Ruby Arizona was not always called Ruby. In the early years it was known as Montana Camp but more on that later. Ruby is located in the Oro Blanco mining district north and west of Nogales. This was an area that was first prospected by the Spanish for gold and silver in much earlier times. But in the 1870's prospectors discovered and high grade quarts veins that became known as the Montana vein and from that point on the boom was on.
The Montana Mine was a very prosperous mine. It was owned by the Orion Mining Company. The Orion Mining Co. also owned the Ostrich mill where the ore was stamped and ground to powder. Early in the 1900s, the company built an amalgamation and a cyanide mill to help recover more of the gold and silver that was being mined around Montana Camp. From 1916 to 1918, the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Exploration Co. operated the Montana Mine and mined out $260,000 in gold, silver.
In 1909 Montana Camp changed its name to Ruby. Julius Andrews, one of the towns merchants who ran a store there decided to rename the town after his wife, Lillie B. Ruby Andrews. Running the store he was the one who applied to get a post office at Montana Camp and at that time decided to rename the town. By this time the town had hundreds of residents and close to 300 workers in the mines alone. It was a prosperous town.
Now Ruby was located very close to the Mexican border and was also known as a rough town. Lots of times unruly types from the south would cross over into the town and raise hell. In 1920, store owners John and Alex Fraser were gunned down in a robbery by a couple of Mexicans. One of the mexicans was shot but the other skipped back into Mexico. About a year later there was another robbery and the owners which was a couple were gunned down also. The couple was Frank Pearson and his wife.
Then in 1926 the Eagle Picher Mining company took over the Montana Mine. This company built a pipeline from the Santa Cruz river to bring water to the mine , mill and the town. From the years 1928 and 1940, about 780,000 tons was mined from Montana Mine at a profit of $4.5 million. By 1940 the ore ran out and the mine closed down and people left the town.