16. RAILROADS, STAGE AND POST ROUTES.
IT is admitted by all, that railroads are the great civilizers of the nineteenth century. This being the case, it is important to know what the prospects are for railroads in and through Arizona. One of the principal objections to immigration to Arizona, and one that has for years retarded its progress, has been its isolation, and a want of cheap and rapid communication through its borders, and with the outside world. Though there are several excellent stage lines, which have been of great benefit to the Territory, and accomplished all that the best of stage lines could do, they have not filled the want, which can only be supplied by railroads. The subject of railroad building is therefore of vital interest to the people of the Territory, as well as to the people of the whole Union, for when Arizona's wondrous mineral wealth is developed, all will be benefited.
Both of these great trans-continental routes would open and develop a wide extent of country through which they pass, could be worked at all times of the year, would shorten the time and distance across the continent, would cheapen the cost of travel and transportation, and would add much to the production of mining, agriculture, and grazing wealth.
The Southern Pacific Railroad of California, which is destined to be of immense benefit to Arizona, has been completed to Indian Wells for some months, a distance of less than 150 miles from the Colorado River, and, work being prosecuted with vigor, will be completed to Yuma before July of the present year. Owing to railroad complications at Washington, the public are not informed as to the route the road will take from Yuma, nor other circumstances connected with it. It will soon become the great connecting
Several other railroads are projected in the Territory, one of which will be a most important one, and articles of incorporation have been filed in the office of the Secretary of the Territory. This is the Prescott, Phœnix, Tucson, and Sonora Railroad. It is intended to connect with a railroad from Guaymas on the Gulf of California through Sonora to the southern line of Arizona, for which a concession has been obtained from the Mexican Government, and the state of Sonora.
The Utah Southern Railroad is of much interest to Arizona, and is now completed from Salt Lake City to Nephi, 120 miles south of Salt Lake. From Nephi to Prescott, Arizona, is less than 500 miles, and when completed to Prescott, will make direct connections with the Central and Union Pacific Railroads at Ogden, and give Northern Arizona a direct outlet in that direction.
The Southern Pacific Mail Line, owned by Messrs. Kerens & Mitchell, extends from San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean, to Mesilla, New Mexico, on the Rio Grande River, a distance of 850 miles, at which point it makes connections with other lines running to different cities and railroads east.
This great stage line enters Arizona on the west, at Yuma, and on the east at the Steins Peak Mountains, fifteen miles east from Apache Pass. It is a tri-weekly route, and is made in eight days from San Diego to Mesilla. The line is well stocked with horses, Concord coaches, and closed buckboard carriages. Good Concord coaches are run over most of the route.
The coaches are run promptly on the schedule time prescribed by the Government. The proprietors, superintendents, and employees, on the route, are well informed, affable, and attentive to every duty, and, as a consequence, travel and transportation over the route has much increased the past two years. It is a very popular route, and well patronized.
The California and Arizona Stage Line is the other great stage line of Arizona. The line now connects with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Indian Wells, runs thence to Ehrenburg on the Colorado River, thence to Wickenburg, from whence the main line
Another route, run by the California and Arizona Stage Company, is a weekly, from Prescott via Mineral Park and Cerbat to Hardyville, on the Colorado River. Petitions have been forwarded to increase this to a tri-weekly route. The officers of the California and Arizona Stage Company are Mr. James Stewart, President, and Dr. J. H. Pierson, Secretary. Messrs. Thomas and Nichols, Superintendents, are both good men, and employ none but first class drivers.
The two stage companies above mentioned have, for many years, kept up their several lines under the greatest difficulties imaginable, and with hardly a day's interruption. During the long years of the Indian wars, their coaches were often attacked by the savage foe, coaches rifled and burned, stock killed or driven off, employees murdered, and great pecuniary damage sustained in addition to loss of life, yet, through all these difficulties and dangers, they, with indomitable will and courage, fulfilled their obligations to the government and people, kept up their several lines, and are deserving the thanks and gratitude of all in Arizona.
A tri-weekly stage line runs from Phœnix to Camp McDowell, thirty-five miles. Another one runs from Phœnix to Maricopa Wells, connecting the two first described main lines—the distance is thirty miles.
A horseback mail route is run from Camp Grant, via old Camp Goodwin and Safford, to the Clifton Copper Mines. At Camp Goodwin it is intersected by a military post rider, who takes the mail via San Carlos to Camp Apache. From Camp Apache, the military post route runs north to the Chiquito Colorado, connecting with the line from Prescott to Santa Fé.
The great increase in population, the springing up of numerous and successful mining towns and camps, demand increased mail facilities in different parts of the Territory, which requires constant attention on the part of the present efficient Delegate in Congress, and which he is ever willing to give.