Up: Contents Previous: CLIMATE Next: THE INDIAN TRIBES

[page 94]


The completion of the Southern Pacific railroad across Arizona marks a new era in the history of the Territory. No longer is it an unknown land, isolated from the busy centers of civilization, trade, and active industry; the dangers and discomforts of long and dreary stage rides, have been superseded by the luxury of the palace care, and a trip to the "marvelous country," at the present time, will be found both pleasant and profitable. The Southern Pacific enters Arizona at Yuma and crosses the Territory between the thirty-second and thirty-third degrees of latitude. Its length within the boundaries of Arizona is over 400 miles. Since the building of the road, many towns and mining camps have sprung up in the country adjacent; an army of prospectors, traders, and speculators has filled the southern counties, and the steadily increasing volume of bullion which is finding its way out of the country, is an earnest of what other portions of the Territory will do when they are likewise in possession of rail communication. At Deming, in New Mexico, about 90 miles east of the Arizona line, another great transcontinental route, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad, forms a junction with the Southern

[page 95]

Pacific. This line (Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe) begins at Kansas City, Missouri, traverses the plains of Kansas and Colorado, enters New Mexico, and passes down the Rio Grande valley, from whence the main line turns west towards Arizona, while another branch follows the Rio Grande to El Paso. From Deming, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Company have their road surveyed to Tombstone and Tucson, where it is expected it will connect with the branch which is now building from Guaymas, through the State of Sonora. The opening of this great thoroughfare will give Southern Arizona direct rail connection with the Gulf of California, as its junction at Deming with the Southern Pacific has already linked it with the Mississippi valley and the Atlantic seaboard. Among the branch roads projected from the line of the Southern Pacific, is that from Benson station to the city of Tombstone, a distance of twenty-eight miles. Ground has been broken for this branch, and it will be finished at an early day. A branch has also been surveyed from Wilcox to the town of Globe. The length of this proposed line will be something over 100 miles. It will pass through one of the best grazing portions of the Territory, by the lately discovered coal-fields near the Gila, and will open up to capital and imigration that rich mineral region which has Globe for its center.

Another branch line is in contemplation from Casa Grande station to Pinal, by way of Florence. It will pass through the rich valley of the Gila and penetrate the extensive mineral region embraced in the Pioneer, Pinal, Mineral creek, and other rich districts of Pinal county.

The Southern Pacific company have surveyed a line from Yuma to Point Isabel, on the Gulf of California. A good harbor is said to exist at that place. The building of this branch will give the Territory another outlet to tidewater on the gulf. A line has also been surveyed from Yuma to the rich mining camps of Castle Dome and Silver district, on the Colorado river.

In the northern part of the Territory, the construction of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad is making rapid progress. This road leaves the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe at Albuquerque, and takes a westward course across the Territory, following nearly the thirty-fifth parallel of north latitude. The road will pass about 50 miles north of Prescott, the capital of Arizona, and will cross the Rio Colorado at the Needles. This road will have termini at San Francisco and San Diego. The Atlantic and the stock raiser, some of the finest grazing and richest mineral regions to be found on the continent; it will also pass through the best-timbered portion of the Territory. A franchise has been granted by the last Legislature to build a branch from Prescott to the Atlantic and Pacific. The distance, as has been before stated, will be about 50 miles, most of the way over a smooth, rolling country. The extensive mining, farming, and grazing interests, of which Prescott is the natural

[page 96]

center, require the construction of such a road, and it will no doubt be completed within a short time.

Besides the roads now building and those projected, which have been mentioned, the Utah Southern is being pushed down to the Colorado river, with the intention, as is generally supposed, of seeking an outlet on the Gulf of California. This would give Arizona a connection with the Union Pacific and another route to the East and West.

From this brief review of the railroad situation, it will be seen that all the principal points in the Territory will soon be in possession of rail communication. It is safe to say that within the next two years all the leading towns and mining camps will be linked to the outside world with iron bands. The benefits which cheap freights and rapid transit will confer on the Territory are almost incalculable. Besides that the building of the road on the thirty-fifth parallel will give the people of Arizona a competing line to the marts of the East and the West, it will help to maintain a healthy competition, and prevent discriminating and oppressive charges on freight and travel which the corporation controlling the Southern Pacific have always shown a disposition to indulge in when there was no opposition.


