores. It became necessary to give up her immediate passion for teaching and with Jerry relocate back to Arizona. Jerry returned to Motorola and Mary sat out a year and recuperated.
    It wasn’t long until she was back in the fray. She began teaching at Bethany Christian School in Tempe, Arizona. She loved the students, their parents, and the faculty as well. Mary felt she was in her finest hours teaching in the parochial school environment.
    Mary continued her imagineering by having her students create mini-societies. The students would imagine themselves on a deserted island where they would have to create a society. The society must reflect all the infrastructure required for a free society to exist. They would learn to make choices in a democratic way that included naming the island and their tribe, making behavioral rules, designing their money, creating their businesses, and learning to pay taxes. They would learn about loans, interest, manufacturing, providing quality products and services and why profit is necessary to maintain their business. This imaginary society would become reality to the students. They were very eager to learn the math, science, social skills, writing and spelling concepts because it helped them succeed in their society.
    Mary was loved and revered by her students, and was held in high regard by their parents and her teaching associates.
    Mary and Jerry hung up their professional spurs and retired in Snowflake, Arizona in the White Mountain area. They have a beautiful home and have enjoyed their time together, Mary with her painting and crafts and Jerry with his shop and shooting at little clay birds with a 12 gauge shotgun. They ate out a lot and Mary liked to play computer games, mostly Freecell, Solitaire, Maijon and the like.
    I am sure that Mary never had an emotion remotely close to wishing pain or harm to any living soul or to any living thing for that matter; however, although she loved them very much, houseplants were in dour trouble in her house.
    On Tuesday, July 15, 2003 Mary left us for a better place. She will be painfully missed but will be lovingly remembered by all who knew her, especially by that freckled faced red headed boy she met some 48 years ago and her beautiful children, grandchildren, family an friends.

    I write this with love,
    Her Soul Mate, Jerry
    July 22, 2003

    Document edited to add additional grand and great grand children. 3/10/2009

  228. Dean Mead

    The notes bring back real memories about San Manuel!
    The book, “Oracle and the San Pedro River Valley” is really worth getting. There’s an article in about Cyn-d Turner, who was our son David’s 8th grade teacher. She gave him a ride in her airplane about 2 months before she crashed it! (1983)

    Also, a lot about Elizabeth Lambert Wood, of the Triangle-Y Ranch in Oracle (Camp-O-Wood). As Pastor of the San Manuel Community Church, I found a set of silver candle stick holders there with ELW on the bottom. I learned they were given by Elizabeth Lambert Wood. She helped San Manuel get started, both socially and financially in the 1950’s.

    My next pastorate was in Long Beach, Washington, and I was amazed to find on 3 stained-glass windows, the name “Elizabeth Lambert Wood” on them. I found out it was the same person; she spent her summers here, and the windows were bought by the children in the church in the early 1930’s, gratefully for the many ways she helped them. Every year, in October, she would ‘motor’ down to Oracle; being probably the first ‘snow bird’ from this area. Now you know the rest of the story.

  229. Dee Hudson

    Dee, class of ’74’
    How strange it is so many of us have wondered off but still call San Manuel home. I still remember the sunsets and lazy hazy days of summer (and wonderful winters). I don’t believe there is one thing I would change growing up, the desert called to me and off I would go with my bike, later motorcycle. The hills of Pepper sauce canyon, and Mount Lemon. We just new to be home by dark. Kids miss out on a lot these days.
    Thanks for the memories.

  230. Pat Fairchild Collins

    Hi Bill,

    Yes, I also remember the dinners and card games. Good to hear from you. Bill and I left San Manuel to go to college at Grand Canyon in Phoenix. Eventually, Bill became an Air Force chaplain (thus the wandering the world comment). I finally wised up in 1993 and we divorced. I moved from England to Illinois and eventually back to Arizona. Then in 1995 I moved to Wichita Falls, TX to be near my daughter and her husband. Shortly after moving here I met and married a wonderful man, Tony Collins, and am extremely happy and content. Been here ever since. I teach high school English (20 years now), a profession I love. Bill is no longer a chaplain or a minister or in the Air Force. He did live in Virginia. I think he recently moved to Colorado. Don’t really know—very little contact. Kids are grown and doing well. 3 grandkids. Time flies.

  231. darby blackwell (pirtle)

    I spent most of my summers with my grandma & grandpa (Fred & Francis) Pirtle in San Manuel during the 60’s. I haven’t been there in years, and that is one of my biggest regrets. The best memories I have are from there. Playing softball in the alley on 6th (621 6th st. or ave. I think)- swimming at the pool with all the kids yelling at my grandma “catch me grandma”- taking long walks on the dirt roads out in the desert and being careful not to let the jumping cactus get us (nothing smells better on earth than that desert)- walking to church and standing at the fence looking at the big house and wondering’- walking with my grandma once a week to get a hamburger and a green river soda, and then shopping at Shaw’s variety store- visiting cousins and aunts and uncles- and the most spectacular thunder and lightning storms ever! So many good and happy memories. I was down in Kearney for my uncles funeral about 3 weeks ago and could not bring myself to visit San Manuel. I heard the stacks were gone and the town had changed so much. I will be back up this summer and plan on driving through. I had a best friend that lived next to my grandparents, her name Is Leanne Hudson. I often wonder about her and her family and hope all is good. My children never had a childhood like I had, too bad. You can always go home, you just can’t ever go back. When I watched the video of the stacks falling, I had tears.

  232. Tiffany Roybal-Barker

    Of course I remember you and your family! I often look over to their house as I am driving into town. I was wondering if they still lived there. So many families gone now. And of course I remember your brother, Abelardo. I think I still have some of our letters from High School! I went away to ASU in 84 looking for him, but never found him. He did go to phoenix after graduating, did he not? He wanted to be a Civil Engineer. What are you up to and where are you now? I have to say that I love this site, not just for the memories but for the ability to re-connect with people you thought long lost!

  233. Joni Hudson

    Hi Darby Pirtle!
    I’m so glad you wrote to this wonderful web-site, Leanne was so happy you remembered her, she has lots of fun memories of you and your family also.
    Please email us to and we will get back to you.
    Yes, it was a sad day when the stacks came down, we just sat and cried like babies. This is our town and that was our landmark. Whenever Donna and Mike come home that’s when they knew they were home when they saw the stacks:(

  234. Laura Nameth

    Hi Bettie! I found out that Parrish works at the San Manuel Airport as an instructor. Since you used to babysit him when he was little, maybe now he could give you flying lessons! Or a bath! LOL Just kdding, I couldn’t resist that one! My family is great. As you know, my dad is living in San Manuel, on ave I. And , as I’m sure you kow, Virginia is still living in Nashville. My older sister , Sue, is in Louisiana . And my famous brother , Joe Nameth, lives in Elko , Nevada with 2 children and 1 grandson and another grandchild on the way. Virginia’s daughter, Cheyenne, just moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She is going to school there. She is so pretty, she looks exactly like Virginia. Last time we were all at Dad’s in SM, she really got a kick listening to Virgina and Alma and Ana and me telling stories about our childhoods. We were pretty funny, Virginia and Alma being the funniest. Dad was finding out about stuff we did back then , that he didn’t know about. Couldn’t exactly tell him back then without getting in trouble, but we were all too big to spank now! He laughed as much as we did and loves Alma like another daughter! Like he didn’t have enough of us girls already! I remember he gave Alma a hard time about not teaching her kids to speak Spanish and then when she found out that his first language wasn’t English ( it was Hungarian and he didn’t learn English til he started school , without any bilingual teachers . either, go figure) and that he didn’t teach his kids to speak Hungarian, she gave him a hard time right back! Maybe next time Virginia and I visit Dad, you can make it up there with Alma. Would be nice to see you and don’t forget the tamales!

  235. Genevieve L

    Sad to say, my brother never went to ASU as much as his heart wanted to. When he graduated from SMHS he went to school at Pima College. He moved to Phoenix lived there until he got married then moved back to Tucson. He married someone from Tucson. He has 5 kids from 22yrs to 2yrs. Now you know as much as I know.
    As for myself, I’ve moved back from the Phoenix area to Tucson in 1994. I have 1 daughter, now 21yrs. My parents still live in the same house. They have been in San Manuel since 1955 so I doubt it that they will move elsewhere on their free will, if you get what I mean by that. I told my mom about this website & told her that you were on it. She asked me about you were you were now living at. Mom said she knew you had 2 little ones. So do you have 2 little ones & how little are they? Where are you at these days?

  236. Mary Allison

    I cannot believe this blog! What a trip back in time this was, reading everyone’s memories of the Tri-community, and how odd that those are my memories as well. The nasty taste of smelter, but the anticipation of the best Cherry Cokes and Cheese Burgers anywhere! Some of the most amazing teachers chose to make a difference in a little no-where place such as San Manuel. I thank them though, as it is they who have inspired me to teach and change the world one kid at a time. I had the fortune to teach a lot of classmate’s kids and relatives while I taught at Gardner Middle school. I understand it is no more as well.

    But it’s my own memories of my teen years that are the most vivid. How can anyone forget cruising uptown, round and round especially after a football game. I remember baseball and softball games on a perfect field, and volleyball in the high school gym. I still think of “shoot the boot” when I think of playing with Tracy Huffman, marking the miner man’s boot as a setter’s target. I think of Crazy Mr. Arntz, Ms. Nadeau, and Mr. Ruperight, all of whom have passed on. I think of riding around in Mark Navarro’s Camero, and feeling like nothing could be more exciting than finding where everyone was hanging out. Someone mentioned Elsie the Nurse. What a character she was! I so respect that woman!

    I live in Provo, Utah now, and no one here really knows of the little towns I called my home. It’s almost like it was a private little dream that only I could reflect on. But hearing all of your fond memories has really helped me to realize how important and special growing up in such a little town was.

    Thank you Ani for passing this on to me! And Will Cathey, if you still read this, my brother Dale still speaks of you and your crazy days in Oracle. Bobby and Cody and Tiffany and anyone else on here that I missed that I know, dang I miss you all! I miss so much of that era of my life.

    There is a country song, named “Everyone Dies Famous In A Small Town”. And it so fits this blog. You all may feel invisible to the rest of the world, but you are remembered in all our rose colored memories of the perfect little towns of San Manuel, Mammoth and Oracle. Go MINERS!

  237. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Laura! you crazy woman…it would be fun to see you all again! Poor Parrish he’s probably really red faced by now :)
    When is Ginny coming to town again? I got to see her at Almas last time and yes her daughter is so pretty and really daring to be going away to Mexico!! We had a good time going over old times too. We laughed cuz I thought they were all such a pain in the neck back then. Thought I was too cool for them cuz I was a teenager and they were still in grade school!ha! those were the days….. And now here we are in our 40’s & 50’s! Yikes!

  238. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    Sharing a former teacher’s obituary, Kathy Johnson is how I knew her,this was in this morning’s AZ Daily Star:

    Georgia Claire Kathleen Moore Johnson 60, of San Manuel, died Friday, March 13, 2009. She is survived by six children and 11 grandchildren. Mrs. Johnson was employed by the San Manuel School District as a teacher for the past 39 years. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a celebration of her life 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2009 in the San Manuel High School auditorium. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY & CEMETERY 888-7470.

    Published in the Tucson Newspapers on 3/18/2009

  239. Joellen

    Obit for teacher Kathy Johnson

    Georgia Claire Kathleen Moore Johnson

    Georgia Claire Kathleen Moore Johnson 60, of San Manuel, died Friday, March 13, 2009. She is survived by six children and 11 grandchildren. Mrs. Johnson was employed by the San Manuel School District as a teacher for the past 39 years. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a celebration of her life 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2009 in the San Manuel High School auditorium. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY & CEMETERY 888-7470.

    Published in the Tucson Newspapers on 3/18/2009

  240. Genevieve L

    It’s sad about Mrs Johnson. She & Mrs McGrew were my school teachers. Some good memories about that class. I remember when they were all excited about adopting their first son. Her flower bug. She was a flower child.

  241. Mrs. Johnson was my teacher too. I will never forget her, this news is so sad. She is one of my past teachers that I would have really loved to see again.

  242. Laura Nameth

    Bettie, I’m not all that crazy anymore. Well, maybe crazy , just not too wild anymore. Not very dignified for a woman of 53 to be acting too wild and crazy, you know. And you, a grandmother of 19 , wasn’t it? I sure hope you’ve settled down! Ha! As for Parrish, I doubt very seriously he is red faced over our comments. You know he’s loving every minute of it! ( as well he should!)
    I don’t know when Virginia will be coming this way. She works hard you know and is a busy girl, or should I say busy woman. She really isn’t a girl anymore . Hard to believe our baby sisters are over 40. That bothered me more when Ginny hit 40 then it did when I hit 40 or even 50. Altho I must say , I still have a hard time accepting that I am over 50. Where did all the time go? It went by way too fast. I wasn’t done being young yet and then I woke up one morning and I was old! What happened!?!
    Bettie, why don’t we start planning a little Fuentes/Nameth reunion at my Dad’s in SM ? That would be fun to get all of us girls together for a night of cocktails and tamales and a slumber party,
    don’t you think? Maybe even give Parrish an anonymous prank phone call or something!

  243. James Lambert (Jimmy)

    I just stumbled upon this site tonight and I am amazed at some of the names I have seen. Charley Ivy, Rodney Johnson, Bill Ruschmeyer. I have strong roots in San Manuel. My grandfather Slick Petty was one of the original residents. He helped build the First Baptist Church. My mother grew up just down the street from the church on Nichols. My brother and I grew up on 6th Ave and Ave I. I go to San Manuel maybe once every 2 years and I have nothing but good memories. I would love to hear from anybody from San Manuel. Especially Rodney Johnson and Bill Ruschemeyer. My email is

  244. Jacque Traweek

    San Manuel truly one of the unknown wonders. After 21 years of being away and living in many interesting places such as Kauai, Oahu, St. Thomas, VI, Seattle, Ellensburg and traveling to many, many places such as Bali, Bangkok, Cambodia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. etc. San Manuel tugged at my heart.

    I have been at such peace with my return “home”. The evenings bring the sweet desert smell, the sounds of coyotes singing in the near distance, the morning sunrise creeping slowly over the Galario Mountain Range… where else in the world can you find such beauty.

    Parrish is my brother and lives up the street. My sister Donna lives in Catalina and my parents live in the same house on Third Ave.
    I have never second quessed my relocation to this perfect little town.

  245. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Jacque! i still remember you as the cute little girl with the blonde ponytail, Donna was the shy one with the freckles :) I was the snotty teenager who would babysit you sometimes. Anyway its good to hear that you have traveled to all the wonderful places i wish i could go to! I’ve been to Oahu, Seattle and Alaska so thats not too bad. I can still hear your mom saying “go casa Victor, go casa” :) Hope you all dont hold that against us too much!! crazy mexicans!!!

  246. Sean Wheeler

    Laura Nameth – I may be wrong on the date of us leaving San Manuel. I believe my sister did graduate in 1973. I know I was in the 5th and 6th grade at B Avenue, started Jr. High at Flowing Wells in Tucson. My mom, Barb Wheeler, taught at the other elementary school in SM. Regards, Sean W.

  247. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    I’m grateful, too, for Tomas and this website, the memories and the history captured here. Very precious stuff. For now, I wanted to let folks know that I’m gathering contact info on those of us from the Class of 1974, so if you know of anyone, please give them the email address below and have them write to me at:

    Thank you! Ann (Thomas) Ross

  248. Kelly Sloan

    San Manuel Memories

    There are so many great memories of growing up in San Manuel in the 60’s – 70’s it’s impossible to mention them all. Some of my most memorable are:

    • Running barefoot from yard to yard all the way to the old swimming pool and remembering how good it felt to dip my pavement burned and blackened feet into the cool blue water.

    • Listening for the sound of the ice cream truck on a lazy summer day and then chasing the truck all the way down the street for a ice cold popsicle that I would always share with my favorite pup-Mugzy!

    • Setting up a lemonade stand with my brothers at the corner of 4th and Main. We didn’t just sell lemonade we sold graham crackers with powdered-sugar icing!

    •Riding our bikes through the flooded streets after a summer rainstorm and then swimming in the water hole at the end of the street—6th and Main.

    •Stealing pomegranates from the McClellean’s pomegranate tree and thinking we were really getting away with something.

    • Climbing high up in a mulberry tree and shooting peas from a pea shooter at passing cars and kids .

    • Sitting on the Finley’s wall and watching the world pass by.

    • Catching lizards and building underground forts in the backyard with my brothers.

    • Sleeping outside under the stars in the summertime with all the kids from the neighborhood.

    • Remembering the smell of my dad and of his lunch box after a long day at the Magma. He always saved us something special from his lunch box—stale chips, half a peanut butter and jelly, a brown banana—it was all good!

    • School carnivals, cake walks, and Dr. Scar!

    • Walking, with great anticipation, to First Ave Elementary with my brother’s Mike and David to a school dance on a Friday night–me in my favorite miniskirt and Mike and David wearing their newly purchased “dickeys” from Mitchell’s that they seemingly soaked in Hai-Karate and Aqua Velva.

    • Sitting on the roof of the house right up next to my dad and watching fireworks on the 4th of July!

    • Listening for Ollie Hagler’s VW to come rumbling through town on a cold winter’s day announcing “No School—Snow Day!

    • Ollie Hagler marching into the classroom to line up all the kids who had misbehaved during the week so he could give them a swat! (Great memory only because I never got a swat!)

    •Walking downtown with friends on Saturday mornings, taking shortcuts all the way, with a wagon full of empty pop bottles. First stop Leo’s to cash in all the pop bottles, second stop the dime store for a trinket or two, third stop the drug store for a spin on a bar stool, a basket of fries, and a bag of penny candy.

    • The smell emanating from Mel’s as we sat in Mr. Heinz’s keyboarding class clicking away on the typewriter keys and dreaming of cheeseburgers.

    • Little League baseball and cherry snow cones.

    • Going to Mitchell’s Department Store to purchase my red and white, polyester pinstriped, snap and the shoulder gym suit for high school PE. Then taking it home and altering it by cutting off at least five inches from the length.

    • Hanging at the Drive-in Theater on a Friday night and waiting for the crazy streakers to run in front of the screen!

    • Falling in love with Mike Sloan in the summer of 1974! This, by the way, is still perhaps my favorite memory of all!

    Kelly (Aldridge) Sloan

  249. Danna Emde

    Tiffany and Kelly, you’ve brought back a lot of memories. With my parents moving from San Manuel to Oracle 26 years ago, I rarely go back and a lot of memories had faded. The names and moments I’ve forgotten about, now seem just like yesterday. I drove through the town just last summer and very few things look the same. I’d forgotten about Ollie Hagler, Mitchell’s, Leo’s, those dreaded gym suits that we had to hem up, the Drive-in Theater when Eddie Wissinger streaked, the great thunderstorms, baseball games in the summer…I could go on and on. There really are a lot of great memories…. Makes me a bit homesick!

  250. Kelly,

    Boy did you clear some cobwebbs! I remember going to the desert with David, Chris Corrigan (what ever happened to him?), Tommy Wilson & Dave Ridinger. We would catch snakes and keep them at Chris’s house. One time Ray Benitone dared your brother to, ah heck, you ask David. The Pages lived by you also, what ever happened to Leslie? Her mom was very nice to all us kids. And the fort in your alley was first rate, no cave ins.
    I don’t know why some of us leave and don’t come back. I think it was because of Arty Swanson, he used to dunk all us kids at the pool (just kidding, you were ok and you always bought us beer). Its a great little town, and the funny thing is that living in Phoenix for the past 29yrs I still keep moving further and further away from the city lights because I always remember the night sky at home. Those of you that still live there, Dad, Donald and Kelly & Mike.
    Do not take your happy little town with all those awesome memories for granted!!!!!!! Its worth more than all the riches the rat race has to offer.

