The copper mining town’s fortunes have faded, but the prominent smokestacks, visible from Highway 77, remain an optimistic expression of prosperity and jobs following Kennecott’s $40 million expansion. Now owned by the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO), Hayden’s copper smelter is one of only three still in operation across the United States.
Founded in 1909, Hayden started as a company town owned by the Kennecott Copper Corporation, for employees extracting high-grade copper ore from nearby hills. The town was named for Charles Hayden of Hayden, Stone & Co., who made his fortune investing in copper mining.
Hayden had a common boundary with Winkelman, which was located on the banks of the Gila River. At that time, the entire town of Hayden was in the process of being built, and gradually the 'tent-house' town was replaced by permanent housing.
Description: View of Hayden showing housing and businesses including The John MacIntyre Co. General Merchandise. Caption on the reverse of the card indicates the card was printed by The Feicke-Desch Printing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. The postcard is postmarked Hayden, April 15, 1913 and addressed to Miss Mary Grimes, #1413 Clark Ave., Parsons, Kansas. Message reads: " 4-14-13 My Dear Mary - Your postal rec'd a few days ago was truly delighted to hear from you. Your letter found us just dandy. I thought it Xmas (?) you were writing. Love to your Mother + all. I am as ever your friend. Lillie" Date Original: 1913-04-14
The town of Hayden was laid out on three distinct hills, but not in a true north-south pattern. The central hill was referred to as 'Mill Side', and was the site of the mill, stores, and schools.
To the east and across the one-lane bridge was 'Smelter Side', smelter and housing site of future American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO).
On the westerly side was 'San Pedro'.
The fact that Hayden was a 'company town' meant that housing and jobs were tied together. If a worker lost his job, he also lost his house. When a worker retired, he moved. There were not many very old people nor seriously poor in company towns. The nearby neighborhood of San Pedro differed, in that the householder was given a long-term lease on a plot of ground and built his own house.
It was difficult to keep the town of Hayden going during the Great Depression. The mill and smelter shut down in 1931, and many townspeople moved away. The few workers remaining worked about four days per month, maintaining the power plant and serving as watchmen. It was a most difficult time everywhere in the United States.
In 1935 war threatened Europe, and mining companies began the 'never-to-end' acquisition of government contracts and subsidies, and workers started returning to Hayden. The mining industry experienced yet another upturn in the boom-and-bust cycle as war and domestic preparedness increased the demand for copper. When workers started returning, they were thankful for employment, but a feeling of being temporary was pervasive. Though happy to be back at the job, shut-down memories were strong.
In 1937 the CCC (Civilian Construction Corps) camp was built and put into operation on the flat south of the Gila River and just east of the bridge. Many of the CCC 'boys' married local girls and stayed to become permanent citizens. Their work kept the local roads usable; they performed flood control and forest and wildlife conservation.
After World War II the Hayden area continued to go through its ups and downs, but it still remains a mining community to this day.