The Western Union Telegraph Company have a line through the Territory along the track of the Southern Pacific railroad, and connecting at Yuma, Tucson, and Tombstone, with all points east and west. The government has a line connecting all the principal military posts throughout the country. Branches of this line, which connect with the Western Union, run to Prescott, Phœnix, Florence, and other towns. It is under the charge of the Signal Service bureau, is a great convenience to the people, and, for years, was their only means of quick communication with the outer world. From Globe to the San Carlos Indian reservation, a line has been built by a stock company composed of prominent citizens of the former town. At the latter place it connects with the United States military line. With the completion of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad, another telegraph wire will stretch across the northern portion of the Territory, bringing the chief settlements in communication with all parts of the civilized globe.


The mail facilities of Arizona, while not perfect, are better than are generally found in the remote Territories. Stage lines connect with the leading towns and mining camps distant from the railroad, and mails are carried with regularity and dispatch. The opening of the Southern Pacific has brought the Territory in close connection with the East and West; letters from New York reach Tucson within six days, while Prescott is only four days distant from San Francisco. All the principal towns are supplied with daily mails, while every farming settlement or mining camp, of any size, has at least a weekly.

[page 97]

From Tucson stages run to Arivaca daily, connecting with the mining camps adjacent. This well-appointed line carries the mails to Altar and other points in Sonora. Another daily line runs from Tucson to Hermosillo, by way of Calabasas. From Tucson to Silver Bell, a flourishing mining camp, 50 miles distant, there is a semi-weekly line.

From Tombstone to Benson, on the Southern Pacific railroad, there are two daily lines of six-horse coaches, carrying mails and passengers. They have good stock, and make fast time. A tri-weekly mail is carried from Tombstone to Harshaw, passing by Camp Huachuca. A daily line is also run from Tombstone to Charleston, and a tri-weekly to Bisbee. There is a daily line from San Simon, on the Southern Pacific railroad, to the prosperous mining camp of Galeyville, in the Chiricuhua mountains. From Wilcox station, daily mails are carried to Safford, the county seat of Graham county, and also to Globe, the county seat of Gila. This line passes by Camp Grant and San Carlos.

A daily stage connects Casa Grande with Florence. From Florence a line runs to Globe, by way of Riverside, and another daily stage carries mails and passengers to Pinal and Silver King. This company have good stock and comfortable coaches.

Phœnix is connected by a daily line of coaches with the railroad at Maricopa, and by a daily and tri-weekly line with Prescott. A tri-weekly mail is also carried to Fort McDowell.

Prescott, distant 140 miles from the Southern Pacific at Maricopa, has one daily and one tri-weekly line of coaches to that point. These stages pass through Phœnix, and passengers have the choice of two routes to Northern Arizona from the south—by way of Wickenburg, and by way of Black Canyon. Good stock and roomy coaches are run on these lines. A tri-weekly line runs from Prescott to Mineral Park, the county seat of Mohave county, and also to Alexandria, a mining camp 30 miles south. A new line has been established from Prescott to the terminus of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad, which will be increased to a daily, as the road advances westward.

Mohave county has a tri-weekly mail from Mineral Park and Cerbat to Prescott; there is also a tri-weekly line to Port Mohave, on the Colorado river.

St. Johns, the county seat of Apache county, has regular mail connection with the Atlantic and Pacific railroad, and with the southern portion of the Territory. Yuma has a tri-weekly mail line to Castle Dome, Silver District, and Ehrenberg. Nearly all these lines have comfortable coaches and good stock. Passengers will find eating stations at convenient distances. The travelling is nearly all by day, and no pleasanter trip can be imagined than a ride on the outside seat of a Concord coach, behind a good team, over the ever-changing panorama of mountain, valley, and table land which make up the bold outlines and wonderful perspective of Arizona scenery.

Up: Contents Previous: CLIMATE Next: THE INDIAN TRIBES

© Arizona Board of Regents