  251. Carlos Calderon

    Hello everyone, just like many of you I found this site by accident, but happy I did. Again like many of you I was born in San Manuel but lived in Mammoth then move to Tucson in 1964. And just like my father Jesus, brothers Raul and Oscar I worked at the smelter until it was shut down. I kept in touch with friends living in Tucson and knew the stacks were scheduled to be torn down, but did not have the date. I found out about while at work. I was eating lunch when I heard San Manuel being discussed when I looked up to see the television I saw the stacks on their way down to the ground. I moved to Las Vegas in 2001 and I haven’t had a chance to go back home to visit San Manuel. While I don’t have family there anyone, it still is home.

  252. Dolores

    Wow, what a wonderful website. I was so moved by all the entries. I too, grew up in San Manuel from 1st grade through 12th grade.
    I remember Dr. Finley,
    Elsie Meitz
    Mr. Wdoiak
    Mr. Willis
    Mr. McClure
    Does anyone remember Mrs. Hemperly? 3rd grade
    Mr. Hagler\’s electric paddle?
    Selling the San Manuel Miner?
    The swimming pool on 5th ave?
    Cohen\’s Dept. Store?
    Leo\’s Liquor Store?
    San Manuel Drug Store?
    Shaul\’s Variety Store?
    The Chinese Restaurant at the lower shopping center?
    What was the name of the restaurant at the top shopping center where one could charge their lunch?
    How about the laundry and dry cleaners owned by the Butlers? I think
    And the shoe repair shop?
    How about tear filled eyes, asthma on smoke filled days when the smoke from the stack descended upon the town?
    What happened to walking to school?

  253. Lisa Ortiz

    My little sister who is in Chicago emailed me this site about my hometown of San Manuel. I look back now and am so blessed to have grown up in a town where it was such a simplistic life and so carefree. My dad Ron Parsons and mother Cheryl whom a lot of people knew from the Elks Lodge moved to Chicago when MCR (Magma Copper Rod) opened. I moved to Chicago for 15 years and most people from Chicago didn’t have the opportunity to grow up in a town where you could play outside all day without your parents having to watch your every move. Or have the sense of helping a stranger with a flat tire or trusting strangers because that’s the way you were raised. I have so many wonderful memories of growing up close to with my siblings where we played all day and never got bored! To all the wonderful teachers that made a difference in our lives. My kindergarten teacher Ms. Fessler and her incredible puppet shows at Mammoth Elementary school and how she taught us to have an imagination! Because of Mrs. Hicks my sophomore English teacher I went on to become an Engineer, she encouraged me to believe in myself after a trip to the U of A. I am truly grateful for all the incredible child hood friends I made and still have kept in contact with, and to all the one’s whom made a difference in my life! And I wonder from time to time what path and journey my friends have taken in life especially the ones who I have lost contact with. My best memories of High School were the football games, the away games, going with Celina Estrada, Linda Hall, Georgia Garcia and looking for the cute boys, LOL  I have been blessed to have lived both in the southwest and mid west and have met so many amazing people along the way. I have seen a lot of the world, been to so many incredible places with my jobs that have enabled me appreciate my small town sense of pride. I now have come back home to Arizona to be closer to my family. I live in the Phoenix area and have kept in touch with quite a few of my child hood friends from the Tri-State Communities. My grand parents still live in Mammoth they bought a house in 1951 and I try and get back as much as possible to visit and go eat at the La Casita. Thanks for creating this site and bringing back so many wonderful memories!

  254. Sandy McLennan Payne

    What a fun site! Our daughter in San Diego tuned us in to it, and I’ve spent way too much time reading and remembering! Donnie and I still live in San Manuel – and we’ve recently moved into my parents home. Kind of strange sleeping in the same bedroom you lived in as a kid! Donnie is still teaching and coaching at SMHS – or SMJH-HS as it’s now called. He just logged his 500th win as the Varsity Baseball coach – we must be getting old! The pomegranite tree still tempts kids – – – some things never change! The name of the cafe where we could charge our lunches was the Triple X. Do you remember standing in line back to the kitchen for Mrs. Mejia to make your lunch? Tostadas were 30 cents!

  255. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    There was a nice article on baseball coach Donnie Payne in the AZ Daily Star this week:

  256. walter cris moreland

    Lot of neat people here on this page. I lived in San Manuel from 1960 until 1965. I just read Mr Haglar’s obituary. My dad had to go see him quite often over at first avenue. My dad worked in the millfrom 1960 – 1965, he died at he hospital there in san manuel. I was ten at the time His name was Omega Moreland ,he worked under Harry Burk. we lived at 902 5th avenue. It was sad to also to hear that Henry and Ernest Ivy have passed away. we sure did ramp around town during that time. Does any one know any thing about benny boykin the williams brothers or mike winger. it would be neat to know,

  257. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    My friend from Utah sent me this website and I live in Oro Valley, Az. It shows how far the arms of San Manuel really reach! My family moved to SM in 1956 from Idaho. I was 6 months old. After I graduated I couldn’t wait to move to the “Big” city but ended up back in “safe” SM in just a year! I raised 3 kids there then moved to the Tucson area. I took the day off when the stacks came down and sat with some of my family and watched with great sadness…. It has all been sad to watch the town that our parents helped build slowly falling apart. First, the complete omition of the mine, the plantsite, the old trailer park, the arena …. what is next? I wouldn’t trade my childhood with anyone! We all have great memories.
    I, too remember Mr. Hagler, Mr. Novelli and his wife…., Mr. Willis, Mrs. Hemperly, Mrs. Teague, Mr. McClure, well, all of them. It is funny but they taught there forever it seems. I saw Mr. Novelli at a fundraiser at the Elk’s a few years back and he looks the same. Mr. McClures’ passing was very sad to me, he was such a great teacher/person.
    I remember being a girl scout and one Saturday our troop hiked to Peppersauce….. but we got lost and didn’t really get there till almost dark! Good ol’ Mrs. Jameson and Mrs. Brown just laughed and took it in stride.
    I remember we all hurried to get to school so that we could play on the crooked merry-go-round! I also remember walking to school, home for lunch and back and then walking home after school let out and my kids gave me a fight when I wanted them to do the same! Remember playing work-ups on the softball field? We all have laughed about our teams from San Manuel always had the upperhand at home games because we were all used to the smelter smoke!
    Being in Oro Valley and shopping at the stores on Oracle Road I always run into someone I know and then I see some…. and have to come home and look at my yearbook to see who it was! Ha!
    We all have a bond and that bond IS San Manuel. It was a great place to grow up and we were all so fortunate to have parents who recognized the chance to raise their families in such a good community. Our families all made about the same amount of money, we all had the same entertainment, and everyone watched out for each other. A stranger always stuck out like a sore thumb.
    I still have family in San Manuel and so I go up to visit once in a while. It is so sad not to see the smoke stacks and I even miss the horn at 4:30. Now it seems really quiet.
    This is an awesome site to have so we can all stay in touch!

  258. Anne Bateman Livingston

    Jamie, Thelma, Buckwheat, Dwaine, George, Jerry — we are on the outer edge! I remember having to take my dad’s lunch down to him when they were building the road to San Manuel. Once the town was in place, we freshmen and sophomores were in the barracks — I still feel sorry for those poor miners who had worked all night and were trying to sleep in the other ones! For Florence bus riders: Remember the day Katherine, our bus driver, made a snap decision at Oracle Junction that we would go the the rodeo parade in Tucson instead of going on to Florence to school?????

  259. Linda (Mason) Schick

    Thanks for the memories! I currently live in Saudi Arabia but will be home this summer. I’ve always told my kids about Mels Diner but don’t think I’ve ever taken them there. Hearing all the talk about the best cheesy grease-burgers in the world has my mouth watering. I will definitely be making the two hour drive for lunch. Are there specific days it is not opened?
    When we moved from San Manuel to Chandler, I remembered not wanting to tell the kids at my new school that I’d moved from this little bitty town out of fear that they might make fun of it. My husband still teases me about it but it’s all in good fun. He knows how I cherish the memories of my childhood and has visited the Town with me on several occasions.
    I would love to hear from anybody who remembers me. I can be reached at

  260. Linda (Eberle) Pondrom

    This is such a great site; wonderful to see so many names (if not faces) that I recognize. Thank you to my dear friend, Barb Beneitone for letting me know about it.

    We lived in San Manuel in the early ’60’s, moving to Missouri where I graduated in 1965. Would love to hear from any classmates or others that remember me.

    I have so many wonderful and vivid memories of our time in San Manuel. Some of them include:
    -Cuban Crisis….didn’t realize the possible outcome…
    -Football games….one homecoming king was Butch ?
    -Birthday corsages with ribbons, etc….eg., Bubble gum for 15, sugar cubes for 16….made by friends.
    -Motorcycle exhaust burns on our ankles
    -Circle pins….hey, they had a special meaning
    -Liz blouses
    -Ben Casey shirts
    -Wearing boyfriend’s letter sweater (wore Danny Parisot’s for a while)
    -Rolled up colored tape under boyfriend’s ring to make it fit.
    -The sweet smell of the straw in the coolers after wetting it down. We have to have AC here, too much humidity.
    Walking to the pool AND the public library….it felt so good to get into that cool dark space after walking in the heat, and have so many choices of those beautiful books.
    -Pom pom girls doing their neat routines….one that sticks in my mind was to the “Percolator” song.
    -We lived on 3rd Avenue between the Masseys and the Hudsons.
    -Saw mention on earlier entry of Rex Mirich….don’t remember that name, but do recall Doug Mirich.

    My sister is Donna (Eberle) Garner, and was in the class of ’67. If anyone would like to get in touch with her, please e-mail me and I will forward.

    Thanks again for this great opportunity to reconnect with those from one of my favorite towns, San Manuel.

    Linda (Eberle) Pondrom (

  261. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Anne, your bus driver took you to Tucson instead of school? that is too hilarious! can you imagine if a bus driver did that today? all the parents would be sueing the school and just having a fit!! Aww the good ole days :)

  262. Dolores Tafoya

    This site has brought my childhood back to life! I too found it by accident. I was raised in San Manuel and went to school there from the first grade through high school (1957 through 1969). I lived at 118 Avenue B with my mom, dad, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. My dad worked at the mines for as long as I can remember and he now lives in Mammoth. I still have an aunt, uncle and cousins who live there as well. Thank you all so much for bringing back so many happy memories! You tend to get caught up in life as it is now and forget all the wonderful things in the distant past. The class of 69′ is planning a reunion this June in tucson. I was planing to attend and now I am even more excited about it! Thanks to all!

  263. Pat Fairchild Collins

    Hi Dolores,

    Great to see your comment. Look forward to seeing you at our reunion this summer. My brother, Billie, will be there too.

    Pat Fairchild Collins

  264. Kelly

    Linda (Akers) Garrick…now there is a name I will forever remember! Linda was the best babysitter in town! She used to babysit us all summer long when we were kids. My brothers and I have great memories of our summers with Linda. Crazy thing is, my two older brothers are not much younger than Linda. Guess my parents knew we couldn’t be trusted to be left home alone. Linda used to take us to the swimming pool where we’d swim all day and then when we got home she would make us the best ever grilled hotdogs and mac & cheese! I’ll never forget the time she launched my brother Donny from her feet and he flew through the air, landed on his head and was knocked out cold! After a few minutes he finally came to only to discover Linda taking his temperature orally with a rectal thermometer!

  265. Linda (Mason) Schick

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I always thought the Triple X was a bar, not a place to get lunch. I’m referring to the April 24 comment by Sandy Payne. Was it a cafe before it turned into a bar?

  266. Helen Wright

    Hi, Linda,
    Yes…there was a cafe next to the Triple X. I believe it was owned and ran by the same people. I think there was a bowling alley, or skating rink in that area at one time, also. Are you the Linda that lived on Webb, next door to the Ringlers?

  267. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    I always knew it as a bar too but they sold great hogie sandwiches! my brother Rick and i would go there late at night after sneaking some wine behind our parents backs. he’d go in and buy us sandwiches and they never said anything ever though we were under age but that was back in the 70’s when things weren’t so strict.

  268. Laura Nameth

    I remember Linda Akers and the Triple X !! I believe that Linda and I ( along with my brother Joe) graduated together in 1973. And I tended bar at the Triple X starting in 1978 ( i think) for a couple of years. I don’t remember any cafe next door but that may have been before I moved to San Manuel. I do remember a laundrymat next door to the bar. And I remember my boss, Harry Lord, with great fondness.
    I remember that Linda has a brother named Rick , and I don’t know why I remember that , unless it’s because I remember a bunch of us going to Summerhaven on Mt. Lemmon for the Fourth of July weekend and Rick was partying with the daughter of the Fire Chief of Summerhaven after everyone else had konked out for the night, and…. as I recall, they got drunk and took the fire engine for a little joy ride in the wee hours of the morning!!! Everyone laughed about it the next day , but , boy, you sure couldn’t do anything like that these days and be laughing about it the next day cause you’d be in jail with a DUI being the least serious charge!! That was sometime in the mid to late 70’s

  269. This is a fantastic site,hearing names i have not heard in years,what about the class of 75 reunion?I graduated in 75 I was born in the San Manuel hospital in 57 and my mother passed away same hosptial on June 14th 1996 very sad day for our whole family and every day after.This is still a great town my father Robert Adams and brother Duwane and sister in law Mary still live there so i visit 4 or 5 times a year. I remember so many good times and good people.The Elks picnic every year then school starting after Labor day,the old pool on 5th street had lots of fun there,all the ball games and my father coaching little league.Kimmy Howley Huff how is your family?I was living in Henderson,TN watching the news when the stacks was shown on the national news I was shocked and sad,I am so sorry to hear of all the different people that have passed on my deepest sympathy to all there family’s.e-mail address is take care and God Bless to all.

  270. This is only an idea I want to throw out there for every one to think about. Why don’t we start a big reunion with all classes that ever went to school in San Manuel.From the oldest to present and have a parade with floats from the oldest school year to present,also a picnic, games ,dance and what ever ideas any one else can come up with, any takers?

  271. Genevieve L

    There was a cafe next to the Triple X. The bar has been there for a long time since or prior to 1955. Triple X was ran by Joey Starman’s dad. The bowling alley that didn’t last long was there after move theater shut down. The skating ring was in Mammoth, but the Jr High gym had a nice basketball floor that they use that as a skating ring for a short time.
    Betty you were luck to go into the bar under age. I tried going into the bar when I was of age to buy beer but I was shipped far away from the bar from the guys who hung out there. They took my money, got my request of beer, told me where to park my car. They bought it for me and told me that if my dad knew that they let me in, they would have to deal with him & they didn’t want to. I tell my dad about that & he just laughs about it.

  272. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    Yep Laura that was my brother Rick and he still laughs about that “fire engine” trip. He had a cabin up there for a long time. He still lives in Oracle. The Triple X cafe was way back in the early 60’s. And everyone should know by now that the original swimming pool that we all enjoyed is now a flower pot! I guess there was major work that was needed so Magma decided just to fill it with dirt. We all drank underage, remember we all “got” to drink at 19 which meant 15 was good enough! I remember sitting uptown drinking Coors and Guy Hill (Constable) stopped by and told us that we had enough and we had to dump it out and go home. Can you imagine that now? No way!

  273. karin valenzuela

    May 4, 2009

    I was born in San Manuel in 1958 and my family moved shortly after that. Although I have lived in Az for my entire life, I finally just today returned. I was oddly choked up and emotional, partly because my parents are gone now. I would love to hear from anyone that remembers Rayburn Starrett (my father) or George Starrett Sr or Jr

    Thank you , Karin Valenzuela (Starrett)

  274. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    Hey Laura, Rick just left my house. He says you also have to remember they stole the Ronald McDonald Helium machine and while they were taking the fire engine for a joyride they were inhaling the helium and yelling in their high-pitched voices while they were spraying all the houses with water. Oh my God they were crazy!

  275. Laura Nameth

    Ah, yes, the inhaling of the helium! Everyone sounds like Elmer Fudd. I believe Rick and his friend were sucking helium and yelling
    “west and wewaxation, at wast!” They were not crazy, they were just
    ‘wewaxing!’ LOL I must be crazy , because I can still hear them!
    Those were the good old days!

  276. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    hi Genevieve, well i never went IN the triple x, my brother did. He’s 3 years older so they didnt seem to have a problem with him going in there. I waited in the car :) mmmmmm nothing like soggy hot ham & cheese sandwiches wrapped in plastic!

  277. Gina Ambrister/Vondrell

    As most of you –I am a Country Music Lover–But some of you may not be aware of the fact that there is a song out Now- 5/09- by a Young Man named Justin Moore–that should be San Manuel’s town Song–It’s Called– SMALL TOWN USA–and the words and the video remind me so much of San Manuel–Really takes Me Back!!!
    Class of “73” I can’t believe it will be 36 years for Us on May 31st–Hope all of you are doing Well–God Bless———-Gina

  278. Francis Smith

    I just Googled San Manuel, because I’m scanning photos of my great-grandfather, A. J. McNab, while he attended the opening of the facilities there. I so wish I had gone to San Manuel while I was in Tucson four years ago! Now I’ll never be able to see what was such a definitive landmark. Thank you for posting those videos. As time allows, I will look through the posts to read of the San Manuel experience. All the best, and thanks–Francis

  279. Sarah Shutt

    Hi, I grew up in San Manuel (Class of ’95) and finally moved away to Massachusetts in 2004. The last time I visited was 3 years ago, things have really changed there from what my family tells me. It is sad to think that so many things I remember from my childhood are gone, especially the two smokestack pipes.

  280. Paul Seale

    The first day of highschool I was not sure what to expect or what would happen to me besides going to class. Linda Akers walked up and started talking to me like she had known me her whole life.
    , Linda, you made me feel like I mattered for the next 4 years and I wanted to tell you thank you from the bottom Of my heart. Paul

  281. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    Wow Paul I saw your last posting…. I guess I was nicknamed “Walkie-Talkie” by Mr. McClure, my 8th grade teacher for a reason! That was one of the nice things about being raised in a small town, everyone is friendly. As a matter of fact today there is a huge parade for the SM Girls Softball team as they head out to the State Tournament in Phoenix! My niece coaches the team and a lot of the players have parents and grandparents that are SM Alumni!
    Also, I want to say hi to Gina Armbirster! I also thought of SM when I heard that song!

  282. Paul Seale

    Gina I wanted to say hi to you as well. I’m sorry your teenage years were so hard. I hope I wasn’t a jerk to you. Paul

  283. Gina Ambrister/Vondrell

    As far as I can remember Most everyone was very nice to me while I lived in San Manuel –Paul–Had one incident at lunch time at the Liquor store–another young lady though that I Wanted her Boyfriend-Nope-wasn’t interested in Him–but she felt for sure that I was–tried to beat me up -hitting my head against the pavement–don’t know where I learned to reverse the situtation on her (lol maybe from watching the Ivy’s wrestle) but kicked at her and dislocated her knee-and was able to get away from the situation with a ride from Henry Ivy–Mr Egan called us both into the office after lunch and talked with us – and the young lady ended up wanting to be friends . Man, did I give that young man a Piece of my mind when I saw Him. WOW–MEMORIES!!!

  284. Debbie Anderson

    Brad Wilt & Debbie Anderson of Oracle
    After 30 years not knowing were the other moved to .found each other about 5 years ago and stayed in touch every sinse. We both road the School bus driven by miss Ruby Townsley from Oracle to Sam Manuel. is there anyone out their remember that time. or us

  285. Cindy Hyde

    I remember Brad and Debby! But we moved from San Manuel in July of ’75, went to Playas, NM, dad worked on the flash furnace there until he retired. If any of you see Ronnie Rodriguez, let him know I live next door to a relative of his! Joellen has been so great to send me updates on everyone, and I really appreciate her doing so! Deana Sandoval lives up here somewhere, I run into her at the hospital now and again! I see quite a few familiar names on here; Paul Taylor, Pam Weddle, Sergio, Rhonda Adams (what the heck are you up to!), and a big HELLO to all of the Trejos! Miss you lots!

  286. rod carender

    Rod Carender

    my dad mailed me this link and for that im gratefull.
    hello to all that remember me. I am working in the peppersauce camp ground living in oracle and loving every minuate of it. it is good to read all of your stories.hopfully soon i will add a few of my own.
    untill then keep the stories coming.

