A green haven along a desert highway, Oracle is one of the very few Arizona communities nestled under a canopy of live oaks. With an interspersion of huge granite boulders and towering granite dells, this area has serenity that is unique. Oracle began as a preferred environment for recuperating tuberculosis patients and a winter retreat for wealthy city folk. In true Teddy Roosevelt fashion, both patients and visitors slept in tents or on the porches believing the fresh air would bring good health. Eventually mining and ranching became the base not only for Oracle, but also for Redington and Mammoth. The peak in mining was Magma Copper’s huge San Manuel Mine, which opened in 1953 and produced copper for 50 years. Today the mine lays a silent mark on the landscape, the huge smelter carted away for scrap, and the twin smoke stacks lie in the dust.
About the Author
Author Catherine Ellis and her husband bought a house near Oracle in 1979 and have loved the oaks and people ever since. Drawing from images at the Oracle and San Manuel Historical Societies and the Arizona Historical Foundation, as well as supplementing with photographs from private collections, a picture is painted of mining, ranching, and everyday life in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert.