“I’ve been here since 1976. Nothing bad has ever happened. Well, wait. . . There was that time with the stabbings.”
The gracious proprietress leaned across what was billed as “Arizona’s smallest bar”. I had no reason to doubt that. The Room #4 Bar takes up most of a single room in the Silver King hotel. Room number four, in fact. I sipped on a vodka tonic as the ceiling fan struggled to keep the temperature under 85 degrees inside.
“When my ex-husband and I came here in ’76, Phelps-Dodge was just pulling out of the pit mines. But there was still mining going on. Still is some today, underground. But everyone was running away back then. All the miners. You could buy a house for $200. We bought five of them,” she smiled. Her cataract surgery had yet to be scheduled, but it didn’t keep her eyes from twinkling. “This place was a lot more expensive. We paid $20,000 for it” she laughed.
“Yes, there was that time back in the early ’80s. I was out of town when it happened. Someone in one of the rooms upstairs tossed a beer bottle off the balcony. It hit someone’s motorcycle down on the street. The biker was watching from across the street. He didn’t like it. Ran over here and up the staircase. Stabbed three guys right there on the stairs. Killed one of them. When I got back into town the police had tape lines on the staircase around where the bodies fell,” She said, cringing and shaking her head. I shook my head, too. These things happened, I knew. Most of the stories ended there.
“But you know,” she continued “that guy ran off to Wyoming. And the guys at St. Elmo’s across the street heard about it. A few of them went up there. Caught him in a parking lot. And that was the end of that.”
At least in the early ’80s, there was still a rough justice in effect in Bisbee, Arizona — and it didn’t turn back at the city limits.