  287. Keith Carender

    My father retired in SM right down the street from the first moto-bike course built in the town. Gary Burns, Buddy Mcdade, Bruce Mcdade, Perry Richardson, my brother (ROD) and other I can’t even remember scracthed the desert out and made a b-d a-s moto track at the bottom of 6th ave. Sometimes when I am visiting my dad I take my grandson for a walk out over the over grown course.
    Some things I remember
    riding bikes riding bikes riding bikes
    we rode our bikes to Oracle and came back on the highway
    riding bikes to smelter wash
    riding bikes to the San Pedro river
    riding bikes to peppersauce
    boy scouts…what a great experience it was and Herb Shanks made it all possible
    anyone remember Herbs motor allways running?
    our Boy Scout camp at peppersauce canyon
    Anyone remember the hobby shop/slot car track down in the lower shopping plaza…what was the families name that ran it?
    the pits and the yeild sign man….Lee Casper
    becoming a “MAN” in the back seat at the drive maybe watching fist full of dollars or a few dollars more….LOL LOL
    the Vietnam no school day sitting on the grass above McNab looking over at Mels
    Mrs White crying because the class had failed her quiz…the whole class..
    Robert Falls coming to town
    Hooking up with Robert and winning the talent show doing “Dock of the Bay” and our version of “The Letter”….I do not remember all the band mambers….little help?
    smoking in the bathroom
    Donny Lucero dying of cancer our sophmore year
    shopclass was all about squaring up a 1′ x1′ x 1″ board and just about the time you had it…bammmm someone would wack it with the hand plane
    ditching school and getting caught by Mr Turlio in the orleanders at the old pool

    more to come….off to work for now….

  288. Tracey (Doitch)

    I was feeling a little melancholy and googled San Manuel and came across this blog. As I watched the video and read the comments, I couldn’t help but become a little homesick. Even though I couldn’t wait to leave that small town, I wish I could go back and raise my children there…but they would never have the same experiences that I had. Experiences like walking to the drug store with my dog (not on a lease running ahead), fireworks at the high school, playing hide and seek until I was yelled at to come in long after it had gone dark, meeting up with friends at the pool during summer daring each other to jump off the “high dive”, senior ditch day at the river near Reddington, or seeing a movie at that lousy drive-in near the corrals. I still visit my parents there and inevitably call in an order to Mel’s for one of those cheeseburgers. It is iconic of San Manuel. I remember those big houses at the top of sixth where the “bigshots” of Magma lived. I remember when the Cinema opened and it was HUGE! I remember the American Legion and those dances they had. And who could forget about that sulphur that would settle on the town and make you feel like you were breathing through an iron lung! Thank you “Closet Entrepreneur” for giving San Manuelites the opportunity to revisit (through our memories) a town like no other. A town that only another San Manuelite could ever understand.

  289. Kent & Judy Brunson


    We just stumbled on your website by accident and we read through a few of the comments. We too have been residents of Oracle and San Manuel for 35 years. We raised our children in Oracle and have been living here in san manuel ever since they all graduated. We have many fond memories of all the community activities too. We certainly miss the stacks that marked this area for so many years,it seems awfully strange to drive up to and into san manuel and not see them. We enjoy our friendships we have made throughout the years.

    Kent and Judy

  290. Tim Hampton

    Tim Hampton,

    After bumping into Max Kempton at a car show in Tucson I started thinking about the “old days” in San Manuel. I dusted off the old Copper Leaf and went back in time. So many people I had not thought of in years were smiling at me again. My wife found this site doing a search for Jeff Martin and I couldn’t wait to put my two cents in. I remember the smell of the smoke, riding bikes at the pits, walking barefoot to the old and new pool, cruising the upper arcade, desert parties and people that made it my home town. we moved to town in 72 across the street from the Carenders, (Hi Keith and Rod) I actually work with Keith. 1013 2nd ave was the house I called home. It hurt to sell the old place after my parents passed but the memroies are still ln my heart. I worked for Mother Magma from 1980 to 1993. I went to work for the Larson Company in Tucson after some confidence building from my wife. I traveled a lot and found a job that now keeps me at home. ASARCO Mission Mine south of Tucson. I guess mining is in the blood.
    I’m looking for info on the class of 80 reunion.
    feel free to contact me at
    the 9678 is my payroll number from Magma

  291. Ralph Ramsey

    I found this page while looking for my cousin, Eleanor Marie Ramsey of Mammoth. Daughter of Ben and Clara Ramsey. If anyone has any info about Eleanor, please give me a shout at Thx

    I enjoyed the postings, thanks for the memories.

    I saw my name in a posting from Bobby Kent. I’m too old for baseball now Bobby. I still hit a white ball, just a smaller one that just lies there. As far as the bench clearing brawl is concerned, your dad was right in the middle of it.

    Sandy Payne: Your husband sucks at cell phones. For the record, I have tried calling at least 10 times since you told me to.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the name of my best friend growing up PFC Mark Bateman……God rest your soul. I took you a wreath and a flag on memorial day my friend. Everyone that knew you, still misses you.

  292. Sandy Lawhon Burch Little

    My sisters, Nancy & Marilyn sent me this site.
    Such memories of San Manuel and its smokestacks. Our family moved there from Miami, my father, Willis Lawhon, was working at the Inspiration Mines. I recognized so many names on this blog, hello to everyone.
    It was a special place to grow up. All those memories –of the paddle swatting, teachers, lunches, swimming pool, dances, drive-in, best friends, and the closeness & friendly people. I have never found that in any town that I have lived.
    I know live in Marana, northwest, and I hardly see neighbors kids play outside like we did.
    Sad day when the smoke stacks fell.

  293. Genevieve Llamas

    Tim Hampton,
    You should have asked Max Kempton while you were talking to him about his cousin Jeff Martin. You do know that they are 1st cousins, right?
    Genevieve Llamas

  294. Hello everyone!!! I really don’t have a lot to say except that I miss home. Oracle and San Manuel will always be home to me no matter where I am in this Big World.

    I currently live in Daytona Beach, FL. I am a 1975 grad. from SMH. I’m sure some of you will know me and there are a lot of you I know. Kevin Dugan and Thel and Charley Ivy and a whole bunch of you others.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from anyone back home. I want to thank you all for the updates. I was one of the first 7 people to get laid off from BHP when they had decided to close the doors. This was in the year 2000. I worked for Magma for 23 years. Since then, it’s been a rough ride.

    Still, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have shared the feelings, memories and such. It really brings me back home to when I lived there.

    I can be contacted at the following email:

    God bless you all and may the sun shine upon your head.

    Ken Lawhon

  295. Laura Nameth

    Hi Sandy Burch, at least that’s who I knew you as, Sandy Burch.
    Gosh, it has been a long time. If you have an email address why don’t you email me at : I would love to hear from you!
    Laura Nameth

  296. Jeff Simminger

    I just found this website today. What a find. It has been great to read and remember growing up in San Manuel. It was nice to see that my father’s passing made it onto this blog. My mother still lives in Oracle (I’m visiting her tomorrow for the 4th of July weekend) along with my wife Amy and children Jonah and Sarah. Here are a few of my memories of San Manuel:
    Mr Donaldson and his “pinkies” – man those hurt alot. Remember him laughing as he grinded your knuckles when he shook your hand? You didn’t mess around with him and most of the other teachers.
    I had Mike Brown when he taught his first year at Gardner JH. He was very strict on the no horseplay rule and gave swats (what are swats dad?) when you made a funny face in class. On the last day of school he had the bright idea that he was going to give swats to all the kids who hadn’t received one for the year. I was one of these kids. He was tapping kids on the butt in front of the class and when it was my turn he hit my butt as hard as Hank Aaron did the baseball back in the day!
    Birdman riding to school in his convertable car with his helmet on!
    Having a crush on Mrs. Parker in 7th grade!
    Coach Roybal and his temper tantrums – grabbing me by the jersey and yelling at me during a timeout – hell that was just a coach being a coach back in the day!
    Mr. Widowiack feeding me blood sausage – raw! Making jeopardy games to be played in his class for extra credit.
    Mr Hagler giving me swats for kicking John Lemke because he cheated in a kick ball game. Hagler used his belt on me!
    Mr Johnson / Mr Jamison with their wooden paddles.
    Mrs. Hillerman eating her fried chicken , breaking the bones and sucking out the marrow all the while she was teaching you the finer points of chemistry!
    First Ave football team with Gabe Velasquez using my flags and barely beating Ave B. Score 1st Ave Raiders 6 Ave B (Falcons?)
    Never worrying about weirdos running around your town or crime.
    Playing wiffleball in Johnson’s yard with the Urquijos/Dan Williams/Donny Aldridge/Jay Osborn – playing nerf football with those same kids along with Brian Fritts.
    Building forts (what are forts dad?) in the desert.
    My brother Rick and Bill Lemke building “cross country” bike trail in the desert behind the 900 block of 6th ave. That was after they had built the “jump trail” closer into town.
    Playing basketball for hours on my dirt court behind my house thinking that the mine lights were Japan and that the Galiuros were in Europe (2nd grade mind think)
    The water hole by the middle tanks – watching tadpoles grow into frogs.
    Hangin out with Scott Barksdale and salivating over her sisters : )
    Cruising uptown – parking and cracking open a few cold ones hoping the cops wouldn’t bust you. Buying beer at Leo’s at age 16 – I’d walk into the store with a big chew of skoal and my hat pulled real low, to look older you know, and then buy 6 quarts of Schlit
    z Malt Liquor with one dollar bills and change!
    Man I could write stuff down for hours – I loved growing up in San Manuel and am proud to have copper running in my veins!

  297. Kevin Dugan

    Some of us from the class of ’75 are talking about having a reunion next summer, & were kicking around the idea of having an “SMHS All-Comers” reunion for all SMHS alumni! It will take some planning, & possibly a big place to hold it, like Reid Park. Nothing for sure now, just putting it out there for some feedback- any suggestions?

  298. Pat Fairchild Collins

    SMHS Class of 1969 plus special guests (Class of 1968) held our 40th reunion at Saddlebrooke last Saturday (June 27th, 2009). Organizers were Kelly Rowden, Pat Street, Connie Scanlon (okay so the women have married names too). Due to their wonderful efforts, there was a full house and we all had a ball trying to figure out who everyone was and renewing old friendships. Our own rock band from way back then performed and those old guys still have it going on (Tim Acton, Mike Shirley, Terry Folkers, Kelly Rowden). The night was an outstanding success! The only sad moment was when we paused to remember those of our class that are now gone: Carl Norby, Tod Anderson, Troy Derrick, Richard Torrez, Art Vasquez, Sharon Rothwell Mayes, Tim Mee, Crystal Deatherage Badia, Ronnie Ashcraft, Frank Renteria, Dick Wise, Richard Hinojos, Tim Buzan, Dwayne Palmer, Peggy Rickman, Willie Craig, Roger Aragon, Donna Kartchner, Robbie Walker, and Tessie Hernandez. Rest in peace old friends—we partied hard in your honor!

  299. Teresa Graham

    Someone on Facebook recommended this sight and I’m glad I came by. The memories all the comments have brought back has been so much fun. I was in the Class of 1973 and though I wasn’t born in San Manuel, going to high school and working for Magma Copper has made San Manuel a part of my history.

    I remember Walter Wdowiak and his crazy blood sausage he’d bring for lunch, Mr. Simminger, Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson, Mr. Turlo, Mrs. Hillman and many others. FHA and Bruce Hawk’s Spanish National Honor Society were my favorites.

    I was the first female to work down in the plant area of Magma; right after me came Suzi Kuntz and Bea Cuaron; those were fun days!

    I hope everyone keeps the comments coming and thanks for the memories!!

  300. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Kevin, a reunion for all classes would be awesome! Since many of us live in Tucson now Reid park would be the perfect place. Hope it can be done! Keep us posted.

  301. Genevieve Llamas

    When and of what did Tessie Hernandez die of? She use to be our babysitter when I was growing up. They lived across the alley from us.

    Genevieve Llamas

  302. Pat Fairchild Collins


    I don’t know anything about her death except she was listed on the memorial as having died April 23, 2007. Sorry I don’t have any other info on her. I know the ones in charge of the reunion verified all the deaths by newspaper articles, obituaries, or family contacts. I remember her from school, but I left the San Manuel area more than 35 years ago and didn’t stay in touch with very many classmates. That’s why the reunion was so interesting.

  303. Genevieve Llamas

    Thanks for the info. I don’t think that my mom knew about Tessie or she would have said something. I still go home to visit with my parents. I graduated 30 years ago from SMHS.
    Take care,
    Genevieve Llamas

  304. Tom Deatherage


    It has been a long time and would like to talk to you about the reunion. Sounds great. My parents live in Tucson and will give me a reason to visit. My e-mail address at work is “” or my home computer address is “” send me a e-mail and let me know how your life has been, it has been a long time.

  305. Tim Hampton


    Count me in for an all in reunion, Let me know if I can do anything to help. I live in Tucson and can do legwork.

    Genevieve, I did not know that Max and Jeff were related, or I’m getting old enough that I forgot. Selective memory can be a great thing sometimes.

  306. debbie

    You should post any reunion info on face book, there are quite a few sanmanuel alum on there, and more and more are adding everyday. It would be a quick easy way to keep everyone updated and involved.

  307. Joe P

    An all classes reunion sounds good. I agree–post it on Facebook.

  308. Kelly Rowden

    Arlene Jaramillo from the class of 65 is planning an all 60s reunion next year. I’ll bet she would make it an all-comers if contacted. They are planning a get together at Reid Park in early May 2010. My wife and I have volunteered to help if needed. The hard part is finding everyone.
    Arlene’s address is The best way to do it would be to have someone from each class to contact members of that class. Otherwise it is too big a project for one person. Believe me I know from our reunion. It was a lot of work but worth it. Will be glad to help anyone who wants to plan an all SMHS reunion. I have lots of experience now.
    Kelly Rowden, class of 1969

  309. This town fills me with such sadness. I worked the summer right after I graduated high school right underneith those stacks. I lived right up the road. I rode my bike all over that desert, and played for what seemed like an eternity in “the ditch” cut by the draining of the old pool. When I go back there now… which isn’t often, and usually only from tragedy…. it just fills me with sadness…. the deserts are fenced off; the stacks are gone; Avenue B is closing down; the town seems dead. My dad, Rick W. Seaney Jr was a mine manager for Magma; and when BHP came in – things forever changed for our family. My dad died in 1999, and although my family and I will never know for sure…. we all know that something of the darkness of it stems from the loss of his job with Magma, and his unfortunate re-hire with BHP where all it seemed that he was able to do was fire his long time childhood friends. It works a crazy magic on a person.

    Sad to see the stacks fall…..

  310. Kristie Haro

    As much as I miss the sight of those stacks when ever I go home to see mom, I miss what they represented, a hard days work that you were paid well to do. The idea that working smarter and not harder, is novel but untrue. Working hard every day provides you with the insight and experience that makes you work smarter and that is something that no training manual or video can teach.

    I grew us with men in my life that didn’t have alot of idle time and didn’t want it. Having a strong sence of purpose and the drive to see a job done well is not common place in all work enviorments now days. But in a minning town being a miner’s miner didn’t always meen that you were the most popular or likeable but it did mean that you had the respect of those around you.

    All of you miners that are no longer miners and find yourselves doing other things, know that that company you work for is lucky to have you because you are the salt of the earth and the backbone of what we once and should always hold dear.

    I hope that God blesses and keeps all of you and your families. And when you think back to that town in that time think about what it gave you, in who you are and how you choose to live because of it and not inspite of it.

  311. Pat Fairchild Collins

    Beautifully stated, Kristie! Miners were a breed apart from other men—they were strong, independent men who were not afraid of hard work and giving it their all. Children of miners can be spotted wherever they are in the workforce because they inherited those principles. Sadly, we are losing those principles today in our “give me something for nothing” world.

  312. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    It touched my heart to read the last three posts, God bless you all. My father Richard Fuentes got a late start in the mining business. He was about 37 when Magma hired him and 39 when he became a Brick Mason. He was older than the other guys but the company made an exception and took a chance on him. He was an awesome hardworking man. He taught us that hard work is its own reward whether you make a lot of money or not. The important thing is being productive and contributing to society. That is something that unfortunately seems to have been lost on our youth. He passed away at the young age of 49 in 1983. Lets pray for our country and our small towns but most of all for our parents who gave us so much.

  313. raquel


  314. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    I was a time keeper when your dad worked in the smelter. He was always so polite and friendly. That was real unique with there being so few female workers at Magma and most of the men were pigs! I will always remember his deep voice. I had no idea he died so young! I am so sorry…..
    Linda Garrick

  315. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Linda, thank you so much. It really means alot to me and my brothers & sisters to know that somebody remembers Dad and his deep voice. We still laugh at how he used to sing! He was a wonderful father and we still miss him so much.
    I remember when Diane Durazo started working at Magma and I was in awe of her and all you women working there! I was proud of you all and wished I had the guts to do it too but alas marriage and babies were calling :)

  316. vic corona

    where are all the mammoth people! hello to all, i get a kick out of this site, and almost check it daily thanks for all the great comments!vic

  317. Dave Guitard

    Dave Guitard
    What a great blog! Wish I would have saved my high school yearbook to help connect all the names I’ve read on this blog with the faces. I graduated from SMHS in 1971. I would have never thought in million years that San Manuel would end up as it is today. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my wife of 25 years and I have been back to Tucson and the tri-community for visits several times. Some of you may remember my older brother Rick who still lives in Oracle with his wife Lillie Guitard Casillias. Rick retired from ASARCO after thirty-some years. My dad, Lynn Guitard, retired from Magma back in the early seventies and passed away in 1991. My family moved to SM from Tucson in 1956 and we originally lived on 6th Ave. They divorced in about 1958 and we kids moved to Tucson and lived with my aunt. I attended 1st through 3rd grades in Tucson and moved back to San Manuel with my dad and attended 1st Ave Elementary. My dad never remarried. We lived on upper 4th Ave on the corner next door to the Goodwell’s. I had Mrs. Reynolds in the 4th and Pat Novalli in the 5th. We moved to Oracle after 5th grade and I went to Oracle Elementary for 6th, 7th and 8th. I remember Jane Ritchie, Stan Gentry, Calvin Burk and Mrs. Kuck. In 1967 my brother and I moved back to San Manuel and stayed with my mom who had remarried about 8 years earlier. My two younger sisters Mellissa and Yvonne stayed with my dad in Oracle. My mom (Marie) married Richard (Dick) Eddy. He worked over at the mine for several years and he passed away in 1973. We lived at 106 4th Ave. near the old community center, pool, and park. Rick and I attended SMHS, he graduated in 1970 and I in 1971.
    After high school I joined the Air Force for 4 years and became a jet engine/aircraft mechanic. Was stationed at Cannon AFB Clovis NM, went to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Viet Nam) for a year. Came back to the states after a year in SEA, and was stationed at Luke AFB, Glendale Az. Was honorably discharged in 1975 and went to work for Airesearch Mfg Co (now Honeywell) in Phoenix. I left Phoenix in 1982 and moved to Billings Montana where I was employed as an aircraft/engine mechanic. I met my wife Margaret in Billings and we were married in May of 1984. In 1986 I took a job with American Airlines and moved to Nashville. Margaret is an elementary teacher and finished her doctorate about a year ago.
    Well, I’ve probably bored you enough by now, but I would love to hear from anyone who has memories from my era. Does anyone remember Mike Dreyer? I think he graduated in ’72 and was most responsible for my interest in aviation. Mike was about 7 feet tall and was a total airplane nut. Instead of dating girls and partying in the desert with other kids we would build and fly model airplanes, the kind with small gas engines. I remember when we didn’t have money for fuel we would bum some from Mr. McClure (1st Ave Elem. teacher) who was into the hobby. Again, if anyone reading this has an email address for Mike Dreyer or how to contact him I really, really would appreciate it. Email:
    More to come

  318. Genevieve Llamas

    Do you have your 1st grade classroom group picture? Did Victoria have Mrs. Carpenter as well 1st grade teacher?
    Genevieve Llamas

  319. David Stiller

    Your information was interesting especially about he stacks being destroyed. I moved to San Manuel from two other places near by. One was a place not many people remember unless they lived there. A place called Tiger Hill trailer park, near what was called Tiger a mining town that became a ghost town. Then we moved to Mammonth then when San Mauel was built we moved into one of the new homes and I was about 5th and 6th grade my parents did pretty good since the housing was real cheap. Then my dad John Stiller he moved to Tucson. Then the family fell apart since I was a only child I got help from my grandparents in PA. I remeber a person name Royce and I can’t remember is last name. We had a lot of good times doing things together in San Manuael. This must have been around 1955 or 1956. Thank your allowing people to share their commens.

