As 2018 opens, I’m getting ready for the next season of visitors, mostly from the snow belt, who have come to Arizona and are now exploring the state, including Bisbee. A great portion of these folks are boomers, and thus they are heritage tourists, who appreciate history. My believe, as you probably can surmise, is that Bisbee offers up history in quantities available to no other community in Arizona.
I will spend quite a bit of time between now and April showing off Bisbee as a guide for Lavender Jeep Tours. A typical tour through the Historic District takes about 90 minutes, giving me, speaking at the rate of about 100 words per minute, an absolute maximum of 9,000 words to introduce these heritage-hungry folks to our town. It’s realistically more like 4,000 words.
That means they’re seeing Bisbee, which is a great experience, with captions spoken to them. But what, while they’re looking at the vast panorama visible from the end of High Road, they want to know more? They see, for example, the “terraces” of our open-pit mines. But what if they want to know more? What if they want the “backstory?”
They’ve heard a few sentences, but now, as Paul Harvey would have said, they want “the rest of the story.”
That’s what “Bisbee’s Backstory” is all about. You just saw the image. You just heard a few words about that image. But you realize you remember only a few of those words, though much of the scenery has been burned into your vision.
What if . . . you could pick up a book that is a series of images that you just saw, but with a few hundred words related to each that tell you more and that bring back to mind what you may have heard during the tour? It’s laid out in the order of the tour and gives you the opportunity to discuss with your travel partner what you saw in Bisbee and what you learned.
(Somewhere I have to add “more or less,” because each tour guide makes the trip his or her experience and also tries to cover areas and topics most desired by the visitors. So there’s no way to create a one-on-one parallel, but there will be much overlap.)
The book “Bisbee’s Backstory” will cover about 50 vignettes of Bisbee, with more information (trying not to duplicate what you heard on the tour) in a way that will make the tour more permanent in the memory of the visitor and more likely to bring them back next year to see and do more. And link them to even more-details information about Bisbee.
If your Jeep Tour could be compared to a movie, then this book is the “backstory” of the tour, the movie, explaining more of why it was included and how it came to be.
Blog posts that will be appearing over the next few months, as the book is being written, won’t be the text of the book, but an explanation of why these vignettes are important in Bisbee’s history, important in the Bisbee’s backstory. These posts will contain color photos, as you would expect on the web, while the same photos will appear in the book as black and white.
So while you’re awaiting the book, enjoy this blog posts, and feel free to comment. Obviously there isn’t space or time to include everything. For more on that subject, read the post of “Bisbee’s history canon,” and leave me a comment on that, too.