Remembering the Colonel


He was an American mining engineer who accomplished much in his lifetime. It was in 1924 when he founded a vast arboretum on 392 acres of land below Picketpost Mountain near Superior, Arizona which bears his name.

Today, the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum is managed by the University of Arizona and Arizona and the Arizona State Parks Department, where one will find more than 2,600 species of arid land plants from around the world that William Boyce Thompson gathered and would grow here.

It was in l910 when he started the Magma Copper Mine at Superior, which became one of this country’s major copper producers. Another one of his first successes during the Arizona Territorial days was his development of the Shannon Copper Mine and a smelter and railroad he built to serve this new mine in the Morenci area.

In the earlier 1900s, he is credited with organizing the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company at Ely, Nevada which became part of the multinational Kennecott Copper Company.

It was in l913 when the Inspiration Mining Company in the Globe-Miami area changed its name to the Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company. He became the first president of the reorganized firm in which he owned 15 percent stock and Anaconda owned 19 percent.

Besides mining, Thompson had other activities going on in his life. He was involved in financial circles that helped finance lead, zinc and coal mining operations in this country. In addition, he organized the Submarine Boat Company, the Wright Marin Aeroplane Company.

He was also said to be responsible for launching the Cuban Sugar Cane Company. At one time he had been a Director of the Metropolitan Life Company and was also one of the Directors of the Sinclair Oil Company. It was in l920 when he built his winter residence on a mountain top near Picketpost Mountain at Superior.

Thompson was born May13,1869 at Alder Gulch, Montana, attending schools in rough mining towns. He also went to the Columbia School of Mines. In the 1890s, he joined his father William in Montana Mining and lumber ventures. He had become a successful mine promoter and stockbroker when he moved to the eastern part of the United States and later came out to the Territory of Arizona where he got involved in copper mining.

He died on June 27, 1930.

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