  320. Genevieve Llamas

    Gotta ask you if Victoria was in the same class as we were with Mrs. Carpenter?

    I have a group class picture from the 1st grade with I’m to give Velia it so she can make a copy of one. Do you have one?

  321. Robert Crumley

    I was underway on a deployment when I got word that the smoke stacks were going to be taken down. I really wanted to be there to see a small town icon fall but was unable to attend as I was out of the country when it happened. I moved away from San Manuel in 1998 when I joined the Coast Guard and every time I would go home to visit, I always kept an eye out for the smoke stacks. They were a sign that I was only a few miles from home. I have only visited home once since they fell and it was a hard pill to swallow not seeing the smoke stacks. I remember all the small things that make/made San Manuel unique. Magma Copper, Dicus Chevron, Mel’s Diner, just to name a few. San Manuel was a great place to grow up. Friendships were developed that will last forever.

  322. Jaime Herrera

    I wasn’t from SM but I worked there in the smelter in late 1979 for about three months. I was born in Tucson, when into the army, moved to Los Angeles. In search of work, I when to apply at Magma and got hired as a journeyman heavy equipment mechanic. I worked 16 hours days and always remebered the stacks putting out their smoke. On some days the sulfur smell got pretty bad. Most of the guys that worked in the shop were from SM, a couple of them graduated from the high school there, and they were allgreat guys. Friendly and helpful. I love small towns because everything is so much personal.Unfortunely, my wife was from a big city and didn’t want to raise our 3 kids in a small town, so sadly I had to quit and go back to Los Angeles. In 1988 I took my family back to SM to show my children were I worked, took them thru town and showed them some of the places I remembered going to, like the burger place, auto parts store, the market. Even then things had changed.My younger brother worked in the mine in the 80’s also. He was a “shoe tapper”. He always told me about the blasts and all the rocks he had to break. But he only stayed a year and moved on to another career. I will be going on vacation in early December of this year and I am going to visit SM, probably for the last time. I had a good time there and I always will remember my short career working in a mine.

  323. Robert Wright

    I came acroos this site around the time that it came out but have never really re-visited it until now….I’m glad I did and glad to see a lot of names on here that I haven’t seen in forever….Genevieve…..Jeff Martin and his family run a little store here in Safford where I currently live….Jim Young is currently my boss…Carol Reidhead (now McQueen) works in the Business Office here. Kevin Kelly works for EuroFresh out near Willcox…Richard Lopez and his younger brother Robert both live in the area as well…Scott Reed has family that lives around here as well…”Bear” Dominguez has family around here….there are a bunch of San Manuelites over this way….We all hated it when we found out about the stacks being destroyed…

  324. Paul Seale

    Years ago when I was a boy, my friends and I would do a really stupid thing at noon. We had to walk from Ave. B school to the highschool cafeteria for lunch. The grade school kids had lunch first then as we were let out to go back to school the highschool let out for lunch. Where the auditorium is at now was a parking lot for the highschool to park so we boys thought is was cool to walk out into the parking lot as the kids let out driving their cars really fast. It was a dirt lot so some of those guys could whip up real clouds of dust. God what a dangerous thing to do, but it was so much fun having the dirt get on us and the wind being generated as the cars drove past. did we get a lecture when we got back to class!!!!

  325. Genevieve Llamas

    So what year did you graduate? I also went to Ave B school. Where you had to cross the desert which is now the new houses to the high school cafeteria for lunch.
    Genevieve Llamas

  326. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Genevieve, its funny to see you refer to them as the “new” houses after so many years :) When we moved there in 1971 our house was one of those red brick homes on Ave B, right before the “water fall” (ditch) as we refered to it. We were a family of 7 and had lived in a little 5 room dilapidated house in Douglas in a very old neighborhood. When we saw this beautiful big brand new home we thought we were in heaven. We couldnt believe we were actually going to get to live in such a luxurious home! By todays standards they’re considered very modest now but back them they were it! My husband and I went back a few years ago. I hadnt really wanted to see it since my Dad died and Mom moved back to Douglas. The house isnt even recognizable anymore. It used to have grass and pine trees in front and townsite kept the waterfall so neat and clean…it was hard to take and I havent wanted to go back since then.

  327. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Paul, I attended Ave B school for 1 year too, 8th grade. It was the weirdest experience! I had been going to junior high in Douglas since 6th grade & it was just like high school…class changes, homeroom,PE uniforms & the dreaded showers…then I get to Ave B and its like going back to elementary! We had recess!! that was a hoot! But the nice thing was going home for lunch and living only a block from either school :)

  328. Genevieve Llamas

    I do remember which house you lived at & who your neighbor was. I graduated high school with Alma.
    Genevieve Llamas

  329. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    I giggled at your note about walking through the desert from Avenue B to the high school cafeteria ~ the thing I remember the most was having to climb down into the wash and back up in a dress, since we girls weren’t allowed to wear pants back then.

    Genevieve & Bettie,
    I still call them the “new houses,” too! (I was a classmate of Rosemary’s, Genevieve). In fact, the “new pool” and the “old pool” are also written on my heart as such, even though the old pool is filled in now.

    Ann (Thomas) Ross, SMHS Class of ’74

  330. vic corona

    Genevieve i don’t remember if vicky was in my class, i can’t wait to see the photo could you email it to where do you see vela ?

  331. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Genevieve, You must know Ginny too then. Alma is living in Tucson and doing well. I remember Rosemary too, she’s your sister I’m assuming?

  332. Genevieve Llamas


    Yes, I do remember you and your sister Jo Ellen. Your mom use to work at the Ave B library.


  333. Genevieve Llamas

    I see Velia everyday at work. We work at the same place. I really don’t remember Victoria being in our class, but yet again she could have. When Pepino has had his surgeries I have been to a couple of them. I ran into Victoria at the hospital when she went to visit him one time. I was surprise to see her after all those years.
    Velia will make a copy of the class picture and get it out to you & Victoria if she is in the picture.


  334. Pat Martin/Pascoe

    I had not been to San Manuel since the class reunion in 1985. This past weekend I went to visit Cyndi Clark in Florence and we took a drive to the tri-community. What a change! I couldn’t believe that there were houses on 20’clock hill. If the ground could talk. Taking the back road to San Manuel was not as fun as it was back in the 70’s. And to not see the Smoke Stacks as we approached made me feel lost. Seeing grass (weeds) growing on the taylings really brought the reality to life, the mine is gone. Driving thru town, reminded me of a science fiction movie, where all the people were swept up by aliens. I didn’t see 1person. Seeing all the store fronts boarded up, and the drug store gone, was almost traumatic. The thriving bustling town I remembered has disappeared. Continuing on down to Mammoth, things didn’t get much better. Ghost towns now, but the memories I have from 4th grade thru my senior year will never be erased. That really was a trip down memory lane, and I am grateful that I was there when it was alive.
    This is a great sight, thanks for giving me an opportunity to catch up with old friends.

    Kevin Dugan, I like the idea of the reunion, my email is

    Wanda Wasson, I would love to hear from you.

  335. Paul Seale

    I graduated in 1973, I watched those homes being built and they were beautiful. I had home health patients in San Manuel a number of years ago and I was sad to see so many changes. Ann, I just laughed the other day remembering some of the girls would buy over sized purses because they were in fashion in those days. They wanted to wear levi’s to school but their parents made them change into dresses. They would put their levi’s in their purses , get to school, get to the locker room and change into their levi’s for the day, and change back to go home later. Some girls wanted to wear miniskirts but they didn’t have matching pants to wear under the skirt, try walking in the breezways with you books, your purse and try holding on to a miniskirt all at the same time! Mr Litau made one girl pin up the attendance slip to the door for pick up each morning knowing she couldn’t do that and keep her skirt from riding up to high at the same time!

  336. Miner Baseball

    Im still a student at san manuel and a lot has changed but i believe one thing hasn’t, Thats Coach Payne! This year we Went undefeated at home and made it all the way to the State Championship Game. Although we lost to Pusch Ridge lions (christian school). I still believe we made a statement that, WE ARE STILL HERE! A couple years back kids at our school wanted to change our mascot, NoOne agreed how could you change MINERS its not right! We were founded by miners. Got one season left of baseball for me hopefully we can bring the big trophy home this year!

  337. Tammy Langer


    I am looking for anyone that was familiar with the Ollie Hagler family. Ollie was married to Judy and they had children named Amber, Karissa, Leanna, Guy and Bryan. I believe Leanna graduated from High School in 1977. ANY information about this family would be much appreciated. Thank you so much.

  338. Karen Weaver

    I stumbled across this by accident–such memories! We moved to town the day I finished first grade in Globe, and I graduated in 69. Kelly Rowden, thanks for planing such a great reunion. Every time I have to make sure all the high school kids are on the bus or have a ride home in the daylight I am grateful for having grown up in San Manuel. It’s my hometown–and I’m proud.

  339. I moved to San Manuel in 1971 with my wife and daughter. Our plans were to stay there for a year, maybe two, to save up enough funds to return to school at NAU. That year or two turned into almost 29 years.

    My last day of work was in April 2000. I remember wondering if BHP was actually going to “level” the place, put it in mothballs or sell the property. Time answered that question.

    I haven’t been back since. The next time I am in Arizona ( I have lived in Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada for nine years), plans are to visit, just to see what it is like to look across the river without those familiar stacks in the way.

  340. Sandy Burch Little

    Hi Laura,
    Still think of you and all the fun we had. I was so happy to hear from you. I did try to email you but it didn’t go through. I’ll try again. My email is:
    I live in the northwest of Tucson, I-10 & Cortaro. All of my kids live here in Tucson too. Karen & Danny live off of Cortaro too. Karen has cancer in her liver. We are all devastated by this, especially Danny.
    Please email me or call cell 520-358-5450

  341. Jerry Lawhon

    I can see two of my family members have “blogged” this site. I spent my childhood in Oracle and San Manuel and ended up graduating in Globe in 69. In 56 our family moved to San Manuel our dad being a raise miner working with the likes of the Stewarts,Ivys,Indian Jackson, Iversons,Parasot’s,Swinks,Hendersons, to mention just a few. The times spent at the “corrals” in San Manuel or the twin ponds up by the ymca camp on the road to peppersauce. Or the caves up past peppersauce, and all the familys that would gather for Sunday picknicks up there and catch the wild donkeys to ride. There are some memories that go way back and beyond—sneaking in to the drive in theater with Irvin Stewart running the projector and Johnny Stewart and I can’t remember but one of the sarretts {spelling} had a band and used to play a lot of parties–thought he was elvis–lol—any hoo—lost both parents to that town but was raised in an awesome invironment—went to church with mike deathrage,Arringtons–lived next door to the Mastersons in Oracle so hello Kevin and thelma. The hartmans–clyde and dave,,john soule–where can ya go and ride horses all over town? Tony Sanchez and his brothers Ismeal Duarte–Danny Parasot-eddie Kim (san manuel cafe) Don Swink, the hobby shop in the lower arcade that my sister nancy used to work at–can’t remember the owners but Jerry Beckwith rings a bell–I think her parents owned it. The nays on ave a. Joey starman–what a guy. Yes-I went to ave B and oracle grade and jr high. I knew many people from all three towns–many of which didn’t know me–but I affiliated certain times and places with each that crossed my path–and the path is one in which I will always cherish knowing that my family’s roots were imbedded cause some of them still live there—and some things–you just can’t change–San Manuel– will always be “SAN MANUEL” no matter where you are if you are from—there—the stacks being gone—aren’t gone—the memories–ahhhh–if only more people could have the memories we share from —San Manuel–mine were good–can you tell??? Any one ever go to reddington and ride the Kelleys’ mean shetlands? or to the gila and go floatin?? so many thoughts–so little space–God Bless and good luck to all. Jerry

  342. Joellen Thomas Brown

    I don’t know any “specifics” about Ollie’s family currently, other than he died in about 2003. If you search on his name, you’ll pull up various info on the internet in the genealogy sites. One site that may be of interest to not only you but the readers of Remembering SM is found at
    Notes About the Magma Copper Company Underground Mine by Jerry Ferrin

    You can link off of this site to Ollie’s obit and other info from his daughter Amber.

  343. Judy Thomas Hagler

    To Tammy Langer,
    We moved to Tucson in 1983. Ollie passed away July 25, 2003. Amber received a degree in vocal peformance and a Master’s Degree in education. She is teaching and is married to a wonderful young man. They have 2 boys. Karissa taught for 6 years, then did a career change. She is completing a Masters Degree in Business and works at Raytheon. Guy is in California, Brian lives in Tucson, Leanna passed away earlier this summer.

    I do not remember the name Tammy Langer. When did you live in San Manuel? It has been fun reading the posts and recognizing names of former students and friends.

  344. Tammy Langer

    Dear Judy,

    Thank you so much for emailing. I didn’t expect that I would actually get in contact with you. I was just looking around the internet for any information about Leanna and I would often come across the obituary for Ollie and somehow got linked to this website about San Manuel.

    You would not recognize my name. I am emailing from Minnesota. I am the sister to Randy Hanson, which you spoke to on the phone a few weeks ago.

    I emailed Leanna quite often. We had just exchanged gifts in March. She sent my daughter a dress that Leanna used to wear or play dress-up with. It is cream colored with peach colored ribbon and flowers.

    I just miss her so very, very much and thought that knowing more about her life and being able to talk to her family might make me feel better somehow.

    I would love to hear more from you or any of your children. Please email me at If you prefer, I can could email you my home phone or cell phone as well.

    I am so excited/shocked to see the email from you. If you are open to the idea, I would really love to visit with you. Thank you so much, Tammy Langer

  345. Dolores

    Hey Linda Aker, where are you? I bump into you once in a while in Tucson. I just wanted to share a story with you.
    I was at a Dr’s. appt the other day and struck up a conversation with an older couple. They said they had lived in San Manuel for about a yr. back in the early 60’s.
    They lived on Webb–next door to the Aker family. Meryl related that you had a huge black German Shepard. She said that one day her 5-6 yr. old son crossed the street to play with a friend. His 2 yr. old sister followed him ( the door had not been secured and she slipped out) well, your dog would not let her cross the street. Everytime she attempted to, the dog would push her down. This continued until her mama realized what was happening and retrieved her. She said that dog protected and saved her from possibly getting run over.

    I told them that I would relay this story to you and give you their names and ph. #.
    Gus and Meryl Chudalla(shoe dollar)

  346. Linda Garrick (Akers)

    We are in Oro Valley. Yep, Webb Drive was not a very safe place for the kids to play out front. It was International Speedway! We did have a big black dog named Blackie! We had him for years till he finally got really sick and my dad had to “put him down”. Hey, remember all of our neighborhood water fights? We used to have a blast. I remember all those good times…… Too bad all of our kids and grandkids won’t get to experience those innocent things. Now no one is allowed or wants to play outside. God how things change.

  347. Rod Schifferns

    Hi everyone, sure is a wonderful feeling to here from all of you. I had to leave San Manuel when the mine shut down and I moved to Red Lodge , Montana to work at the Stillwater mine. It is a platinum, palllaidium mine in the south centrel part of Montana. I guess I was seeking to stay at home in the mine but it’s not the same. I’m married to Terri Malone and we have 5 wonderful kids , only one of which still live at home,and he is a freashman so we are getting there. The Rocky Mountains have treated us well, but the feeling of running down 5th Place to the old swimming pool and having to throw down your towl to cool your feet. When with a dollar , you could go to Leo’s at lunch time and buy a pepsi,doritos, and a big buddy and felt rich. The smoke stakes was sometimes a guide home from the San Pedro river, when ditching school. Mel’s was the place, Heaven. Do any of you remember horny toads,love it. Remember the circles, oh yea. Please don’t ever let us forget Duke & Eddie. Does anyone remember the burnout comp. up town using the old Mel’s grease, hello Kempton. What about the late night cruzzin up town? Love to here from anyone who loved San Manuel. Please E-Mail me at

  348. Jaime Perea

    I just had a quick question. Does anyone know if the Aravaipa River still has water? I haven’t been there in years.

  349. Terri Powelson (Evans)


    I found this by accident today, so glad I did I lived in SM from 1974 to 1997 great place to grow up. I have seen several of my relatives on here Rhona K & Robert Crumley my father Wayne Evans worked in the mines until he retired & still lives in Oracle. My mom worked at the bank for many years back when it was Valley National. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here about the good times what about Halloween in SM man kids would be running from house to house with their pillow cases & getting the whole town ready for the BIG SM home football games. I miss SM the way it use to be I graduated in 1990 shout out Miners Class of 90! I haven’t visited it much since leaving in 1997 & missed the stacks being blown down. Mel’s greasy cheeseburger & “vanilla coke” sure does sound good right about now! I remember cruising the circle too anyone who was anyone would go up town then head to the desert parties & burn tires until the cops showed up ha! Great times my kids will never understand those small town good times ah the memories….

  350. Paul Seale

    When Bill and I would play outside we would come home covered in dirt. If we were lucky a water hose was was in the game, then we came home covered in dirt and mud . was that fun!!

  351. Valkyrie

    To Dave Guitard,

    I remember you from Mrs. Renyolds 4th grade class! I remember we had to practice hiding under the desk in case of a nuclear attack. I remember causing the whole class to start crying because I said hiding under the desk wouldn’t help because the electrical lights would fall out of the ceiling and electrocute everyone! Ah….4th grade.

    Wes Ellison

  352. Genevieve Llamas

    It’s funny how you got into this website. I check it all the time. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you this month. Called your Aunt, Carolyn’s mom and she give me your sister’s number to try to get a hold of you. I’m glad when I first called you, you didn’t hesitate on who I was. We went to school from 1st to our Senior year in high school.
    Keep in Touch

  353. Tom Malone

    Tom Malone
    Don’t know what I could say that hasn’t been said. Sounds like we wish we could recreate our old town. I left San Manuel about 90. I know live in Springerville, AZ. Life is good but, I still miss my desert home. It sure is great to hear so many names from the past. Not much of a blogger but I will watch this site. Anybody know where Don Simon might be?

  354. Dave Guitard

    To: Wes Ellision

    Hey Wes, was that you causing all that commotion and making the girls cry?……too funny! I wasn’t crying,…… I don’t think! Those were some crazy times.
    Do you remember when we made those candles in class? I can’t remember what the occasion was, might have been Mothers Day. Mrs. Reynolds brought in all the wax and stuff needed to make candles and showed us how to make them. My Mom still has the candles I made. Cool, huh?
    Remember Cathy Welch? Man, I had a huge crush on her, even went down to the drug store and bought her a special Valentines card. Didn’t do any good, she still didn’t want anything to do with me! Heartbroken at the ripe old age of 9, or however old we were in the 4th grade.
    Saw one of your earlier posts, and I still remember Kim Simmons and Steve Hernandez. A little foggy on Mike Ballenger. Was Donna Clark and Donna McClure in our class? Was thinking they were. Wonder what they’re up to?
    Well Wes, I gotta go. Will be looking for new posts.

