State-of-the-art Audrey shaft and headframe was the largest facility of its kind built by the United Verde Extension (UVX) Company during its years of operation. The shaft was constructed in 1918 only after the location of an extraordinarily rich copper deposit made the investment economically viable. The search for the "bonanza' had not been easy! James S. "Rawhide" Douglas had obtained an option on the company in 1912 and had dug for copper, apparently in vain and against the advice of his own geological experts and others who claimed that the mine would never be profitable. Against all odds, Douglas persisted, and finally in December of 1914, with his corporate resources almost exhausted and much to the dismay of the mining world, his crews ran into the incredible deposit. It was not as large as that of United Verde, but it was twice as rich in copper per ton of material. From 1912 to 1916, the price of UVX stock jumped from $0.15 per share to $35.
The Audrey shaft was completed in 1918 as part of a complex operational plan that sought to maximize the amount high-grade ore extracted, reduce fire risk (a major concern in this sulfur-rich ground), and optimize worker safety. The Daisy shaft was relegated to air supply, while the Edith served as the workhorse for the handling of materials. The Audrey shaft
was assigned the task of hauling ore to the surface in its early life and after 1919 to the 1,100-foot level. It was then dumped in a specially constructed chute to the 1,300-foot level where it was transported underground via electric trains to the new Clemenceau smelter, south of what is now "Old Town" Cottonwood. The mining operation as a whole was considered one of the best designed and safest in America.
The shaft itself is made up of three independent, concrete-lined segments with major horizontal hubs at the 800-, 1200-, 1300-, 1400-, 1500-, 1600-, and 1700-foot levels. The headframe consists of a structure of wood beams supporting three sets of pulleys over which cables ran that hoisted cargo cages. Cage guides on the headframe served as transitions from each of the shaft segments to the free air above ground.
The UVX operation in Jerome was concentrated in a fairly small area bordered by the Little Daisy hotel on the hill to the west, serving as a residence for miners and the Douglas Mansion to the east. A complex of buildings and other structures were clustered next to the Edith and Audrey shafts. These included, among others, a power substation fed by TAPCO (Childs/Irving system), a machine shop, a warehouse, and two office buildings.
During the years from 1919 through 1938 the Audrey headframe lifted more than 3.6 million
tons of ore yielding 320,000 tons of copper, 190 tons of silver, and 5.3 tons of gold. The profit was immense, averaging in excess of 70 percent, and continued at this pace until the price of copper fell precipitously in the early stages of the Great Depression.