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Frank M. Murphy (1854-1917)

Mining Infrastructure (Railroad, Smelter Developer/Builder)

2017 Inductee from Mining's Past

Railroad Entrepreneur  Murphy was born in Maine, grew up in Wisconsin and went to California in 1877, finding employment as a stage driver. He went to Prescott the following year and worked in a haberdashery. Murphy developed an interest in minerals and in 1883 he and Douglas Gray, a mining engineer, took Yavapai ores to exhibits in Denver, Chicago and to the World’s Fair in New Orleans in 1884.

He met mine developers “Diamond” Joe Reynolds and Senator William Andrew Clark and acted as Clark’s unknown representative in the purchase of the United Verde mine, outbidding Phelps Dodge.  The initial investment of $250,000 realized a return of $100 million and solidified Murphy’s reputation as a mine developer and venture capitalist.

Murphy’s next move was to form a partnership with Reynolds in the Congress Gold Mine.  When Reynolds died, Murphy bought Reynolds’ share. Murphy soon realized that he had to build the Sante Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad (SFP&P) to insure the economic success of the mine.  By 1891, Congress was Arizona’s largest gold mine, producing nearly $8 million in gold.   

Murphy then built the Prescott and Eastern Railroad, which served mines in the northern Bradshaw Mountains including the Poland Mining Company; numerous other mines from Walker to Crown King; and Arizona Smelting Company’s smelter at Humboldt, all of which had Murphy interests. 

Other ventures included the Development Corporation of America made-up of mines around Tombstone. Non-mining enterprises included the purchase of the Arizona Republican newspaper and Castle Hot Springs hotel.  Murphy was president of the Prescott National Bank until his death.




Henry Lesinsky (1836-1924)

Developer of the Morenci Mine, Arizona

2017 Inductee from Mining's Past

Mine Infrastructure Developer  Henry Lesinski was born in Poland.  Following his father’s death, he was sent to England at age 14 to learn stone and wood carving.  He saved enough money to go to Australia where he worked on road crews and in the gold fields. With $600 in savings, he went to America to pan for gold in California.  After learning his uncle was in New Mexico, he joined him, formed a partnership and became a successful merchant around Las Cruces buying and selling local grains to the government.

In 1872, he was approached by Robert Metcalf for financial backing to develop claims near Morenci, AZ. Lesinski ultimately bought the controlling interest in Metcalf’s holdings and formed the San Francisco Mining Company.  This venture had to overcome problems from hostile Apaches, smelting complications, fuel availability, transportation logistics and marketing.  At times, profits from the store in Las Cruces were all that kept the operation afloat.

Transportation was solved by constructing and operating Arizona’s first railroad, a 20-inch narrow gage track. Fuel for both smelting and the railroad was charcoal made from mesquite and scrub oak.  Lesinski also hired Mexicans experienced in smelting to build and operate a smelter. Later, a larger smelter was built, operations expanded and problems minimized.

Six mines were established by Lesinski’s firm, employing 600 men. In 1882, a British firm bought Lesinski’s operations for $1,200,000 which became known as the Arizona Copper Company, Ltd.

 Lesinski was also an early developer of the City of El Paso establishing a general merchandising business.  He died in New York City.




M. Lee Allison (1948-2016)

Arizona State Geologist, Director of Arizona Geological Survey

2017 Inductee from Mining's Past

Arizona State Geologist and Director of the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)  Dr. M. Lee Allison received his education at the University of California, Riverside (B.A.), San Diego State University (M.S.), and the University of Massachusetts (Ph.D.). He worked in the oil industry for 15 years before transitioning to public service.

Lee was a dynamic leader of the Arizona, Kansas, and Utah Geological Surveys and made transparency and public service a cornerstone of these agencies. He helped develop the AZGS Earth Fissure program, which ensures public access to information on the location and extent of earth fissures and land subsidence, and established the AZGS online Document Repository, which offers the public free access to more than 100 years of AZGS publications and files archived by AZGS on the geology, geologic hazards, exploration potential (mineral, geothermal, oil and gas), mine operations, and mining districts of Arizona. He encouraged his staff to develop projects for the public good, e.g.,: Natural Hazards in Arizona viewer, Arizona Experience website, and the Great Arizona ShakeOut. Lee founded AZ Mining Review, the first e-video magazine in the U.S.

Lee was a true visionary, dedicated to expanding public access to the geosciences and forging cooperation among diverse groups. He marshaled the energy and resources of 48 state surveys to build the National Geothermal Data System and served on National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure, and the North American OneGeology Board of Directors. His collaborative spirit and drive to get reports, maps, and data online has assisted the mining and mineral development industry at all stages from grassroots exploration and project evaluations to environmental permitting, through to support for operations and mine closure.



Kathy Gail Whitman (1959-2012)

Environmental Permitting Specialist, Whitman & Company

2017 Inductee from Mining's Past

Kathy G. Whitman was born in Tulsa, OK and raised in Boulder, CO.  After receiving her degree in Range Ecology and Watershed Science from the University of Wyoming, she joined Bridger Coal Company in Rock Springs, WY focusing on reclamation and then obtained a second undergraduate degree in Integrated Studies from Weber State in Utah.

In 1989, Whitman relocated to Globe, AZ to work for Magma Copper Company at the Pinto Valley Mine in charge of environmental compliance and permitting and later joined Carlota Copper Company spear-heading the permitting of the Carlota Mine with the United States Forest Service.

As Whitman’s reputation grew, she founded Whitman & Company in 1993.  She became the “go to person” for permitting offering highly specialized consulting services and expertise to mine operations throughout the southwest.  Notable successes included the substantial leach operations expansion on both Forest Service and BLM lands at the then Cyprus Miami facility and the exploration campaign and initial environmental studies for the Rio Tinto/BHP Resolution Project near Superior.

In 2001, Whitman & Company merged with WestLand Resources of Tucson with Whitman bringing her renowned mining related environmental compliance expertise to the joint venture.  She also continued her consulting services and generously shared her knowledge with a new generation of environmental and mining professionals. 

At her passing in 2012, Whitman was not only known as a pioneer in environmental compliance but was also a respected non-fiction author recognized by the prestigious Mayborn Literary and Non-Fiction Conference.


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