  355. Michelle Molinar

    It is bittersweet that I happened upon “The Closet Entrepreneur” this morning. Who better to share my morning coffee with than those who truly know what a gift it was to grow up in San Manuel. My fondest memories are of growing up playing softball. So many of us played on the same teams with one another for years. It all began on 5th Avenue where my dad would take my brothers and I across the street and hit us baseballs. I was the one who shagged the balls my brothers missed. Imagine the surprise of everyone the day I accidentally caught a fly ball. Everyone was yelling for me to get out of the way, but I was oblivious. Lucky for me my glove just happened to be in the right place at the right time. From that day on I realized that it wasn’t that hard to catch a ball and was hooked. If we weren’t playing ball, then we were down the street swimming. Oh, the memory of that first attempt of diving off the high dive and belly flopping. In the evenings all of my cousins and neighborhood kids would join up with us to play kick the can until well after dark. Other nights we were out back making up plays using a white sheet hanging off the clothesline for a backdrop and the motion light hanging off the roof ledge as our spot light. There was very little time spent indoors watching TV or being bored. We walked everywhere. There was no one expecting to be transported here and there by their parents. I remember well Sundays at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church and meeting for doughnuts after Sunday mass. There were the CYO dances and that first walk home by a guy. I remember Ricky Urquijo singing and playing Time in a Bottle on his guitar in my front yard on 4th Avenue. Our smoke stacks may be gone, but it is clear to see that the spirit of San Manuel will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of so many of us. Thank you for a lovely morning down memory lane.

  356. Valkyrie


    I think Donna McClure was in our class. I had a big crush on Kim Semmons but never let anyone know. Buddy Huston was in our class as well as Judy Coxen (I think :-) Mike Ballard was a friend from Mammoth. He used to live behind us on 5th avenue when we were living on 4th avenue. I think Charlie Blank was also in our class. I can’t say I remember Donna Clark as I can’t quite place her. I think Tonya Crawford was also in our class. Seems like a hundred years ago :-( But I still miss going out in the desert and the smell just after a summer thunderstorm. Nothing like it.

  357. Jason Cole

    I have nothing but great memories of SM. I was born there, lived all my life. I spent most of my younger days following my bros around and all the neighborhood kids around, like Scott B, Bobby, Luis & Ani Bayardo. We did have a great baseball field in the alley.
    I live in Tucson now (Marana) and oh how times have changed…You didn’t have to worry about being out late or locking your doors, if you were next door or down the road our parents didn’t worry and things were okay.
    I remember always having at least 1 game rained out during All-Stars becuase of monsoons. I remember the great times during the 4th of July at the swimming pool – then across the street to the high school field for fire-works.
    I remember walking home from the pool just about everyday and stopping in at Mel’s for ice cream and frys, then to ball field for a game.
    I remember all the great friends from there; Mike, Trav, Matt, Ethan, Fonz, Quinn, Frank, John B, OJ, just to name a few, we had pretty good baseball team back then…Coach I think we had 60-70 of those wins, Congrats, well deserved!
    It is sad now, I have no family there, my mom passed a couple years back, my grandparents Carl and Rose Norby passed also, so no family – just friends.
    I try to get down there every chance – I miss dinner at La Casita once a week, pizza from San Pedro, and Mel’s. Cruzing downtown, going to FM to get away from the cops (never worked) or just hanging out a friends house.
    We have tried to get as many people together for a bbq during the last home baseball game of the year. Pass on the info and all is invited!!!
    San Manuel will always be part of me and something that I am proud of.

  358. andrew

    i will always love where im from and i have the heart of a san manuel miner. it was depressing when those stacks went down everybody was behind faststop and people were crying. once those stacks came down people stopped and cryed.we hope this small town will always have memory of the SM stacks.

  359. Kathy Jones Shaw

    We moved to Oracle in 1955. I was 5 years old.

    I went to Oracle Elementary until I graduated 8th grade, then to San Manuel High. I graduated there in 1968. I got my teaching degree from the U of AZ in 1972.

    Easter, 1969 my dad, Dean Jones, took me underground. I was the second woman do go under. A woman geologist had just been the first. I learned to be swamper that day. It was great.

    I don’t remember the names of the other men down there at the time, during fire watch, but Bob Boone was there.

    When we went to go down the cage there was no one there to give us our hard hats. Dad just grabbed two. When we got down to the working level our lights started to flicker. Dad said we had to turn around and get other hats. Evidently the hats hadn’t been charged.

    Even though our lights went completely out I wasn’t scared because I was with Dad. He told me to never tell because the guys would never let him live down the fact that he’d taken the wrong hats.

    I remember thinking that it didn’t seem like being underground. It just seemed so big.

    This is one great memory I’m glad I had a chance to live.

    Mom died in Oracle, many years ago, of cancer. Dad died a few years ago in Tucson.

    I now live in Virginia. It’s been a long time since I visited Arizona, but I miss it. I had a great childhood that not many can claim.

  360. John

    Long shot but I’m looking for an old friend of mine from SM, her name is Helen (we met at Desert Hills). Anyway if you get this or know her say hello!

  361. Linda Akers Garrick

    Kathy, I also got to take a trip underground in 1977 and guess who our tourguide was? Your dad!!! He was an awesome guy and what a sense of humour!!! Actually, it was a really special tour because he took me right down to where my dad was working. I will remember that forever. It really gave me a vivid picture to connect all those stories that my dad would share at our dinner table every evening at 4:30 when the familiar Magma horn would sound. It really makes me sad to think that all of that is just erased, like it never happened. It was such an important part of our lives and one foreign company moves in and………. poof sold for scrap. Anyway, your dad was a great guy!

  362. Genevieve Llamas

    The only Helen I know was/is Helen McIver. She graduated in ’74.

  363. So yes,

    It was interesting to read all of your memories of San Manuel. It amazes me that so many people were positively affected by such a small, ordinary, out of the way town. What I mean to say is you actually had to drive to San Manuel to get there. It wasn’t really “on the way” to anywhere but there.

    I grew up in San Manuel from 1975-ish through 1987. Met a lot of really great teachers and wonderful students. Mrs. Hicks (like I am sure many kids from my time) made a huge impact in my young life. I remember her giving me such profound, powerful advice. She was a teacher who treated me (at age 14) like a mature mind. Other teachers: Ron Rickle, Ms. Pichos, Mr. Roybal (I remember making the first ever interception by a lineman in a game against Sahuarita – or some school, only to be lapsed by Kabokie the following year), and Mrs. Getter who thought I should be in “special education”. Hmm…perhaps I don’t miss her so much. :-)

    And the kids I grew up with: Manny and Rudy Cedre (Manny got hit by a bat during a pinata episode – Rudy ran at full bore one night down 3rd ave and hit a parked truck with pipes hanging out the back – ouch!) Lost two front teeth. Tom Jordan, Robert Hall, Andrea Brunson, Jamie Ostrader, Danny Pacheco, Jimmy Lambert, Patrick Brewer and Dee Dee, Tiffany Roybal (world’s best life guard- reasons not to be mentioned-except for Robert Hall who actually saved someone life…or so the story goes), Sonny Hardy, Jeff and Scott Cole (my fellow life guards – playing cards and drinking pop every night after the pool closed), Eddie Herrera (don’t know why I remember him so much), Wade Raspberry, Greg Waldmier (I think his dad was the wood working teacher), Ronnie Bulter and how he burnt his arm during some class that used torches.

    I even remember the strange “pot” bust that went on my sophomore year and my favorite gal pal in the desk next to me was taken away by officers.

    Dawn Parker and how we went to winter ball…and my dad followed us in his truck…nice, Dad. I remember Mr. Morris, the smoking Community Schools guy. Dan Reynolds. Lunches where you could go to Fast Stop and buy nachos and a huge slurpee for like $1. Healthy lunches! Boy – now there are too many to mention…and too much potential for confusion. So I’ll stop.

    Of course, I wonder if my “fond’ memories of San Manuel aren’t just ghosts of times past. I mean, I am sure I didn’t really enjoy growing up there as much as I remember growing up there…but even obfuscated memories are nostalgic.

    Maybe…just maybe there is a book somewhere in here. It could be about the little town, out of the way, but completely and entirely in our sights…even to this day.

    Cool site. Keep up the great work. If you even wanna get in touch, you can reach me at Thanks for reading.


  364. Joellen Thomas Brown

    Been some tough times in the Simminger family. Here is the obit for Mrs. Simminger, also known as Rita. Included the link in case you want to sign the guest book.

    SIMMINGER, Margaretha, passed away peacefully on September 17, 2009 after a brief illness at the Tucson Heart Hospital. She was 79 years old. She was born June 14, 1930 in Ebelsberg, Austria. She was the oldest of six siblings and the daughter of Margaretha and Georg Mayr. She arrived in the United States in 1951. In 1955 while employed by the Department of Military Justice she met her husband to be Jean Pierre Simminger who was stationed in the Army at Ft. Huachuca. On May 26, 1956 Rita and Jean were married in Lordsburg, New Mexico. Rita and Jean moved to San Manuel in 1959 where they raised three sons, Frederick, Jeffrey and Gregory. In 1972 she became an administrative secretary for the Mammoth San Manuel School District, a post she held until she retired in 2002. Rita was an accomplished bridge player and teacher. She also played piano for many weddings and high school graduations in the tri-community area. She was a loving mother and enjoyed being Oma to her four grandchildren. She was a kind and considerate friend to the many who knew her. She is survived by her three sons; brothers, Ernst Mayr and Alfred Helm; sisters, Ulricke Helm and Elizabet Reisinger. Rita will be missed by many who loved her and will be fondly remembered as a kind and gentle lady. A celebration of Rita\’s life will be held Friday, October 2, 2009 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Oracle Community Center. In lieu of flowers a donation can be made in Rita\’s name to the Oracle Public Library, P.O. Box 960, Oracle, Arizona 85623.

  365. Paul Seale

    I remember Mrs. Simminger well, she was a very kind person. I always enjoyed listening to Mr. and Mrs. Simminger play the piano, they had real talent. I know my family would want to extend our sympathies to their sons and other family. They will be missed.
    Paul Seale

  366. Kevin Clark

    I’m not originally from San Manuel, but spent some great years there raising my children and working in the Powerhouse. I stumbled on this site when I was showing my youngest son about some of his first memories. I moved there shortly after getting out of the Navy in 1994, I bombed my interview but Joey Hogan and Dave McClure liked me because I was a (wannabe) hunter and next thing I knew I was moving my family to San Manuel in 1995 after I lived for a couple of months in the bunkhouse…what an experience! We lived on Avenue B and loved raising our children there…Mindy LeGrand baby sat for us and she was incredible. I ended my time at Magma/BHP working in Maintenance Planning. Some of the finest people I’ve ever worked with. Does anyone know how Jack Marquez or Jerry Hamm are doing? I haven’t made it back since a 2006 hunting trip, but remember San Manuel fondly. I now work for AAA in Phoenix, and the pastor from the Seventh Day Adventist Church next door was a Roybal from San Manuel. Thank you for the great memories.

    Kevin Clark

  367. Tom Lunday

    I started work in the San Manuel Smelter in 1969 and served as a time keeper and as a power house operator. I have a son, Michael who was born in San Manuel.

    I also have many wonderful memories of the folks who made this place work.

    Seeing the video of the stacks going down was a heart breaker.

    Best to all, Tom (1969 – 1976)

  368. Kevin! It was nice to read that you are doing well. I have’nt been back to San Manuel since June of 2000 and have lost touch with everyone that I worked with. Joey is probably up in the hills looking for that elusive 5 pointer and Dave was last seen bent under the hood of his jeep trying to get it started.

  369. Robert Cline

    I grew up in San Manuel.I had so many great memories of this small town.My dad and mom moved out here in 1966 when I was just 5 days old.My dad worked at the smelter for 33 years when he got that call that they had shut it down.He was on vacation in Arkansas when he got that news.I am so proud of my parents for moving us out here.I would not be the person I am today if not for that move from Arkansas.I can remember when we lived on 213 McNabb when I was a little boy,looking out my back window at the stacks at night when the slagg would light up Magma and tell myself that my daddy was over there at work.Later on thru the years and strikes we moved to 1024 2nd Ave.That is where the memories started to flow.The Windhams and Robles’ were our neighbors.Every Christmas they would bring us tomales.I grew up with their kids.We would ride our bikes in the alley.We would play hide and seek at night.Those stacks were a symbol in our lives growing up and I will always remember what they meant for our family.It meant that we had a great place to live and friends that we grew with thru out the years.I never thought I would be back out here again but I got layed off 2 and a half years ago and knew that the only place that I wanted to be was San Manuel.So now I have a good job and the only thing missing is those beautifut smoke stacks.If I had to do it all over again I wouldnt change a thing.I love my town.

  370. Melissa Chapam(Ogden)

    I didn’t live in San Manuel long from 83-84 but I still have many fond memories of the town. I went to Gardner Middle Scool for most of the 8th grade left a few weeks before garduation as they had re-assiged my Dad who worked for APS. I rememebr everyone was so warm and welcoming and I made many friends. Walking to and from school and going to get pizza at the pizza place,watching Friday Night videos. I always knew we were close when we saw the smokestacks and it saddens me that all I remember is now gone. If anyone remembers me Missy Ogden please do email me at I’ve never forgotten my friends or San Manuel.

  371. Jo Lynn McNeil

    I grew up in Casa Grande, but I attended CAC in 1969, the year it opened. I met Michael Shirley and Tim Mee. CAC just had its 40th reunion, so I drove up there. Many people asked me about Tim…he had been my boyfriend that first year. I went to San Manuel with him several times. I remember dancing around a bon fire out in the desert…just like we’d do in CG. I thought I’d see if I could find Tim. Wow, too late. I am so shocked to see he passed away. If anyone knows what happened please let me know. I haven’t seen him in nearly 40 years, but he and his family were such nice people. It is so strange to realize that he is gone. I wanted to get in touch. I hope he had a happy life, it sure seems like it was too short. I was happy to read Michael Shirley’s name. I didn’t know him well, but I’m glad to see he still plays music. If anyone else went to CAC, send me a hello. Regards, Jo Lynn McNeil

  372. Kathy Shaw

    Bobby Kent, are you related to Joyce and Sue? I went to Oracle Elem. with Joyce and high school with both of them. I, too, had Mr. Wdowiak. I taught fourth grade, in Oracle, with is wife.

    I didn’t know he was still teaching in ’85.

  373. Joellen Thomas Brown

    Obit – Joseph Jay Ervin

    January 24, 1967 – November 5, 2009

    Joseph Jay Ervin, 42, passed away Nov. 5, 2009.
    Born in Kenmore, New York, on Jan. 24, 1967, Mr. Ervin moved to San Manuel in 1975. He loved all sports and played high school football, baseball, basketball and track for San Manuel. He won the state championship in track for the high hurdles in his junior year.

    He had a great love for his family and friends. He had a grin that could always tell you it was all right. He was happy to have reconnected with so many of his Tri-Community friends recently through Facebook.

    Jay was preceded in death by his father, Robert Ervin, and his sister, Pamela Alexander.

    He is survived by his wife, stepdaughters, mother, brothers, sister, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and his buddy and pal, poodle Scully, who was by his side as he went to heaven.

    Services will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. at the Christ the King Episcopal Church, 2800 West Ina Road, Tucson. Wear your favorite sport team jersey or T-shirt in honor of Jay and his love of all sports.
    Jay will be truly missed by all who knew him.

    Published in San Manuel Miner 11/11/09 – survivors names edited for privacy.

  374. Joellen Thomas Brown

    Obit – Sandra Carbajal

    September 19, 1961 – November 9, 2009

    Sandra Carbajal, 48, passed away Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, in Oro Valley.
    She was born in San Manuel on Sept. 19, 1961. She will be remembered for her friendship with people and her passion for life.
    She leaves behind her children, six grandchildren; parents, her companion, brothers, sisters, and many nieces and nephews.

    Services for Ms. Carbajal were held Friday, Nov. 13, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church with Father Walter Balduck celebrating the Mass of Christian Burial. Interment followed at Valley View Cemetery in Mammoth.

    Sandra will always be loved and she will continue to live in the memories of those who loved her.

    Published in the San Manuel Miner – 11/18/09 – Survivors names edited for privacy.

  375. Kevin Dugan

    I had Mr. Kelly as my 4th grade teacher at Ave. B, & was trying to remember all of the lyrics to the song he wrote, called ‘San Manuel’, which told of his love for all the things he had experienced while living there.
    I remember the chorus was “I’m tellin’ you- I really do- miss ol’ San Manuel…”, and one verse began “Well I made a lot of money- in the copper mine…” recalling his summer job as a ‘chute-tapper’, which paid better than teaching.
    If any of you had the foresight to write down the lyrics to ‘San Manuel’, could you please forward them to me, either through this blog, or at – I would really like to learn the song, as I do remember the melody, & think it would be a nice tribute for our upcoming reunion.
    Thank you,
    Kevin Dugan- class of ’75

  376. Kathy Jones Shaw

    Glad to know you enjoyed your trip underground.

    I miss Oracle, not the now, but the then. I had a great childhood there and a great adulthood.

    We lived a few months in San Manuel in 1955. Then moved to Oracle, where I lived until 1985. I got my teaching degree from the U of A in Feb. 1972. I then worked for Oracle Elem. until 1985.

    Today, during parent/teacher conferences, I shared one of my favorite memories with a new teacher.

    When Dec. 1 hit any child, K-8, that wished to would meet in my 4th grade classroom for caroling practice. Then one Christmas Eve, or the closest we could manage, they’d meet at my house at 96 El Paseo. From there we’d tour the neighborhood singing our carols. Jack Harmon always gave us rice crispy treats.

    When we finished we go back to my house for hot chocolate and ginger bread cookies. Those were wonderful times.

    Kathy Jones Shaw

  377. Laura Nameth

    I saw the obituary for Jay Ervin. I didn’t know him well , but I did know his brothers and sisters. Particularly, Pam. I was so surprised to see she had passed. Does any one know what happened with her?
    Joellen, do you (or anyone) know if any of the Ervin family still resides in San Manuel? I wouldn’t mind getting in touch with Bob, if anyone knows how to please let me know , or if anyone is in contact with him, let him know that I am inquiring about him and would like to hear from him if he is so inclined.

  378. Joellen Thomas Brown

    I have included the link to the SM Miner. If you search there on Ervin, you can pull up both Jays obit as well as Pams. There is hometown info on Jays that may help.
    Copper Basin News

  379. Genevieve Llamas

    None of the Ervin’s live in San Manuel that I know. Roberta Ervin is married to Tony Madrid.

  380. Suzi

    I live in Oracle, for the past 16 years, and have enjoyed reading all of everyones memories. San Manuel reminds me of Alan Jackson’s song “Small Town”. I saw a few of you, that no longer live in the area, mention Elsie ‘the nurse’ and thought you might be surprised to know she is alive and well here in Oracle. Last August she turned 89 yrs, she is still very active in her elec wheel chair up and down American Ave. Please dont misunderstand, she gets around very well without it, she just cant drive any longer! She laughed when I told her about this sight and said to say hi to all. And, BTW, she never meant to be the mean nurse, lol.

  381. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Suzi, its wonderful to hear that Elsie is still around! God bless her! I had 2 of my babies at SM Hosp : Noel and Marisa Velasquez :) 1974 & 76. It was a great little hospital. I was young and dumb and they were so good to me.Elsie was strict with us at our “weigh-ins” but she had a heart of gold. It was funny all those pregnant ladies lined up. It was so long ago, who was the nurse with the strong swedish accent (one and the same?) Another awesome nurse was Joan Grimes, beautiful lady, may she rest in peace.

  382. Bob Stanberry

    Does anyone know the whereabouts of Bob Acton?

  383. Tom Lunday


    Hey Big Friend that I haven’t seen is far too long.

    Send me a note at:

    I would love to hear from you,

    Tom Lunday

  384. Shona Naccarati

    Hi, all. I’ve noticed in a couple of postings that you’re asking about Jerry Hamm (Ham?) I am Jerry Ham’s niece and live in Tucson. Jerry and Kaye still live in San Manuel and are doing great. The go to Alaska for a few weeks every year in the RV.

  385. Genevieve L

    Happy Holidays to everyone!
    May God Bless you and your family!

  386. Barbara Beneitone

    Jo Lynn McNeill, I am a good friend of Tim Mee’s older brother, Bill. He was devastated by Tim’s death. You can email him at: The Mee’s were an example of the many nice people who lived in San Manuel. We were all so lucky to have each other…thanks for the memories everyone!

