Museum History

The Gila County Historical Museum building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, as it was completed in 1916 as the Globe Mine Rescue Station.

At the beginning of the 1900s, there were about 30 mines in the Globe area, some big and some small, but they all were plagued by mining accidents, since the mines were all underground at that time and the safety regulations were not in place as they are now.

So early in that century, the mining companies got together and formed the Mine Rescue Station and the building was built for that purposes. The station operated like a fire department, with the truck rolling quickly to whatever mine had sent out an alarm. The first big room you enter was used as the garage for the truck and all the gear that were taken on calls for rescue. That's why you will notice the big doors at the end of that room.

The original truck was an early vintage so it deteriorated over time, but the compartmentalized bed was built to fit the truck and haul all the equipment for whatever the rescue might be. The truck bed, made of oak, has lasted and we have it with some of the huge amount of equipment that it carried, still in the compartments and near the truck bed. Note the picture of the loaded truck in one of the compartments.

By the mid-1960s, many of the early small mines had closed and the larger ones had move to open pit operations, so the Rescue Association was dissolved. The building became available and was acquired for our museum.  It officially opened in 1972 as the Clara T. Woody Museum, in honor of the local woman who had collected historic items at her home and was the moving force in getting the museum started.

However, it was determined overtime, that the public did not understand that it was a community museum, so the name was eventually changed to the Gila County Historical Museum, which highlights the early history of the Gila County area.

You will notice on the far side of the big room there is a doorway into the kitchen and another to the Rescue Station Director's office. The Director and his family lived here at the station until it was closed, so there is a complete kitchen and past that was their living quarters.  In the late 1990's, the addition on the north end of the building was added and an office, store room and rest rooms were added on the west side, to accommodate for our growth. The new addition included the entry room you see now and a series of theme rooms in the north section.

If you have any questions or need any help, please let one of our docents know and they will be happy to help you.