Superior Historical Society

Bob Jones Museum

Bob Jones Museum was opened in March of 1994 during Apache Leap Days Celebration. Current displays focus on local artifacts and include exhibits of photographs, mining equipment and geological samples. The Life Size Miner exhibit is a must see!

Visit us as we continue to expand our exhibits and develop new activities. Think of it as a fun-filled afternoon outing - A nearby place to unwind from your busy schedule - A place where the past comes alive!

We encourage you not only to visit the Bob Jones Museum but also to recognize the important role that history plays in strengthening our sense of community and the important role that preservation plays in keeping our history alive.

HOURS:
Friday 1 pm to 4 pm MST
Saturday 10 am - 4 pm MST
Sunday 10 am - 4 pm MST

There is no admission charge; all ages are welcome and there is adequate parking on the street.

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Robert T. Jones
By Gladys Walker

Robert Taylor Jones, known as “Bob” Jones, was born in the small community of Rutledge, Tennessee on February 8, 1879. His parents, Samuel Joseph and Sara Elizabeth (Legg) Jones were natives of Tennessee who had settled in the eastern section of the state in the Great Smokey Mountain area. His father, a lumber-mill operator, was active in politics and in the affairs of his community, and during his lifetime, served as a county peace office and as Circuit Judge. He fought in the Union Army during the Civil War.

After coming to the territory of Arizona in 1909, Bob Jones met Miss Elon Armstrong of Wikelman, daughter of W. T. Armstrong, a pioneer Arizona cattleman and a one-time sheriff of Gila County.

Bob and Elon were married in 1911 and shortly afterwards they settled down in the town of Superior. The couple had two children: Kathryn and Albert Claude.

Their former home, a very attractive house surrounded by huge shade trees in a well kept, spacious yard, is still standing at the northwest corner of Main Street and Neary Avenue-now the Bob Jones Museum.

Bob Jones was educated in the Tennessee public schools and, typical of most farm boys of that era, began his career as a self-taught practical engineer, while still in his teens.

His first job was with an engineering crew that was making a survey for a railroad.

By working very hard at his job and studying engineering books at night, Jones gradually worked his way up from stake maker to stake marker, to rodman, transitman and finally to foreman.

He helped build a railroad through eastern Tennessee and having acquired his education and a sufficient amount of job experience, he went into business for himself as a small contractor.

In addition to being an engineer in the construction of railroads, Jones spent a year working on the construction of the Panama Canal.

After returning to this country, he lived first at Los Angeles and soon was engaged in the construction of a railroad from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.

He served as a resident engineer when railroads were going through Beatty and Rhyolite to Goldfield during the mining boom in Nevada. He worked for the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company in the construction of a mill; and later, worked in other phases of mining which included “mucking” underground.

When the mining boom subsided, he returned to railroad construction; first in Mexico where he helped build a railroad through Sonora to San Lorenzo and Mazatlan.

In 1909 he came to the territory of Arizona working with the Globe and Gila Valley railroad; then as a construction engineer for the Ray Consolidated Mines; and later, worked for the Southern Pacific Lines.

He was in charge of the construction of the railroad from Kelvin to Ray Junction, and took part in the construction of a milling and mining plant of the Ray Consolidated Mines in Ray and Hayden.

In 1913, Bob Jones opened a drug store in Superior. This was to be the first of a chain of his “Jones Drug Company” which had stores located in Florence, Mesa, Tucson, Phoenix, and Superior.

During his years in Superior, Bob Jones was active in community service and served as Superior’s fourth postmaster from February 29, 1916 to August 17, 1921. He operated the post office out of his drug store.

He was licensed at the November 1923 meeting of the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and later was to become the first pharmacist to serve as a governor.

Jones was a member of the Superior School Board in the late 1920’s.

His Superior friends encouraged Jones to run for state senator. This launched him on his political career.

A Democrat, Bob Jones served as a Pinal County State Senator from 1931 to 1935. During his second term, he was elected president of the senate by a unanimous vote. During both terms, he was chairman of the committee on highways and bridges.

After leaving Superior, he served as a Maricopa County State Senator from 1937 to 1939. In the general election in November of 1938, Bob Jones was elected as the sixth governor of Arizona.

A quote from an Arizona publication reads, “his record in the state senate showed him to be liberal, and deeply interested in legislation that affected the working man and wage earner.”

Senator Jones was co-author of the minimum wage act for women. He guided it through the senate and served on the conference committee that brought it to the passing stage.

One editor wrote: “Senator Jones ramrodded a bill through the legislature that rendered immediate relief to old age pensioners whose pension checks were in a state of delay caused by shifting payment from county to state and federal setups.”

During the campaign for this third term as senator, Jones said, “I was an ardent champion of the enactment of Arizona’s old age pension law and will support security legislation that will result beneficially to our citizens.”

Working the Roosevelt administration in Washington, Governor Jones was able to put the nation’s first statewide food stamp program for the needy into operation. During his one term as governor, he worked towards, and fulfilled, a campaign promise to bring economy to state government.

The penitentiary at Florence, for example, was operated at a lower cost even though it housed about 200 more inmates; the property tax was reduced; and during his administration, Arizona users were permitted to buy 18% of the electricity generated at Boulder Dam.

Governor Jones also cooperated with President Roosevelt in building up our national defense. Working with the citizens of Bisbee, he was able to secure a larger water supply for Fort Huachuca. He also began putting the Arizona National Guard, armed with new automatic Garand rifles, on a wartime footing.

During his political career, Bob Jones was an advocate of good roads and assisted in the expansion of the State’s highway system. He was interested in Arizona’s educational system and in reduction of taxes.

After his one term as governor, 1939-1940, Bob Jones returned to his drug store business.

In 1953 he left the drug business and started the Jones Western Wear store in Phoenix at 101 E. Washington, the site of one of his drug stores. He also engaged in raising cattle on a ranch near Chandler.

In 1951, Bob Jones was appointed head of the Office of Price Stabilization in Phoenix. He held this position until it was abolished in 1953.

His hobbies included golf, fishing, and football. While he was governor, one newspaperman wrote: “The governor is a rabid football fan, and never misses an important game in this state when time and opportunity permit.”

Bob Jones died at his home, 3031 E. Manor Drive, Phoenix, Arizona, on June 11, 1958.

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Copyright ©2002, Superior Historical Society, Inc. Any duplication or re-distribution of this material is prohibited. All rights reserved.

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