  387. sloan

    Super blog, would love to hear from more of the people from class of ’65. Loosing the stacks was heartbreaking and almost unforgiveable. Historic landmarks abound with less history to them. Why BHP, or environmentalists, could not come up with a compromise to keep them is mind boggeling. But then what do I know. It made the town seem less valuable, and I always have it in my heart as “pricless”. I am back living in Oracle and loving the fact that there are still a few “SMALL” towns that make life a little bit easier and you know you are safe and amongst friends. There is a reunion planned for the end of April 2010 for the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. For more information check out for SMHS. Let’s all try to re-aquaint one last time and let it all hang out San Manuel style.

  388. class of ’65 round-up. Upcoming reunion April 23, 2010 in Tucson. Go to for SMHS for all the current information. Let’s bring it back for one last time and do it SMHS style. Love the blog and just the thought of the stacks being gone is way too much to ponder. Was here for that and hated every last second of it. The trailer park at the edge of SM is gone. Nothing but a large empty lot and an empty heart to match. Why BHP, or the enviromentalists, could not come to a compromise is another battle lost without a cause. I am now back in Oracle and loving it. Lived in Cal. for too many years and now can enjoy retirement and life. Would love to see a majority of the class of ’65 make this reunion. This would be the time for everyone to make an effort to re-unite and share our life stories.

  389. kenneth (kc) yuen

    just wanted to say its very cool to see san manuel again i was born there and went to high school there but lived in oracle with my family the ellis’s. sad to see the stacks go they where a great reminder of my childhood. oh and mels diner…….. i miss you!!!!!

  390. Barbara Beneitone

    I came across this blog written by Damon Cline about a visit to his hometown. I posted it on Facebook and thought it belonged here. This is what I said about Damon. It is worth repeating and more importantly worth reposting his blog. Get your tissues!

    The intimacy the writer shares as he reflects on his memories of San Manuel is compelling. Damon Cline is business editor of a newspaper/blog called Scuttlebiz in Augusta, Georgia.

    Read Damon Cline’s account of his trip back home below:

  391. Chad

    Wow…I came arcoss this while doing some research and this brought some memories back. I have been trying to find two familie’s that saved my life. If any body can help in me reconnect with Chavez and Sanchez familes. I know there are quite few people with the last names as such, but if you give them a Date of Dec 14th, 1985. Those that know what happened on that date are the familie’s I would like to get in touch with…. Thanks!


  392. Mary


    Do you remember any of the family member’s first names, or what street they lived on?


  393. Chad


    Off the top of my head no, but I did go to school with one name Mike Chavez from Mammoth who’s family was there that day; Class of 1992. I’ll have to make some phone calls. But it has been nearly 20 years since I moved away from San Manuel for the Pacific Northwest and none of my family members live around that area. I believe one of the men who saved my life had has a daughter name either Jennifer or Valerie Sanchez; Class of 1995 or ’96

    Thanks Mary for the Help.

  394. Joellen Thomas Brown

    Wanted to share some info from the January 13, 2010 Miner. A full page ad was taken out, which included all the names of the SMHS wrestlers from it’s beginning.

    San Manuel High School Miner Wrestling 40th Anniversary 1969 – 1970 to 2009 – 2010 “A Tradition of Excellence”

    San Manuel High School’s wrestling program began in 1968 – 1969 as a junior varsity team under the guidance of Head Coach James Cooper, and assisted by Gary “Woody” Currie. One year later (1969 – 1970, the inaugural varsity team took the mat for the first time. That first team placed 8th at the state tournament and five Miner wrestlers came home with individual state medals. The 1970 – 1971 team won the first region championship and were runner-up champions in the state tournament. Those first three years of wrestling at San Manuel, set a standard of excellence that continues today. As of today’s date, San Manuel has won twelve region titles, two state runners-up and two state championships in the sport of wrestling.
    The San Manuel Miner wrestling program will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at the San Manuel High School gym. San Manuel will be hosting a multi-meet on that date with wrestling beginning at 10:00 am. The 40th anniversary ceremony will take place immediately after the meet with a luncheon to follow at the San Manuel Country Club.
    If you wrestled, were a manager, a matmaid, or coach during the last 40 years of Miner wrestling….. Please RSVP if you or a family member plan to attend the 40th Anniversary Celebration.

    Coach Manny Yubeta –

  395. So, I just posted a trip down memory lane (lots of photos) of a recent trip to San Manuel. You can see it on FaceBook here:

    It was strange, and nostalgic going home. They say you can’t go home again. But they are wrong. You can…it’ll just be a little smaller, a lot quieter and somewhat sad/fun…

  396. john myiers

    Has anyone heard or know how Paul Taylor is doing or anything about him..? I lost contact w/him around the time he and Hortensia got married in 79. He was a really good hunter and the best long range marksman I have ever seen. Is he still married etc.

  397. Nancy Hough

    Thomas….I hope you don’t mind me putting this here….but since you are from San Manuel too…..didn’t think you would mind….everyoe is welcome whether they graduated or not….but YOU MUST RSVP to (Arlene Jarmillo). You can also visit the site to RSVP…….Arlene will give more information if you need it.

    What’s Happening?
    The San Manuel High School
    Class of 1965
    welcomes you to join us
    at our 2010 All-Class Reunion
    This has been sent to you as an FYI and to let you mark your calendar so you can plan ahead to join us.

    The following notice went out this weekend on I realize not everyone belongs to that particular website, so I’m sending this out, in batches, to give everyone a Heads Up! I am not cross checking with the Classmates list of participants…. So if you already got this on Classmates….. Just know I was thinking of ya twice! HA!

    This notice is being sent to get feedback as to how much interest there is for our 2010 Class Reunion. As of today, not including the members of our Reunion Committee, we have approximately 30 people, from, who said “Yes’ I would like to join the merriment of the 2010 All-Class Reunion!” If you belong to, go to “Upcoming Events” to see the list of those who have responded.

    You may also want to join me on We’re trying to build a network of contacts there also!

    Just so you know…. Our capacity at the Saturday Night Dinner/Dance will be approximately 200 people. In the past, we have had as little as 85 people and as many as 500 people. If you’re planning to join us, don’t put the Final Registration Form [going out in January] in your “Take Care of Later” stack!

    In an effort to keep this reunion as economical as possible, we are trying to reach as many people online to save postage! Please help us get the word out!

    Want to see someone in particular?
    Let them know so they can join us too!
    We welcome your help and participation!

    Please forward to anyone you think may be interested in joining us {and copy me} so I can update my database. I have been in touch with many of you, but if you have not sent me your current information, please do so at this time.

    Your Reunion Committee!

    I need the following information:
    Class of?
    SMHS Graduate/Attendee? What year?
    City, State, Zip?
    E-mail Address
    OK to publish?

    Do you know of someone who has passed? Any details?

    Please note!
    This information WILL be published in our Reunion Directory…. If you would prefer to keep information confidential…… PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!!

    Who are we looking for?
    Graduates of……
    ~ OR ~
    People who may not have graduated
    but attended SMHS with any of the following Classes:
    Class of 1956 Class of 1957
    Class of 1958 Class of 1959
    Class of 1960 Class of 1961
    Class of 1962 Class of 1963
    Class of 1964 Class of 1965
    Class of 1966 Class of 1967
    Class of 1968 Class of 1969
    Class of 1970

    When?Friday, April 23rd, 2010
    6:00pm Poolside Reception
    See below for hotel information

    Saturday, April 24th, 2009 11:00am Picnic at local Park – Will be an informal gathering….
    To 1:30pm
    Bring your own:
    Food – Lots of fast food restaurants within a 5 mile radius
    Beverage(s) of Choice
    I have purchased a Beer Permit
    NO Hard liquor is allowed on park grounds
    Lawn Chair or Blanket to sit on
    Make sure your name is on ALL your property

    06:00pm No Host Happy Hour at Hotel
    Hilton Garden Inn
    6575 S. Country Club Road
    Tucson, AZ. 85706 USA Dressy Casual Attire – NO overalls allowed! HA!
    07:00pm Buffet Dinner with a Dance following

    End Time: TBD

    Details are being finalized – I want to make sure I have everything in writing before I quote you a Per Person cost for the weekend.

    The hotel has also given us a special room rate, but again, I must have it in writing before it is published.

    Registration Form will be sent the first week of January, 2010 to all who have responded to this notice.

    Please Note….
    Some have expressed a desire to have their name dropped from our list…. If I have reached you by mistake, please accept my apologies and let me know so I can make sure I didn’t forget to delete your name from our 1,350 + SMHS database.

    RSVP to Arlene at at your earliest convenience!!!!!

  398. Daniel

    Hi bettie fuentes, I just want to know are you the sister of Richard. I graduated back in 1975. If so I’ve been trying to get in touch with some of my fello classmates. please let me know if you have a contact of your brother.

  399. Reno

    I can’t remember what year it was, I was thinking 1982 or so we were doing some drilling east of Mammoth and we had our trailers parked in a camp ground just past the smoke stacks. One day we came home from work and there was a couple of green peace people with gas masked had climbed one of the stacks. We all thought it was so funny because no one cared and they thought they were really doing something. We were drilling for copper, we had started in Nogales and then moved up to San Manuel. My ex son in law is in the Marine Corp and his father was a copper miner. His name is Richard Lemos and he grew up in Oracle. I better close for now. Both San Manuel and Mammoth were nice towns.

  400. Nancy Hough

    Details are final now for the reunion….be sure to email Arlene at the addy above!

  401. M DANIELS

    Does anyone know
    Jerr Lawhon he has a son named Jerry I have a brother who is trying to get in touch with him

  402. Hello everyone,

    I just wanted to let you all know about an email I received from one of the individuals who works at the San Manuel Miner. Here’s the info they wanted me to share:

    “There is going to be a “Copper Town Days” celebration of life in San Manuel.

    They are asking everyone that ever worked at the mines, went to school or lived in San Manuel to return and reminisce and enjoy a fun day of music, food, arts and craft vendors, etc.

    The University of Arizona will be there recording oral histories of the miners and mining families.

    It is set for Saturday April 17th and will be an all day event. They are also looking for vendors for food, non-profits information booths, and arts and crafts booths. Musicians are also needed to perform throughout the day.”

    According to a follow up email, more information about the event will be added to the following website –

  403. Arlene Jaramillo Laguna

    To M. Daniels…
    Contact me, I can help you find J. Lawhon…

  404. Jerry Lawhon

    To Thomas–this is jerry lawhon—I talked to Jeremy this morning. He is in Auroa Colo. I don’t know who you are-but I will get word to Jeremy for you or your brother. let me know who you are so I can tell him who is trying to get ahold of him…

  405. Jerry Lawhon

    whoops I meant daniels–my apologies.

  406. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    Hi Daniel, I’ve been out of my office & hadnt looked at my email so i didnt see your post! Anyway my brother Richard is doing well and living in Phoenix, north of Union Hills area. He loves hearing from old friends, what is your last name so I can let him know.

  407. Elaine (Vicars) Schoeffel

    My name is Elaine and I was born in San Manuel in 1957. My dad worked in the mine. I lived at 112 Webb Drive with my dad, mom, and three brothers (Alan,Rick,Greg) I only lived there until 3rd grade but I will always say that this is home. My family is now spread out into different states. I am married with 5 children and 6 grandchildren. I live in Wisconsin.

    I remember so many things from San Manuel like some days the smoke would come down and it was hard for me to breath. I also remember my mom working at Schall’s variety store & getting cherry cokes at the drug store. I also remember that everyone in my neighborhood seemed like family as we sent a lot of time with each other.

    Someday I hope to go back & see how the town has changed and see if there is still people there that I knew

  408. For those of you looking for more information on the upcoming Copper Town Celebration in San Manuel on April 17th, here are some additional details:

    Vendor Contact Info – (520)385-3028 or email BCHAVEZ[at]
    Musician Info – email Mark at mandg401[at]

    Also, they ask that you please register and put down your contact information when you arrive as they are trying to form an alumni club. This will be good for people looking to keep in contact or set up reunions.

    Feel free to contact jddez[at] if you have any additional questions.

  409. Bettie Fuentes Islas

    I was wondering if anyone knows the where abouts of Mary Ann Jaramillo? She left to New Mexico during freshman year around 1972. I think she married someone with the last name Brown. Would love to hear from her. We were good friends and it would be great to find her.

  410. James Tate

    Mr. Ruschmeyer,
    Sitting on the porch, with drink in hand, do you ever recall the days when you had the power of the hoist in hand, my life in the cage at your command, and the responsibilities of your position that your life demands? Take care old friend and God Bless.

  411. Nancy Cardell-H0ugh

    I couldn’t find anywhere here at the site to change an email, so will do it this way!
    Those of you who didn’t attned the reunion sure missed a good time. Arlene and her crew did a wonderful job….AGAIN!!!!
    I enjoy reading all of these posts! Thanks Tomas for making this possible!!!!
    new email

  412. Nancy Cardell-H0ugh

    Pooh…I must be getting old..forgot to check the box for emails! I bet I am not the only “oldie” on here!

  413. Jane Westerfield

    I too came across this website on accident. I’m not too sure anyone remembers me…..but, I lived in San Manuel, lets see…..1969 – 1975 or 1976….I moved to Tucson after my parents divorced, attended FWH my Junior year and then moved to Superior with my dad for my Senior year at Superior High. Reading all of these blogs brought back a ton of memories. Many names I recognize many I don’t see. My memories include Sandy Acosta, Lisa Childers, Mary Nelson, Tavane Meyers, DD Hall, Tracy Bunch, Ray Benitone (his dad was my dad’s best friend). I remember Miss Berry, I do forget what class she taught. I remember Elsie giving me my allergy shots every week….man those hurt…I remember going to Gardner Middle School, I remember the talent shows………My dad, Richard (Dick) Westerfield passed away in Idaho on 1/2/2008. Reading thru this blog has brought alot of memories. I do remember the red and white one piece jump shorts for PE, the 25 cent red lunch tokens, paying 25 cents to watch disney cartoons and movies at the auditorium on Saturdays, the swim meets, playing softball…..I think the girls team had purple uniforms…I was back to San Manuel in the mid 90’s. I brought my 2 sons, they thought San Manuel was a great place to grow up. I remember the summer picnics that Magma and the Elks club would throw. I remember spending my summers with my grandparents at their ranch in Aravaipa….

  414. Paul Seale

    Jerry Lawhon may I ask if you are any relation to Corrie Lawhon? I grew up with her in grade school at Ave. B and at the high school and she just disappeared. She was a very kind person and I have often wondered how she is.
    Paul Seale

  415. Rob Walden

    Rodney Johnson

    I think I even cryed a little hearing that the most perfect little town had grown cold and deserted. I moved from Clearwater Florida to San Manuel with my Mother in 1980 when I was 10 year old and left about 1984. My Mother worked as a secretary for some big wig at Magma who lived in one of those fancy houses on the top of the hills. My childhood memories are nothing short of fond for growing up in such a perfect little town, Riding bicycles until the street lights came on, playing little league for “Cinema” and youth football for the junior Minors-bright orange-yuck! My first kiss, by first hid out in the desert, swimming at the pool on a hot summer day…the memories are endless. I attended 1st Ave and Ave B. I lived on Webb Dr and Ave H. I cant remeber many names but I do remeber the Chuck and Junie Johnson Family the kids names were Buddah, Oatie, and Tucker. Oh and Sean and Tonya Harre. Great people and great memories..Plase holla back if any of this makes sense!

    Hopefully you still come to this site. You and I used to hang out quit abit riding bikes with Sean Harre and Lynn Tissaw. Would love you hear from you. I still remember when you had to move away. Email me sometime…. robwalden[at]hotmail[dot]com

    Look forward to hearing from you.


  416. Gary Townsley

    I too found this site by accident while looking for some information at work. Spent the next hour reading all the letters and notes. It brought back many memories and names from the past. I to was born in San Manuel in 57 ,was raised in Oracle and graduated from SMHS in 75. Worked 3 summers at mine while attending NAU.
    I agree with the comments about how many great teachers we had in our small towns. I retired from teaching last year after 30 years of teaching in the Phx. area. I am know working as an apprenticeship director, have 2 grown sons 4 grown step children and 2 granddaughters. I still get to Oracle to see my parents on a regular basis but, don’t make it down the mountain to San Mauel. When I watched the stacks come down while watching it on the news that day, I to felt very sad, with a tear in my eye as a part of my past is now gone except in my memories. It was great reading all the comments from my fellow tri-community friends and classmates from the past. Would like to here from fellow classmates via email anytime at garytownsley[at]cox[dot]net

  417. Susie

    I am looking for some answers in a family tree and have come to a dead end. I am hoping to find someone with some knowledge of a Robert Bowerman. I only know that he worked at the mine, and I assume probably lived in San Manuel or the area in the early to mid 60’s. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  418. gene Doss

    Gene Doss
    David Stiller, Royce is my brother. He lives in Chowchilla, Ca.
    We lived in Mammoth the same time that you did.
    You come up in our conversations from time to time.
    If you should stumble upon this give me a call or email.
    Phone number is 928 793 3307. Email gwpocketchange[at]yahoo[dot]com
    I live in Globe and go through Mammoth and San Manuel from time to time.
    Hope to hear from you.

  419. George Glass

    It is so cool to have found this site. I was born and raised until I was 8 in San Manuel. We moved to Denver after my parents divorced in 1973. I moved from Denver in 2001 when we relocated our manufacturing company to Panama City, Fl.. I have many fond memories of that San Manuel. It’s really neat to see all of the posts on this site. It sure brings back a lot of memories.. Simminger’s, I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I remember him as a very nice man. What’s Greg up to these days? I remember when we both got Baja bikes for Christmas. We road the wheels off those things. The other memories I have was when I was in Kindergarten and having such a huge crush on Joanie Hudsen that I gave her a kitten my sister Laura had named Cuddle Bug. Man I thought that women was smok’in. I remember digging the under ground fort behind the Simminger’s house on 6th with Greg, Jeff and Jay Osbourne. Learning how to ride motorcycles from Connie Orton and taking 3rd in the minibike race in 1971. Hunting rabbits and dove with my brother William, Jim, Connie and Leroy Orton. What a blast that was. Fighting with Leatha Hall in 1st grade (Miss Freadaburg’s class) and getting my ass beat by dad for hitting a girl (lesson learned). I miss eating at the La Casita. I did get to see William, Anna (sister in law) and Hailey (niece) back in February when I went back to Denver for my Uncle Bill’s funeral. I’ve not been back to San Manuel in about 15 years, but I’m sure a lot has changed since the mine closed. Well folks, I better stop babbling and go out to the shop and see what the guys are or aren’t doing. Everybody, be good, be safe and take care.

    George E. Glass

  420. Britt Towery E-mail

    Jody and I moved to San Manuel in Nov. 1954. We held worship services in our house on McNabb for the Baptists of the area. See photo The church was built and dedicated in June, 1955. We knew lots of great people, all the men helped build the church building, including Slick Petty Jimmy Lambert’s grandfather.

    Would love to find so many friends of those days. Like Jim Breed’s family that moved early on to Phoenix. The Richard Hulse family lost a son in Vietnam after we left there. Richie was one special young boy then and great guy who graduated West Point with honors and a lovely bride.

    We were last in San Manuel in 2005 for the 50th anniversary of the First Baptist Church and found it great and growing.

    Go to for my newpaper articles and to for stories and life of China’s greatest storyteller: Lao She.

    We watched the first stack going up. Half the houses were empty and we tried to visit all the families those first few months.

    The San Manuel Miner of June 21, 1955, a news item told of former Roman Catholic priest Emmett McLoughlin spoke at our church. That was an interesting episode. McLoughlin’s book “People’s Padre” give the story of his life. He then was the superintendent of Memorial Hospital in Phoenix.

    Be great to hear from anyone who loves San Manuel.

