Mapping Morenci seeks stories, family history about the mining town

- Gila Valley Central Photo

MORENCI — Two people with a keen interest in landscape architecture are asking for the public’s help in telling the story of Morenci.

Mapping Morenci: A Creative Community Storytelling Workshop, will take place Thursday, July 28, from 6-8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 12:30; both at the Clifton Train Station.

The project is the brainchild of Sam Oberter, an architecture and landscape photographer, and Emily Wettstein, who is an assistant professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia.

“My collaborator (Oberter) . . . stumbled upon Morenci while driving through Arizona and became captivated by the mine, its status as one of the last two remaining company towns in the country, its remarkable history, and the community he met while here. I then joined the project,” Wettstein said in an e-mail to Gila Valley Central, who added that she’s “interested in people’s relationship to land, their sense of place, and how the history of a place and its people continually shape the present and how we design the future.”

Wettstein and Oberter are asking for the public’s help by sharing stories, photos and any other storytelling objects of Morenci, detailing the changes the community has experienced as a result of the mining operation.

During the workshop, the pair will conduct audio recordings of residents’ stories, than can be paired with submitted photographs and drawings, as well as those taken present day by Oberter, for multi-media storytelling about the community, with the goal being a new Morenci Almanac.

There will be English and Spanish translators available at the workshops, as well as refreshments.

For those unable to attend but are still interested in sharing stories call 928-235-5794 or e-mail