Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas, Arizona and a Christmas Giveaway

With Nancy J. Farrier

What do you picture when you think of Christmas? Snow? Horses pulling sleighs
? A decorated tree? A manger scene? Most of us have those ideals of family, food, gifts, singing carols, but we also associate Christmas time with snow. Something you would see on a Christmas card.

Today I wanted to share Christmas in an unusual place. In the Arizona desert, two men, Dennis O’Brien and William Tweed, staked a claim for a mine around 1880. A couple of years later their claim was purchased by the Phelps Dodge Corp.

They built a road to the mine, and fashioned furnaces for smelting the ore. Dr. James Douglas began operating the mine. In 1884, the mine operations had to close down when they realized they were mining inside the San Carlos Indian Reservation. Mining wouldn’t resume until after the Reservation boundaries were moved in 1902. 

In December of 1902, the area once more became public domain. On Christmas Day Robert Chittenden and his partner staked new claims, giving the mine its name. Chittenden was quoted as saying, “We filled our stockings and named the place Christmas in honor of the day.” 

Arizona Copper
Over the next few decades the Christmas mine would produce 55 million pound of copper as well as some silver and gold. In 1909 or 1910, the town of Christmas began to form. Within ten years Christmas would have a meat market, Post Office, general store, billiards hall, and two club houses. 

1907 Christmas Postcard
After the opening of the Post Office in June of 1905, something interesting began to happen. In the fall, William Swingle, the postmaster, started to receive a deluge of cards and letters that people wanted to be sent from his post office. From all across the country, people wanted the official Christmas stamp on their mail. Even packages were sent to Christmas during the holiday season just so they would have the Christmas postmark. 

The town and mine went through a series of closing and openings depending on the price of copper. When bags of mail and packages were sent to the town for postage late in the year, they would be forwarded to the nearby town of Winkelman to be processed. Christmas mine is now closed down and the town is no longer inhabited. 

Have you ever heard of Christmas, Arizona? Have you seen the Christmas postmark? Letters bearing the stamp are a collectors item now. 



Please leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for one of my books, The Immigrant Brides,  8 Weddings and A Miracle,The Timeless Love Collection,  or A Bride's Agreement. You can have your choice of books. Have a very blessed Christmas.




Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and two grandsons. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.

33 comments:

  1. Thank you, Nancy, for your interesting post. I always enjoy visiting here and learning new facts. Merry Christmas!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Melanie. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

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  2. That is so funny that people mail packages there just to be sent off again! Arizona is the last place I'd think of for a town named Christmas :) Fascinating. Merry Christmas Nancy!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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  3. I live in N.Y., and though many people picture the big apple, I live close to the top cities for snow fall. Sadly this means it's hard to imagine Christmas anywhere that is not wintry! (Sorry to 1/2 of the country.) But this is a delightful post, Nancy. Arizona has a special place in my heart. (I even used Humbug Arizona for a Christmas setting). Merry Christmas,friends!

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Debra. Arizona is full of interesting places and names. Love the Humbug idea.

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  4. Never heard of Christmas, AZ, but it doesn't surprise me that people send things for the special postmark. That happens in lots of towns with Christmassy names. Have a wonderful Christmas! bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Connie. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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  5. No, I haven't heard of Christmas, Arizona so this was so interesting to read. Postmarked cards have been very popular over the years so I can see why Christmas, AZ would have been. Oh, to find one of them!!
    Merry Christmas?
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for the comments, Connie. I tried very hard to find one of the postmarks to share in my blog, but couldn't. It would have been fun.

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  6. No I haven't. I just learned that there is a dedicated zip code for Santa in Canada :)
    Thank you for the interesting post.. Merry Christmas!
    dkstevensne(at)outlook(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Deanna. How funny to learn about Santa's zip code. Merry Christmas.

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  7. I had not heard of Christmas, AZ either, just Santa Claus,IN. Thank you for the fascinating post. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Linda Hutchins
    lindajhutchins@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Yes, I do know about Santa Claus, IN. I haven't been there though. Merry Christmas to you.

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  8. No I have not heard of Christmas, Arizona but I live about an hour from Christmas, Florida,lol.

    I love the novella's and I have all but two that you have listed, would LOVE to win "A Bride's Agreement" as the historical one's are my favorite! Thank you for the opportunity to put my name in the hat, lol.

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. I hadn't heard of Christmas, FL. I'm glad you enjoy the novella's.

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  9. Never heard of christmas arizona cool name though. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

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  10. I haven't but this is fascinating. ..thank you
    ..Christmas Blessings

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  11. Never heard of Christmas, AZ until I read this post! The history is fascinating of the copper mines. I can't imagine producing 55 million pounds of copper as well as some silver and gold! That's a lot of ore coming out of there :-) What a fun piece of history to learn today, thanks for sharing it! This is one of my favorite blogs to follow because I learn so much.
    Thanks for the chance to win a novella set, I like reading collections like this! Especially the marriage of convenience or mail-order brides.

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Trixi, thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoy the blog.

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  12. I enjoy and appreciate all the research you wonderful authors put into this blog. Thanks for the opportunity to learn something new again!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Betti. I'm always glad when you can stop by.

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  13. I had not heard of Christmas, AZ. How interesting! Thank you for sharing, Nancy. Merry Christmas!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you for dropping by, Britney. Merry Christmas to you.

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  14. Thank you for sharing, Nancy, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Merry Christmas!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you so much, Melanie. Merry Christmas.

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  15. Thank you for sharing such a fun piece of American history. Merry Christmas!
    mandaandtom at gmail dot com

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  16. Hi Nancy! I had never heard of Christmas, AZ and now you totally have my interest piqued to see what the Christmas postage stamp looks like! Looks like I'll be Googling this afternoon to at least see a picture of the stamp. Merry Christmas!
    kam110476 at gmail dot com

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  17. Interesting post, Nancy - thank you!! I hadn't previously heard of Christmas, Az. - we have a town named Mistletoe in Ky., some years we are fortunate enough to have snow in my area on Christmas, others not. I found other interesting Christmas related town names at www.mibazaar.com/christmas/.

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    1. P.S. Forgot my email addy: bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  18. Interesting! This is a very cool blog! I love these town names.
    Annie
    Justcommonly(at)gmail(dot)com

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