Dr. James S. Douglas
A self-taught metallurgist and mine executive, Dr. Douglas arrived in
Bisbee in 1881 during a trip to evaluate mining claims for investment.
A year later he convinced the metal firm of Phelps, Dodge to invest
in the Atlanta and Copper Queen mining claims. James Douglas
eventually brought these properties into highly profitable production,
making Phelps, Dodge & Company one of the greatest copper
producers in the world. So much more than the discoverer of an ore
body, Dr. Douglas essentially founded the copper-mining industry in
The Phelps, Dodge capital investment led to the development of Bisbee as a city and Douglas was deeply involved in its growth, making Bisbee a family friendly town and stabilizing the workforce. Once the Bisbee mining district was established, he expanded his explorations to northern Sonora, helping to develop mines in Cananea and Nacosari. He was instrumental in the planning of a new copper smelter to process the ore from Bisbee and other area mines. The planned community created around the new smelter bears his name, Douglas. His vision for the new town included parks, community buildings, schools and churches—Church Square with its church on each corner of a city block is credited to him.
In later life, he was recognized for his philanthropy including a major endowment to the University of Arizona.
Photo courtesy of Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum. Permission required for use.