Ruby was a mining town that supported the Montana mine, about 70 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the Oro Blanco Mining District, near the Mexican border. Settled at 4,200 feet altitude, amongst beautiful rolling hills and rugged canyons west of the Atascosa Mountains, the mine and old mining camp lie at the foot of 5,370-foot Montana Peak, the most distinctive landmark in the area.
The first Europeans to visit the Ruby area were Spanish conquistadors in the late 1500’s. In the 19th century the region was referred to as “Oro Blanco,” or white gold after a distinctive light colored strain. Later, as colonists moved west, there was an influx of adventurers, mountain men, ranchers and miners. The first strike in the Montana vein was in the late 1870’s, and by the turn of the century, the town of Ruby had become the largest mining camp in the area. Site of fortunes made and lost and two famous double homicides, Ruby was once the largest lead and zinc producing mine in the state of Arizona. Our museum houses artifacts from mining days, plus photos of what Ruby was like when 1,200 people lived near the mine at the height of its production.