Just a little bit outside of the Country Club Vista subdivision in northwest Payson lays a rather interesting spot. It’s a little bit more than 12 acres in size and a few years ago it was slated to become a subdivision itself. Recently though, it’s continued to be empty with the exception of a passerby or two. But a 100 years ago it was a much more active place. It was the Summit Mine.
A 1920s University of Arizona Mining Bulletin on gold and copper deposits near Payson, Ariz. omits mention of the Summit Mine. This was a spot that was known, but which never seemed to be in the upper echelon of area mines. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t discovered and it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t considerable speculation around it at various points in time.
Records indicate that James Fleet and G.V. Kell filed a claim on the Summit Mine on April 13, 1881. It’s uncertain what happened after that, but by 1890 Herbert H. Logan had filed a patent on the claim. It was one of several patents that Logan had on mines in the area. Amongst the others were the Delaware, Oxbow and Gowan. Not a whole lot is known about Logan. He died in Guaymas on Nov. 27, 1901 of dysentery.
Off and on work appears to have continued on this mine over the next couple of decades. A 1925 report on the Payson Mining District stated the following on this mine, “This is about two and half miles northwest of Payson. There were quite extensive workings, which are now entirely caved. Considerable ore is said to have been produced and a large dump is stated to average $7 in gold. This is worthy of later investigation.”
In the 1940s work resumed again on this mine. It’s worth noting that a lot of marginal mines were worked during that time as America battled in World War II. It appears that quite a bit of work was necessary to resume mining. But the geological features section and summary helps to show why there was some interest in resuming work.
“A body of white to gray limestone is seen immediately north of the Summit workings, the long axis of this lime body, being closely following the same course as the Summit vein, the strike of which is about South 21 degrees East; the vein gangue composed of schist and ferruginous quartz where exposed, is of medium to soft texture, favorable towards mineral disposition.
“In conclusion beg to state the limited workings does not allow more definite [sic] forecasts, but a prospect of merit so far is indicated by the small amount of surface work, and I recommend that the work of the Main Shaft cleaning and repairs, should be made, in order that the splendid grade of ore as found at this main shaft collar, can be followed into its lateral and downward course.”
Shortly after this report The Summit Copper Mines Inc., was formed on Sept. 8, 1943. They were originally capitalized at 10,000 shares which eventually increased to 150,000 by late 1950. According to a prospectus from 1952, the company’s Board of Directors consisted of: R.W. Thompson, president, Payson, Ariz.; A.L. Gagnier Sr., vice president, Phoenix, Ariz.; Nina M. Thompson, secretary-treasurer, Payson, Ariz.; J.E. Shelton, director, Phoenix, Ariz.; H.R. Meadows, director, Phoenix, Ariz.; E.J. Cox, director, Phoenix, Ariz.; Marven Miller, director, Phoenix, Ariz.; Bob Cushman, director, Phoenix, Ariz.
The Thompsons appear to have been the driving force behind the company with R.W. also serving as general manager. It looks like the company never made much money, always believing that there was a lot of value yet in the mine, but never managing to really turn it into something. By the mid 1960s the company dissolved and the property then went through a series of owners.
In the early 2000s the property was targeted for development. The subdivision was to have consisted of 28 lots and was to be called Summit Springs. A preliminary plat was even filed with Gila County. Since then development has stagnated and the property current lies vacant as it waits for its next incarnation to be decided.