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Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
San Manuel
Pinal County, Arizona


Page Contents for San Manuel, Arizona

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History & History-related items

City Attractions

Historical Events

Chamber of Commerce.



Statistics & Facts


in south-central Arizona, about 45 miles northeast of Tucson.
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History & History Related Items

San Manuel was built in 1954 to house the miners working at the Magma Copper mine and was a company town.
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San Manuel Airport, San Manuel golf course
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San Manuel Historical Events

2004, January 10
Death of Mr. Kyle Erickson
A past city resident of San Manuel, Arizona. Mr. Kyle Erickson, age 38, was killed in a automobile accident Saturday evening, January 10, 2004, when a vehicle he was a passenger in lost control and went through the steel guardrails of the bridge over the All-American Canal. He was a past teacher in your school system and has a daughter named Sarah. His funeral was Friday, 16 January 2004 in Hayfield, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1983.
Submitted by Dawn

1954, November 4
November 4, 1954, the first regular Baptist worship services were held in the home of Jody and Britt Towery, 202 McNab. The Towerys came from the First Baptist Church of Eustace, Texas to begin the church. They later (1957) went as missionaries to Taiwan, Hong Kong and eventually directed SBC liaison work with the China Christian Council.

The first building for the church at First and Nichols Avenue was dedicated in June 1955. At the time the smelter was in the process of being completed. A hospital was in place and the first shopping center taking shape. The Valley National Bank was the only bank and Robert Searcy was branch manager. Searcy, of Arkansas, was also the first deacon in the church.

The San Manuel Miner of June 21, 1955, announced a guest speaker for the First Baptist Church. He was Emmett McLoughlin, then superintendent of Memorial Hospital in Phoenix. A former Catholic priest-social worker, his book, "People's Padre" had more than 18 printings by The Beacon Press, Boston.

My family and I were some of the original inhabitants of San Manuel, Arizona in 1954.
Submitted by F. Daniel Powell, now of Morgantown, West Virginia

I worked in the mine engineering department in 1956 and the mine was producing copper then. The smelter was in full operation then too. My father-in-law, Roy Forsnas was the first San Manuel School superintendent from 1954 to 1972. He supervised the building of the high school and grade schools. All schools were in operation in 1956. My mother, Irene McGrew, opened the first beauty shop in 1956 and remained owner until 1993. She still resides there.
All the houses were completed by 1954, with the exception of a few of the upper level management houses.
Submitted by Ralph McGrew

Magma Copper Mine owned the town to provide homes for the miners. Magma had been fined for years due to the pollutionthat the smelter created. In order to survive and become more efficient, Magma decided to convert theiroperation from a standard furnace type operation, to one that used a method called "flashing". If Iremember correctly, Magma had to borrow $ 215 million for the demolition of the old furnaces, creation ofthe new "flash furnace", and the oxygen plant, required to make the "flash" part of the furnace work. Thebanks and other lending institutions would not loan the money to Magma unless it converted San Manuel from a "Company Town" to a private town. A deal was offered to those households that were renting homes from Magma so that they could purchase their house, or purchase another house there intown. Those who decided not to buy a home were given a specific amount of time to move out, so theirhomes could be put up for sale. The old "Townsite" rental office turned into a real estate broker's office,and the remaining unoccupied homes were put up for sale. Since most people did not want to buy ahome in San Manuel, that caused a problem that needed a solution. With the dismantling of the oldfurnaces, and installation of high-tech pollution capturing equipment, the air quality greatly improved. Itwas then decided to turn San Manuel into a "Retirement Community".

It was years later that BHP purchased the Magma properties (San Manuel, Superior, Pinto Valley,Az., Robinson Nevada, and several properties located outside the US. When the bottom fell out of thecopper industry, BHP decided to shut the plant down. It came at the conclusion of an $ 85 million retrofit,to increase the capacity of the flash furnace, with other improvements. The furnace was never re-lit. Theplant was mothballed.

San Manuel Chamber

San Manuel-Mammoth-Oracle Chamber of Commerce
Box 1886
Oracle, AZ 85623
Phone: 520-896-9322

San Manuel Organizations

San Manuel-Mammoth-Oracle Chamber of Commerce
Box 1886
Oracle, AZ 85623
Phone: 520-896-9322

San Manuel Libraries

San Manuel Public Library
108 5th Street
San Manuel, AZ 85631
Phone: 520-385-4470

San Manuel Schools

Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District
P.O. Box 406
San Manuel, AZ 85631
Phone: 520-385-2337

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