Get this. On the 14th, this backwater state of Arizona will “celebrate” its centennial. State officials recently replaced the capitol’s damaged copper dome, the dome a symbol of Arizona’s heritage. What would be more fitting than to replace it with copper mined and milled in Arizona?
After all, Arizona calls itself the Copper State. It produces 63 percent of all copper produced in the U.S. Copper was one of the 5 C’s that developed Arizona along with cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. The 90-block heart of downtown Phoenix was officially named Copper Square.
The capitol dome has always been made of copper sheeting going back about 110 years when the capitol was built. The replacement dome came courtesy of a hailstorm last year and an insurance policy that covered the $220,000 cost, the Arizona Republic reported today.
But guess what? No one seems to know for sure if even a single ounce of Arizona copper was used.
“There’s a very good chance there’s Arizona copper in that dome,” Department of Administration spokesman Alan Ecker was quoted as saying. Ecker’s comment is apparently based on the thin air of statistics. Eight of 13 active copper mines in the U.S. are located in Arizona, he pointed out. Ah, great logic. Roll those dice, baby.
What is known is this. The copper was milled in Pennsylvania. For those geographically challenged, Pennsylvania is nowhere near Arizona. It isn’t even in the Southwest. It is so far away I struggle to spell it.
Don’t expect outrage from Copper State citizens. There is no heart and soul involved in the centennial. Many are immigrants from other parts of the U.S. Many are from Mexico. They came here to make money or retire, play golf and enjoy the sunshine. There is no caring for Arizona history here.
To me, the cold and shallow nature of the Copper State is revealed in the captiol’s replacement dome. Any centennial celebration rings hollow. State officials no doubt took the cheapest option.
Nary a thought of Arizona’s past.