  421. Tyler Young

    Hello everyone I guess that I was a new comer to town.I hired in at Townsite in 76.All of my time in Tucson,Oracle& San Manuel are the most wounderous of my life.Istill go to Oracle &San Manuel I see Buzze,Darrell,Twila,John&Cinnamon.I met Patti Tracey in 82 &
    we have been together ever sinse,Iwas living in behind Mother Codies
    Al &Jans old place.STAY IN PEACE
    We Love you all.Tyler & Patty Young

  422. Bill Ruschmeyer

    I have been watching the rescue of the miners in Chille on TV. It reminded me of when i worked at the underground mine in San Manuel from June 1971- Oct. 1999. I was a hoistman there for many of those years and as the rescued miners were brought up one by one I could not help but think about the man at the controls, the Hoistman that was responsible for there safety. Tonight I was browsing this web site which havent been to in a long time and I read a poem written to me on May 23,2010, that was posted by Jim Tate. Jim was a mine foreman who I worked with at the mine. I was very pleased to read the poem and felt a great sense of pride that he remembered me as one of the many hoistman that was responsible for safe passage in and out of the mine. Yes Jim I remember what it was like and I will never forget my time at the mine. When the mine closed I thought it was the end but with the grace of God, I like others have went on with our lives and started new careers. I now live on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and work as a Registered Sleep Tech. in Pensacola Fl. Take care my friend hope all is well. Thanks for the poem Jim
    it means a lot to me.

    Bill Ruschmeyer

  423. Gary Sunderland

    Hello everyone,
    I am so glad I have found this site! I worked at Magma Smelter from 1976-1987 I was in the Maintenance Mechanic shop. I am supposed to be vested and now am eligible for my retirement but can’t seem to find out how to go about starting the payments. I do however find people with the same questions but no answer. I would appreciate any help with this, unemployed again I am in need of some income.
    Any help greatly appreciated. And if any of you know me drop me a line Gary Sunderland
    Thanks in advance.

  424. Mike Ballard


    Just wanted to say hello and am glad things are going well for you. I too felt the same watching the rescue, I look back and really miss those great days at 4 shaft and 5 main.


  425. Patti Young (Tracey)

    Hello , I found this web site very interesting and went through a lot of memories myself. I remember the ‘Ole smoke stacks and that 10pm horn that would tell you that you better be in by the time it stops or you can’t go out to play the next day! I went to high school from 1978 thru 1980. Did not grad, from there though. I was walking down a different isle in 1982 when I would have graduated from there. Would’nt change a thing ! Anyway I’m trying to look up some of my classmates to see how you all are doing so give me a line or two. Hope to hear from you all. When is the class reunion for “82” gonna be ? CU,

    Patricia Young (Tracey)

  426. Susan Villegas

    My father was Antonio Villegas he was an electrician at Magma. He and his loving wife priscilla raised 5 kids. Lillian, Tony, Phillip, Susan, and Michael. We had a wonderful life growing up in San Manuel. I am now a nurse in Sacramento Ca. I will never forget San Manuel. I still dream of the stacks and sounds of the trains. I remember runnin through the desert to Oracle. I remember San Manuel at its best! That’s how I know my father remembers it even as he visits me in my dreams. He walks near Ave B. He played his guitar on the porch. Relaxed under the desert sky……….. What do you remember? What do your old dreams of San Manuel say????

  427. Susan Villegas

    I was born in San Manuel Hospital on May 24 1967 by Doctor Taylor. My name is Susan Villegas. I graduated in 1985. Only I moved to Ca. and graduated there. My sister Lily married Ernie Ivy. If you know me you can email me @

  428. Ernest Gonzales

    Ernest Gonzales left for U.S.M.C. in 1981 traveled to far east and South America. My brother is Mando Sandoval and sister’s Carrie and Deena Sandoval. San Manuel what a blast!!!!!!!

  429. Lauren Clinton

    Lauren Clinton I graduated SMHS 1980, only found this site this evening,many of you that have posted I recognize. This is the first time I’ve watched a video of the stacks. Heart wrenching to say the least, My father did not work at Magma, he was employed in Hayden at ASARCO, when I was a child he had taken my younger brother and I to the back steps of the lab to see the stack there demolished, amazing thing happened that day, it did not fall, not all the way down, about fifty feet or so, and stopped. The 350 foot now stood at 300 feet. The next day the demo team toppled it properly, straight down. As a child it was exciting to see. As an adult, to watch the video, not so much so. I believe that being present at the first demo was a start of seeing histories icons removed to make way for the future, newer, bigger, better. That was the case at ASARCO, but not everywhere else, and not anymore. I saw the Grand Hotel in Ponca City, OK. tore down, an empty lot for a long time, now an O’reilly’s Auto Parts, In Tulsa, a huge monolithic hotel in the shape of a castle, tore down by Q-Trip corp. Yes, It’s sad, I have sixteen solid years of memories in the Tri-Community, time passed,time missed. Someday I’ll come to see ya, sure will be different though, without the stacks……………………..

  430. Barbara Trager

    Mel’s veal sandwich. Yum. Never forgot it. The school dance in the cafeteria……where I led the dancing line….someone should remember it.( Paul.) The Elton John glasses from art class. The career center. The boys dressing up like cheerleaders. The graduation ceremony where the PA system did not work and someone in a pink polyester pantsuit walked across the field to tell the administrators no one could hear them in the stands. What year was that? Kendra Taylor telling me no one has orange cheeks. I still do. Being called Charlie cuz I wore the cologne. (Anna) The senior trip to Disneyland where the boys locked each other in the hotel hall in their underwear. Once chaperone taking his phone off the hook and not helping at all while the kids went bonkers all night. The beauty of the mountains. The smelter smoke being so thick sometimes you could not see the front of your car. Miss y’all.

  431. Wes Ellison

    Mike Ballard


    Just wanted to say hello and am glad things are going well for you. I too felt the same watching the rescue, I look back and really miss those great days at 4 shaft and 5 main.


    Well hello Mike! Hope all is going well :-)

  432. Douglas Smith

    I just purchased a house on 4th ave in San Manuel. I live in MT and decided to move my office south for 6 months a year.

    I went to enginneering school in Las Cruces New Mexico in the early 70’s. Many of my best friends and classmates hailed from the mines around Silver City. The “copper ring” (Silver City, Globe, Superior, San Manuel) was one of our favorite, 3 day motorcycle rides.

    My work has taken me all over the world for 35 years. I have spent most of those years with a home base in mining towns. First Park City, Utah then, for the past 12 years, Red Lodge, MT. There are a couple of miners working in the Paladium mine near Red Lodge who worked in San Manuel years ago.

    I am about to add one more mining town to my list! The real estate market is in such a state in Az that I started looking for a “southern command post” for my office to escape the winter MT has to offer from Jan to June! I remembered how much I used to love the foothill country and views in San Manuel back in the 70’s.

    I bought a house there last week. I obviously got a great deal on a house, but it was a bitter sweet experience.
    I remember what a bustling place, bursting with children, San Manuel was circa 1973.

    It is so sad to see the good industrial jobs in this country slipping from our grasp. Not every kid is a rocket scientist leading the “tech age”! There are millions of great kids who just want to work hard and raise a family. The mining industry in San Manuel was one of the places a kid out of high school could take a “man’s job” and provide a comfortable living for a family.

    I hate to see that go!

    Doug Smith

  433. Gail Stewart Leeson

    WOW ! What memories came flooding back reading this great site. I graduated SMHS in 1962 and do believe my high school years were the real “glory” days of San Manuel. But, we all think that, don’t we? as we think back on the memories. Seems like everything I learned about my place in life, stemmed from this great little copper town. Certainly all of my first loves were developed there: Jerry Kent, Darrel Miller, Jim Davis and so many more. Many that never knew even they were my “loves”. And, of course, met my REAL love, Dick Leeson, there and have been married now almost 50 years. His mother, Marylee, worked at the Drug Store and his dad, Wayne, managed Cohen’s at one time. We lost both of them in the 80’s. I still have a sister living in San Manuel, so get back quite often and planning my next trip, in fact, in just a couple weeks. It is sad the direction the town has gone in with the loss of the mine, but I relish all the memories that come flooding back every time I return. Was so sorry to hear about the death of the Simminger’s. I remember babysitting for them (in the hopes of getting an A in his class, I’m sure). I’m sure you all remember that behind the Baptist Church was the ONLY place to go park to get a private kiss from your sweetheart, right? (Or to drain a six-pack or sneak a smoke). How many times did we stuff a friend in the trunk of the car just to get out of paying for them at the Drive-In? Having a sweeter smelling town these days just do not compensate for those Stacks. Thanks, Thomas, for this great venue. Would love to hear from anyone interested in contacting me.

    Gail Stewart Leeson
    leeson [at]

  434. Bill Ruschmeyer

    Browsing the web site i was pleased to see a post from Mike Ballard.
    Good to hear from you Mike hope all is well with you and your family.Its been many years, I will never forget the years and the friendships we made at the mine. Life does go on and yes there is life after Magma, never could get used to saying BHP it will always be mother Magma to me. Fond memories of your dad , he trained me on the hoist and always had a good fishing story. I always got a kick out of him and Wille Lemus. Take care my Friend . I live in Lillian Al a small town on the Gulf Coast next to the Florida state line. If you ever get this way look me up. Charlie Blank , Ray Boros and Conrad Hogan have been here for a visit. We have
    Beautiful Beaches and good fishing.

  435. Wes Ellison

    Mike Ballard! Long time no hear from :-) I stopped by your place in Mammoth back in 05′ to say hi. Myself and a friend rode motorcycles down to visit my brother in Catalina but it was mother’s day and you weren’t there :-( Hope all is going well for you and hope to hear from you.


  436. Phyllis

    Message from Susie July 22, 2010

    Susie, I remember Bob Bowerman – he and my father were friends. We lived close to them in Reddington. If you are still looking for more info, let me know I’ll see what I can do….

  437. Steve Schaul

    I came across this site through a family friend and am so glad I did. My family was one of the first five families to arrive in SM in December of 1952. At that time there was very little of the town completed (just the 100 blocks of Avenue A and B and McNabb).

    My dad, Sig Schaul and mom RoseMary opened Schaul’s Variety Store in the lower arcade in a little area that is now part of the
    Elk’s Club and across from the SM Miner office (if it’s still there). As you can well imagine times were tough until the town construction was completed and all the residents moved in.

    I went to 2nd grade in the only wing of B Avenue School that year and spent the 3rd grade in a house on McNabb with a few old timers such as Waldo Vasquez and Phil Stamps. My younger brother Joe started at B Avenue in the first grade in 1954.

    Schaul’s Variety moved to the upper arcade in 1957 and remained there until Chris Valdez, who bought the business from my mom a few years after my dad died, changed the name to Chris’s true value and moved it next to Gordon’s.

    My mom lived in SM until 2007 when she got tired of cooking her meals and mowing her lawn at 94 years old. She now lives in a lovely Retirement community in Oro Valley and will turn 99 in December. With her good genes and great attitude she’ll welcome 100 in no time.

    I’ve been in TX since 1973 but get back to AZ four times a year to visit my mom and we rarely fail to go to SM so she can attend mass at the catholic Church see attended for over 50 years (Father O’Riley was the first Priest I remember serving there).

    Like all of you, it is still chilling to come over the rise after leaving Oracle and not see the stacks. I guess I’ll never get over it. The good news is the mountains that surround SM have only gotten more beautiful with age and the town appears able to survive it’s makeover.

    In closing, all I can think to say is “GO MINERS!!!”

  438. Marie Hall Roybal

    I came to San Manuel in 1955 and attended school there, graduating in 1962. My father “Buck” Hall was a chemist at Magma and my mother worked at Cohen’s clothing store. I married Fred Roybal in 1963. We are still together and have been living back in San Manuel since 1974.We are now both retired teachers and enjoy the peace and quiet here, but enjoy the nearness of Tucson and Phoenix when we want more to do.
    I have been reading the posts about last April’s “Miner Reunion”. It was quite a success. For that reason there is another one in the planning stages.This years will be a two day event, Oct 7th and 8th.
    There are plans for a carnival, car show ,vendors and music. All us still in flux but as the date nears I am sure more will be included.There is a web site where you can go to get more information it is: http://
    As we get more information the site will be updated. Your input at the site would be appreciated. We want to reach as many of the past residents of San Manuel and want you to come back to visit with all of them.

  439. Amanda

    I was sad when i first heard the news about the stacks coming down i was unable to attend that sad day. I was also born in the SM hospital in 1977. I still love going to mels to eat when i can make it to SM. I remember when i was at Ave B i was able to go off campus to eat lunch all 3 yrs there and i always went to my parents resturant to eat ALANAS PLACE how many of you remember that resturant? if i didnt eat there i would go to the pizza place which was where tasty freeze was and building still is. it was a blue building you had to walk up stairs to go in. i remember my dad always made us go to the pool during the summer and swim. us kids were able to go out and play and not worry about kid napping . i know we never had cell phones to take to school it wasnt even thought of. i remember having a type writer not a computer, i remember using the phone when you got home you could only stay in one place cuz the cord only went so far. i know we didnt lock our doors very much when we were younger, i will always remember playing softball in the summer it was so fun. SM was a great place to live and grow up i wish my kids could experience what i got to experienced.

  440. Cathy (Ecker) Cardwell

    I just found out about this page from Jim Carrender this is awesome.
    We lived in SM the early 70s till 77ish. We left before my graduating year of 82. To this day that was the best part of my childhood, elemtary school and part of middle school (except for the time Jeff Simminger slapped my face in elementary school, silly kid stuff you know boys and there crushes. LOL)
    SM will always be in my heart the friends I will miss always. Edith Gallaher who I’m still in touch with, Linda Mason, Margaret Dominguez, Devlin Miller, Mathew Arrington I saw a few years ago, Tommy Berkfield, Jimmy Chadwick, Tim Carrender, Marty Keiser who was my first kiss, (If I spelled any names wrong forgive me it has been over 30 yrs.) Just to name a few that this old brain can wrap around.
    Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to get back since we moved to Florida life has been exciting to say the least. But if all else fails my husband and I want to retire there. I have given him the SM hunger as I always have had to return to the quiet small town life :)
    I will always remember Mels burgers, the public pool we all gathered at in summer, the rodeo, the drive inn and the Simmingers back yard. Just to name a few there are so many wonderful memories it would be impossible to list them all.
    I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me that would be awesome! Go Miners Hail our Purple and Gold!

  441. Linda (Mason) Schick

    Cathy Ecker Cardwell!!! Send me an email! All is well with me. I have very fond memories of you and would love to re-connect. I can also get you in touch with Davelene Miller.

    My family and I are living in Saudi Arabia at the moment. It’s a different life over here. I’d love to hear back from you. Email me at:

  442. andy salas

    Andy Salas, class of 2000. The last of the old generation.First off “wow”. Its amazing to see how many generations that town has impacted over the last fifty plus years.I lived in SM for over 18 years and have been gone now for nearly 11. During this time I have proudly served my country in the USAF.Through my travels and different encounters I have yet to meet anyone or visted any place such as San Manuel. There is a special bond that you instantly have when you meet someone who knows or has had the pleasure of living in San Manuel. I have been to New Orleans,to the beaches of Flordia, and have walked the shores of New Jersey and back and forth across the country a couple times.So I can tell you that I have never seen another town like San Manuel. I plan on moving back to san manuel this summer. I have lived in some very nice places but not one that ever felt like home at 204 Douglas next to Mrs.Early. I remember the smell of the fresh cut grass in the mornings and the slight smell of smog from the stacks at night.I was in Garner middle school when the doors of prosperity and oportunity were slammed shut without warning. I remember the devestation on my dads face to this day.The good times and bad times are times that I will always consider my best times while growing up in San Manuel. GO MINERS!

  443. andy salas

    Hello this is Andy Salas……..wanted to quickly add that if anyone is intereated in making a donation to the san manuel little league you can reach me at rockkrawler81@ This field is in need of complete new light assemblies and a score board. Thanks again you crontributions will be greatly appreciated and properly used.Keep in mind these donations are tax deductable. Thanks

  444. Rob Walden

    Still looking to get hold of Rodney Johnson. I have very fond memories growing up in the Tri-Community. Still go back to visit and eat at LaCasita!!

    Take Care!!

  445. Jaime (Bergstresser) Ludlow

    I lived in San Manuel from the time I was a baby until we moved to Kansas in 1991. The best years of my life were in that small town. I will always have a special place in my heart for San Manuel. No matter how far out in the dessert us kids would go we always knew to head toward the stacks to find our way back home. When I was little, and we would visit family in Tucson my dad always told us we were getting closer to home because he could see the stacks. Now what? What do these kids have to look forward to now? Did they have to fall? They should have stayed up for a landmark for the people of San Manuel and those men and women of the Magma Copper Mine. I am sure it was an environment thing as to why they had to fall, but we are polluting the earth with much more, so why not let them stay? I guess it doesn’t matter now, because they are down. I guess all of the people from San Manuel will just have those special memories to hold on to forever. My father, Jim Bergstresser, worked at the mine for 15 years. We moved to Kansas in 1991 and endour the cold winters and the hot humid summers, but nothing will ever top the Arizona weather and the great town of San Manuel. I miss all my old friends and family we left behind, especially my two great friends, Stacy Robinson and Melissa Burch. God Bless the new children growing up in that small town and I hope they find another reason to want to go home.

  446. Valkyrie


    I too grew up in Sna Manuel and left in 68′. Moved to Kansas in 79′. Been in Kansas for 32 years and it still doesn’t feel like San Manuel. I hate humid summers and cold snowy winters. Give me a desert thunderstorm anytime :-)

  447. Smidgeroo

    I grew up there and my Dad worked at Magma and walked to work every morning from 5th Place. I found this completely by accident and I’m so overwhelmed.

  448. John Olson

    I just found this site and what a memory kicker. My family moved into San Manuel from Superior in January, 1955. We were the 100th family to move in. My father was transferred to build and later maintain the railroad tracks, both the ore line and also the main line to Winkleman. I graduated from High School there in 1963 and later came back and taught school there with my wife Shirley (Dahms). I have not been back since the plant site was removed and the stacks taken down but I know it will look strange. I remember watching the plant go up the stacks being built. I really remember how neat the town was back when it first opened. There was only a small stip mall for stores as you entered the town. I remember Schaul’s Variety and can still remember the smells of the small arcade that housed it and Traders Furniture, Mitchells Drygoods and the Post Office. And then there was Goodman’s Grocery store. I also remember that since there was not much for the kids in town to do, the company helped out with free movies at the community center along with teenage dances on Friday nights.
    I consider myself to have been very fortunate to have grown up in San Manuel as it was a clean, fun, and happy place to be. Shirley and I will have to make a visit real soon though it will probably be sad to see how things have changed. One thing I am sorry for is that I didn’t purchase that home at 108 6th Ave. when we had the chance back in 1969. The price was just $7800.

  449. John Olson

    Hey Steve, I am so happy to here that your mother is still around. I thought she was my second mom when you and I were running around together back in grade school. Give me a call when you come back to Arizona – its been a long time!

    John Olson

  450. Kelly

    Shirley Olson! Shirley was my second grade teacher. I will always remember her kindness and beautiful smile, definitely my favorite teacher! She gave me my first kitten, a little gray and white cat that I named Miss Kitty and had until I was about 16. Very fond memories of Mrs. Olson!

  451. Shirley Olson

    Kelly, I remember a cute, sweet, smart, inquisitive sweetheart. I have very fond memories of you too. Kids? Grandkids? what do you have? John and I have 4 grown children and 12 grandkids. We now live in Tempe and have been retired for two years. Up until retirement, I was still involved in the school, tutoring kids in math and reading. I do remember the kitten. I would love to see you again sometime or even talk to you on the phone. I can be reached at 480-838-8351.

    Shirly Olson

  452. Donald Clark

    My sister has pic’s of the train that went off the end of the track’s

  453. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    Here’s a link to the website for the October 2011 SMHS Multi-Year Class Reunion:

    San Manuel High School Class Reunion in 2011

    Ann (Thomas) Ross
    Class of ’74

  454. Ann (Thomas) Ross

    Corrected website for the multi-year SMHS Class Reunion in October 2011:

  455. T. Craig

    This is amazing to see the love and the wonderful memories most of you all share. I was not raised in San Manuel, in fact up until a couple of years ago did I live here. I was however aware of it and visited SM as a young adult with my ex husband. He worked for Magma for many years. I am a resident now because I married Larry Craig, who was born and raised here. This is truly his home in every respect of what home should be. I love to hear the fond memories he and his family share along with going around town to show me where things use to be. But at the same time it saddens me greatly to see such a wonderful place turn out to be such a eyesore now. Businesses closed, buildings all boarded up, and no sense of belonging in any sense. I am going to make this my home for many years to come and will stay anywhere just to be with my husband. I will, but not without trying to do something to make a difference. I am a ordinary person, working to make a living but have a deep passion to do whatever it takes to make this town home again to those who stayed and those who have come to make this town their home. My first passion is to find out how we can make a beautiful playground for the children that live here…they deserve that as every child does. I believe BHP owns whats left of the play areas and has not maintained them what so ever.This upsets me because many great people worked their whole life for them. In doing so many generations have stayed here as they always felt this was home. But its just not fair that the company could not have took care of the people here as the people did all that they could to take care of the company. If anyone knows who I should contact and they would like to help me or has any suggestions for me please contact me.

