NAME: Inspiration
CLIMATE: Cool Winter, Warm to Hot Summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year round (10 dF cooler than Phoenix)
COMMENTS: No residents. On mine property. Access to site generally not permitted to the general public.
REMAINS: Post Office, Store, gas station, school, 4 homes.

The site of Inspiration, Arizona is located two miles north of the town of Miami. Several large mines including the Inspiration, Live Oak, Black Warrior, and some smaller mines and numerous claims were combined into one company, Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company (ICCCo). The original Inspiration copper ore body was discovered in 1904 and the Inspiration Mine was established and construction of a gravity mill processing plant was started. This was the period that the original “town” of Inspiration sprang up along Webster Gulch and the small canyon to the Northeast of the mine shaft. These were mostly tent houses and simple shacks. The planned community of Inspiration came into being about 1916, with the town laid out on the ridge to the East of the mine. The Inspiration Post office was established in 1917 and operated continuously until 1983 when at the request of the Company it was decommissioned. The town was characterized by well landscaped yards and tree-lined streets. The buildings were of wood-frame stucco construction in the Southwestern craftsman style, and the homes were very comfortable. Inspiration was a company town in the truest sense. It was entirely contained on the Inspiration Mine property and every lot, residence, structure, street, and utility was owned by the company. Mine employees paid a very reasonable rent and the very low industrial rate for their utilities, so it was desirable to live at the townsite. At its peak population, Inspiration had between 350 and 400 people. There were 89 houses, three duplex apartment houses, the Benjamin Franklin School, the Warrior Store and service station, the Inspiration Post Office, and the telephone office. The townsite was laid out with four streets or housing areas: Main Street, Upper Circle, Lower Circle, and Moonshine Hill. Children attended the first few years of school at Benjamin Franklin School, which was part of the Miami School District, then attended the remainder of grade school at George Washington School in Lower Miami, and high school at Miami High School. Benjamin Franklin School served both children at Inspiration and at the Miami Copper Company (MCCo) housing a quarter of a mile to the Southeast. The school was intentionally built by the two Mining Companies spanning their property line, but the main access was via Inspiration. Some writers have mistakenly identified the Miami-Inspiration Hospital as being at Inspiration; it was considered to be in the town of Miami, though in reality it was within the Miami Mine (MCCo) property. The hospital, like the school was built and operated by the two adjacent mines, ICCCo and MCCo, and like the school was either on or very near the boundary line. The main access to the hospital was via MCCo, though Inspiration maintained a road across their property to the hospital.The mine shut down the Warrior store about 1970, though the service station continued to operate primarily for mine equipment for a several years after that. They stopped renting homes in 1984 and the last of the residents moved from Inspiration. Inspiration was a “real town”, though it was never incorporated and did not have a government. The town was fully governed by the company management; day to day security and services such as maintenance, utilities, sewer and garbage collection were all provided by the company. When law enforcement was needed, the Gila Country Sheriff’s Office took care of it. In the 1950’s the armed mine security guards were also county deputies.In addition to the formal Inspiration townsite, the company had employee housing near the Inspiration Tunnel yard in Live Oak Canyon, at Copper Glance, at the smelter housing area, at the Country Club, as well as several rental properties in Claypool and Miami, and they operated the Christmas Townsite (now a ghost town) at the Christmas Mine in Southern Gila County. Access to the Inspiration townsite is allowed to mine employees only; though special tours can sometimes be arranged for historical researchers. All but four of the houses (on Upper Circle) at Inspiration have been demolished. The Benjamin Franklin School, Warrior Store, service station, and Post office are still intact. These buildings have continued to be used as offices, for storage, and for housing technical equipment since the town became a ghost town. The streets and foundations are still visible where the houses once stood. Submitted by: Virgil Alexander

In late 2013 Freeport McMoran tore down the remaining houses at Inspiration, as well as the Warrior Store, and the Post Office. Now only two buildings remain; the Benjamin Franklin School, and the Gas Station, which is still used as a fueling station for mine light vehicles. So other than those two buildings all that remains of the town are the streets, stone retaining walls, and a few foundations. The center of the "Upper Circle" has been leveled and mobile office buildings placed there to house technical personnel. -V. Alexander, Author The Wham Curse and Saints & Sinners

Inspiration from Moonshine Hill C. 1920
Courtesy Virgil Alexandar

Warrior Store C. 2011
Courtesy Virgil Alexandar

Post Office C. 2011
Courtesy Virgil Alexandar