  456. Tina

    Web Surfing today. I went from Perkins Canyon volcanic dome, rhyodacite, Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona and then down the rabbit hole to San Manuel, Arizona where I grew up.

    Google earth is amazing. I was able to find my old school (Ave. B) and follow the streets I used to travel home. I found my old house. (Why was there so much garbage across the street? Why was the view of the mountains not what I remembered?) Well, a few more excursions to sell where old friends houses used to be, the dime store, pool, etc. All the while I kept wondering what happened to this place? I wanted to show my kids the town but I had to figure out what happened?

    Your blog post has answered that question. Those smoke stacks were the landmark that defined the town. They were what I would see each time I walked out my front door. They were what was missing from my “remembered view”. They say smells create some of our strongest memories too. The smell of sulfur and the image of those smokestacks will always be San Manuel for me. It was unexpectedly sad for me to watch the video of them toppling. I left San Manuel as a teenager and never looked back (or so I thought). That was over 30 years ago.

    It was also happy to see Frank Valenzuela in the video. What a wonderful man with an awesome rock and mineral collection. (and family too!) Funny how things work out. I was looking for information about a rock and I ended here watching a video that included the first person I ever knew with a rock collection.

    I also think I see my sister’s alias in one of the comments above.

    It really is a small world. I like that.

    Thank you for putting San Manuel in your blog.

  457. Cathy Caraway-Fiihr

    We moved to San Manuel in January 1956. I went from first grade through high school (1968), as did my four siblings. What a great place to grow up. Everyone knew you, you could walk to town, walk to school, go to little league games in the summer, swimming at the community pool, play hide and seek but remember to come home when the street lights came on, cruise town, go to the drive-in movie, burgers at Mels! There aren’t many places like that anymore to grow up, and that’s really sad. We were family. We survived without 200 cable channels, without cell phones and computers, without helmets. It was just as childhood should be; safe, fun, best friends, and memories to last a life time. I only wish more kids could have the childhood I did in San Manuel.

  458. Tom Peyatt

    Donna and I had been hearing for years how San Manuel had died off and was becoming a ghost town. The houses were in bad shape, the parks were being let go and the shopping centers were empty. We decided to visit it one last time in September. What a shock it was. The town was far from dying. Most of the houses looked great. The new pool was set up for a swim meet. While there were some empty stores, most seemed to be in business. We saw a few empty houses on McNabb, but almost none on other streets. We were sad to see that our 1st house at 305 Ave A had burned down and had not been rebuilt. Our second house at 319 Ave A looked good.

    We came to Maryland in 1989, right after I was layed off. I came out to help reopen the old Kenncott refinery in Baltimore and have lived in the area ever since. We have recently bought another place in Liverpool, Pa. I think we just missed small town living too much.

    Tom Peyatt
    Class of 1977

  459. John Olson

    I was just browsing through this neat site again and noticed that I had made a mistake with my E-Mail address. Shirley and I would love to hear from any of our old friends from San Manuel. We now live in Tempe (been here since 1973) and retired a couple of years ago.
    We can be reached at johnolson87[at] or give us a call at 480-838-8351.

    John and Shirley Olson
    class of 1963

  460. Jim Arrington

    My Dad was one of the first employees of Magma Copper Company. (Joseph Weldon Arrington) He hired on in 1955. Dad open the first and ONLY hamburger joint in San Manuels History. It was called WELDON’S DRIV-IN. We opened the doors on April 8th 1966. It is still in operation today, over 40 years later, under the name Mel’s … It is the only original store in existance. Every store or gas station has been closed , torn down, or turned into a different type of business. But not WELDON’S…. ( across from the High School.) Weldons was known for its Hamburgers,with a secret sauce that is still unknown but to a handlful including myself. Weldon (joe) invented the sauce.
    Jim Arrington

  461. sergio montes

    Absolute fact, another rich moment in Salmon Oil history unraveled. I, like many of you readers, also enjoyed the high level of cuisine at this fine dining establishment. ( Reservations never required) But, I’ll bet I have a historic fact that few are aware of. In 1972, Weldons was robbed by some dim-witted burglars that ransacked the “Joint” and made off with a bag of coins and many boxes of candy bars.
    Albeit, this crime was never solved, rumor ran amok of teens with stomach aches, and young girls flashing new jewelry from the Pratts fine drug emporium. I have it on good source that Coach Donaldson was hot on the trail of said culprits, but the forensic technology of the day could not help close the case. BTW, I hope you fellow readers get on board with the fund to erect a bronze efigy of the Zauzueta sisters in Mels parking lot. They are the true artisans that made Mels famous, Mexican labor exploited once again. Ernestina, if you ever want to open a chain of burger joints, please call me. PS Make sure you have a good alarm system!!!!

  462. Thomas Malone

    I was wondering how the reunion came out? I was unable to attend because of illness. Also copper town days?
    Thomas Malone


  463. john

    grew up in tucson and where we would drive through reddington pass and you would know you made it when you saw the smokestacks of the san manuel mine ,funny how time marches on…….

  464. John Olson

    Jim, I knew your dad very well since my family moved into San Manuel in January of 55 also. I have very fond memories of your Dad’s drive-in. It was the only place for teenagers to hangout in town. Your dad put a coin operated pool table in almost as soon as he opened. It was one that only returned the cue ball if you put a ball into a pocket. The kids got smart and started stuffing tissues or even half eaten hamburgers into the pockets to keep from having to pay for each game. One day I stopped by for a coke and saw that the pool table was covered. I asked Joe what was going on and he said he was tired of the hassle of constantly removing the trash from the pockets so he just put a cover over it. I told him that I would give him a $100 for the table if he wanted to sell it but he declined. I went on home and the phone was ringing as I walked in and it was Joe telling me to come and get the table. To make a long story a little shorter, I still have the table after all of these years. It is presently in my 38 year old daughter’s game room and it is still a great table, slate top and all. Oh yeah, when I tore that table down to recover it, I found over $35 in quarters still in the drawer. I bagged them up and took them back to Joe but he wouldn’t take them since he said that I bought the table as is.

    Great memories of a neat drive-in and even nicer owner. I was very fond of Joe Arrington.

    John Olson

  465. Dean Mead

    We lived in San Manuel many years ago, and now we’re retired. We’re visiting right now, and are considering buying a home here. Some of our old friends are still here.
    What do you all think? Should we do it?

  466. Larry Sullivan

    Lived in San Manuel twice in my life. Arrived for the first time during the MAGMA Copper strike. You can read about it in RAISING MAMA: A MEMOIR by Larry Michael Sullivan. I had an employee in my former job in California from Tucson. He and I used to laugh about the back road from Tucson to San Manuel that came out through the garbage dump. Chuck Johnson, my former insurance agent in Silver City, New Mexico is a San Manuel native. He told me my book was spot on about San Manuel. He has an autographed copy. I’m still curious about the mining community east of Mammoth that I visited when I was a kid. That community disappeared before the great depression. The old road leading up the mountain from Mammoth is now fenced off. I’d love to know the history of that place.

  467. Val

    Wow, looking for something entirely different and I come across this. First, Kudos to you Tomas. Always interesting to see what someone you know has done. I am the gal who no one remembers so no biggie but you were a senior when I was a junior at SMHS.

    To this day it is rare to find anyone who knows of San Manuel so it was kinda cool to read through some peoples comments. I haven’t been back in years. My dad still lives there but visits me in the valley now a days. My grandparents still live in Mammoth. There are still people who live in the tri-community that I know. I sometimes think of going down there but it is kinda depressing sometimes.

    I think the good ole’ glory days of FM, Mormon pond and cruising uptown were gone shortly after ’95. But I still do remember the days of walking for a slice of pizza for lunch, getting chased by Principal Donaldson on Senior ditch day (because we weren’t seniors) and it getting close to summer so time for water balloon fights (only to get it bad because a windshield or two became casualties of the war).

    Once the mine closed everyone truely had to go their own way and it is just sad to go back and see a place that at one time seemed so alive with families, pranks (yes I do know of pumpkin stealing on Halloween) and just the bustle of a small town seemed to vanish.

    I am just glad I got to be a wild teen in a place that meant being wild was at most getting caught underage drinking. In an era where now anyone could be the wrong person to walk up to, most people are amazed that I grew up somewhere where people didn’t always lock their doors and stay at home moms were the norm.

  468. Linda (Eberle) Pondrom

    I continue to enjoy this blog/site, and appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with friends from the past. Received today a great e-note from Don Lee, and would like to respond to him. However, there was not a return address with which I could contact Don. So Don, if you are so inclined, would love a chance to ‘talk’ via e-mail. Linda

  469. +Don Lee


    I have no idea who you are, but thanks for hosting this site so that former and present tri community residents can share a common link.

    In telling my wife about this site I had to explain why I didn’t “know” most of the posters which made me realize I don’t know the entire history of Magma, and the surrounding towns.
    I started the third grade in San Manuel in a house across from First Avenue because both grade schools hadn’t been finished yet and the upper arcade was also still being built which made me wonder about the state of the high school at that time. There has been mention of busing to Florence (long haul) and the barracks. I vaguely remember the barracks being old wooden buildings out at the trailer court but that could be a faulty memory.

    That’s my point. As a third grader I wasn’t too concerned about the bigger world so even though I was there I can’t recall what the older kids were doing for schools. Who can remember the first class and graduating class of SMHS and where was the the very first school of any kind in or near the San Manuel townsite.

    What was it like as a San Manuel, Mammoth and Oracle student before the three red brick schools were completed?

  470. Nancy

    Posted on the SMHS website:

    John Hernandez10:34am Apr 17

    The San Manuel Miner wants me to begin writing a series about growing up in San Manuel. It would be something along the lines of a where are they now, memories of the town and the people, etc. What I am asking is for everyone on this site to begin sharing stories and memories about San Manuel, your favorite teacher, coach, friends, experiences, etc. I would also like to hear about what you would like to read about concerning growing up in San Manuel. You can contact me at or on this site.

  471. Tom Peyatt

    I lived in San Manuel with my family from 1976 through 1988. During that time, my daughter Michelle was born there in 1981. In March of this year she passed away after an 11 year battle with leukemia. In talking to others in the area, several of our children have physical, mental, and learning problems. If you have experienced any of these, please contact us at ChildrenofMagma[at]

    Thank you

  472. Michele MacDonald

    Hi, I’m searching for info on Charles and Red Wilson who lived in San Manuel in 1957. Charles was a mining engineer there. I was born in San Manuel Hospital in April 1957.
    I may have brothers or sisters and I want to try to connect with them.
    You can e-mail me at mimacdon[at]

  473. i lived in san manuel when i was around 15 born in globe, we moved there cause my dad was a copper miner in san manuel. went to san manuel high. i too remember the stacks as being a symble of san m. when ever we visit fam. in phx i always new we were almost home because of the stacks i havent be bk there sine 1963 always wanted to but never did. now im in calif thinking of moving to superior next yr when i marry again and then i shall visit all the old memories of my past. sorry to hear theyre gone. even though i was born in globe my memories r in s.m.

  474. Susie

    (Reference Bob Bowerman), you responded a few years ago to my post searching for Bob Bowerman. I had stopped receiving notifications from this page quite a while back and just noticed this. Not sure if you monitor this thread, but I’m still searching and would appreciate any information you have.

  475. Kathy Jones Shaw

    I really enjoy reading these posts. Brings back a lot of memories. I laughed when I read one back from 2007 or 8. It asked about the Triple X. She didn’t know it was a cafe. My dad didn’t want me going down there, from high school, to have lunch. My friend and I liked the 10 cent cokes and fries. He didn’t like the idea that the bar was right next door and that there was a connecting door between the two. Funny what you remember.

    I am a long way from my childhood home of Oracle, but still have lots of memories. I married David Shaw there in 1976. He was a dry chemist for Magma. I was a fourth grade teacher in Oracle, in the same room I’d had middle school English.

    We built a house at 96 El Paseo. Then in 1985 we started our journey. First to Chula Vista, CA, a short time in El Cajon, then to Eureka, CA. We left there in 1990 to move to Virginia. David was computerizing a company that wanted to move, so we went along.

    We’ve been here for the past 24 years. We’ve had many ups and downs with Dave’s health. Shortly after moving here he had a stroke. Disabled him that he couldn’t work, but could still drive and get around. Did like working on his computer. Then in Nov. 2005 he had a heart attack that led to triple bypass. This left him more disabled in mind and body. We traveled a lot, when I wasn’t working. He enjoyed life. Loved his pizza and jelly donuts.

    In May 2013 I retired so we could spend more time together. Sadly I lost Dave July 30, 2013. It’s been hard, but the dogs and I are making it. This April 17th will be our 38th wedding anniversary.

    I love and miss you, Dave Shaw. I think of you always.

  476. Dean Mead

    FYI, if anyone’s interested, we moved back to San Manuel. Can’t think of a better place anywhere to spend the winters. Houses are well-built and inexpensive; and without the Smelter smoke the air is as healthy as possible. Our sons, David Mead (Class of 87) lives in Minnesota, working for Mayo Clinic, and Dustin Mead (Class of ’91) is in Washington, working as a banker- Loan officer.
    Didn’t know this Blog was still open, accepting mail; but glad it is.

  477. cris moreland

    My dad Omie Moreland worked at magma from 1960-1965. we lived
    at 902 w 5th ave . i visit the town often and i love seeing our old house. the current owner has done her well

  478. cris moreland

    My dad passed away in december 1965 at the san manuel hospital

  479. Ann Thomas Ross

    What: San Manuel High School (Arizona) ’70’s Reunion 2014

    When: October 17-18, 2014

    Where: “Meet and Greet” gathering from 7:00 PM-10:00 PM on Friday, October 17th at the Fox and Hound, 7625 N. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson, AZ. No charge to attend, food and drink available from the menu on your own.

    Dinner dance party on Saturday night, October 18th at the Hilton El Conquistador Hotel, 10000 N. Oracle Rd. from 6:00-11:00 PM. Cost is $75 per person, includes buffet dinner and DJ music. Cash bar available at the dinner dance party. Photo booth provided. Drawing will be held for hotel room give-away.

    Who: All SMHS Classes from 1970-1979 are invited to join the Class of 1974 in celebrating our 40th Reunion!

    How: Early registration and payment for the Dinner Dance party will reserve your spot as seating is limited. Please send the number of guests, your contact information and your check/money order for $75 per person, payable to “Lydia Verduzco or Laurie Santamarina” to:
    SMHS ’70’s Reunion
    P.O. Box 90599
    Tucson, AZ. 85752

    Please include a brief written update of yourself, important people in your life and special times you’ve experienced and want to share when you mail your check/money order.

    Old photographs, current pictures and military photos can also be sent or emailed to: along with information for each photograph (who, what, where, when).

    Please note: All travel, hotel and other personal expenses are on your own. We have fifteen (15) rooms on hold at the Hilton El Conquistador at $129/night, first come first serve, book your room directly with the hotel.

    Invitation announcement by: SMHS Class of 1974 Reunion planning team 4.5.14


  480. Odie Johnson

    @ Rodney Johnson
    Hey Rod, hope you’re doing well. pretty crazy to stumble onto this site and see your post. My dad’s name is Chuck and his nickname is Junie. My mom’s name is Liz and you had my name right (Mostly) I remember hanging at your mom’s house and playing football with you when we were kids. Time sure does fly. So many great memories of S.M, really sad to see it now days, even Gordon’s shut down. One of my fondest memories was eating popcorn on our roof and watching movies at the drive in via binoculars. Take care buddy.

  481. Don Conyers

    I lived in San Manuel from 71-74. Next door to Jeff, Jaime, and Jay Osbourne. Fine people and great neighbors. I remember Jeff fixing my little motorcycle after I stuck a garden hose in the tailpipe cause I thought it would shoot out water when I revved it up. Of course I had a ten year olds crush on Jaime. Couple years later it was Sandy Acosta that I would dream about. Most of my memories revolved around playing golf with Tony Grimes, Mike Lee and a kid whose father owned a Jaguar. A band teacher who had the original comb over. Being friends with Steve Jonason and Raymond Rael. As I recall, I was a horrible person, and DD Hall punched me in the chest one time when I said something stupid. I so deserved it. I remember a poem DD had written for the school paper. “Little boy up in the tree, won’t you come down and play with me. Down by the ocean, down by the sea. Little boy up in the tree, won’t you come down and play with me.” Maybe I got it wrong, but it’s always stuck with me. I thought it was very good for what, 11 years old or so. I wish I could remember more but it was so long ago and I left there way too soon. Tracy Bunch, Danny Turner come to mind, but I can’t remember why. I hope it’s cause we were friends. Oh yeah, La Casita and it’s juke box in Mammoth. Best wishes to all.

  482. jim i lived in sm from 55-57 my dad and uncle worked in the smelter mill and uncle loyd worked in the mine. i now live in ca. stummbled on this blog , when i heard about the stacks going down.brought back lots of memories, al davis store in mammoth, and the drug store with the soda fountain that serve the ice cream dish called the spudnik after the russian sattlite that was send up that year. does anyone remember my old teacher mr. hammer? does the old house on 101 ave. A still exist? have not read any comments from Geneieve or Vic lately ?

  483. Vance DeHart

    WOW! I lived and worked in the area in the 70’s. Worked underground and the smelter and the refinery for Magma and made many memories there. I think I still carry much of that time in my soul and it defines me to this very day. I’ll have to make the trip and see the “New Look” of the once booming mining town. Don’t think I’ll miss the smell of the smoke or the burning of the lungs! I had plenty of that back in the day….back when the music was great, CB’s were the means to stay in touch and find out where the desert party was going down and the girls were fine! Oh yes….I still remember all of you! Hehe

  484. Kathy Shaw

    Vance DeHart, you must have known my dad, Dean Jones, who worked at the mines. You probably knew my brother-in-law, Doug Shaw, who was a ware house foreman. My husband, Dave Shaw, worked in the xray lab. All three are now gone, but there are some good memories.

  485. John Olson

    As I have written in this forum before, my family moved into San Manuel in January of 1955 my father being transferred from Superior to construct the railroad from the mine to the concentrator and from San Manuel to Winkleman to connect to the Southern Pacific RR. As a sophomore at SMHS, I had the luck to meet a cute little Redhead named Shirley Dahms. We became good friends and used each other as a crying towel when we had boy/girlfriend problems. This all changed on November 13th when I realized that I had fallen in love with her. I promply offered her my class ring which she accepted and I then kissed her for the first time. We went together the rest of the year and made the commitment that we wouldn\’t get married until at least one of us graduated from college. We attended EAJC together for two years and then on to the universities. She to the UofA and me to ASU. I transferred to the UofA after one year. Shirley graduated in 1967 and we were married that summer. I graduated the following year since I had changed majors. We then entered a wild and fruitful life together including four children and 16 grandkids. With great pain, I have to tell you that my life mate and reason for living went to live with the Lord last month. We did have 47+ years of love, adventure, heataches and military separations but I miss her like life itself. My memories of my dear wife always include the many wonderful years we spent in San Manuel and the friends we made there. Your prayers for our family during this period of grief are certainly appreciated. The Lord now has one cute little redhead to laugh and probably argue with now.

  486. Kathy Shaw

    Sorry to hear about your loss, John Olson. Having lost my husband, I know it isn’t easy. I am just glad I have many happy memories to draw from. Reading your post lets me know you do, too.

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