This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Time-traveling to the ghost town of Bosque, Arizona



Yesterday, in my travels just south of Phoenix, Arizona, I visited the ghost town of Bosque, Arizona. Well, even ghost town implies too much, there's nothing there, no buildings, no old saloons with rusty door hinges swinging in the wind. Nothing but some scattered junk (which may have been more modern than the town), broken glass, and the grave of the baby Maria Consorcia Urias.

I was there with my fellow-adventurer Bob Cox, who has a fascination for places like this, and who is a volunteer at the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, which is at 15th Avenue and Jefferson in Phoenix, but has an interest in all cemeteries all over Arizona. Sometimes there are elaborate cemeteries, with big fancy headstones, and sometimes there are just places where people have lived, and died. Bosque is one of those places.

This place is on Arizona 238 between Gila Bend and Maricopa. This is a very old route, and something that I will continue to research. Other than Maria's grave, we found nothing else at Bosque yesterday. My understanding is that there are more graves, but this is the only one that has been protected by a metal fence, which was added in 1996, so it's visible as you drive by.

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When I look at places like this, my first thought is always, "What were people doing here?" It just seems so out in the middle of nowhere. The name should have been a clue, but it wasn't until this morning that I saw the entry for Bosque in "Arizona Place Names". A bosque (which is Spanish for "forest grove") is a thicket of mesquite. If you've only seen mesquite trees in Phoenix, and have never seen them growing in the wild, it's actually quite amazing how thick and dense these groves were. Of course, they're all gone there along the railroad tracks were Bosque was. The people of Bosque cut them down, because, well, that's why they were there. And the fact that there was a bosque of Mesquite meant that there was water here, that is, it's a riparian area, just like the original townsite of Phoenix was. That's an area that collects enough water, during floods, to grow Mesquite trees. If you've ever been out hiking, and came across a bosque of Mesquite, you know that it's practically impossible to get through. Mesquite really isn't a tree as much as it's a large bush, that reclines, and ties in with other trees. A tangle of Mesquite would require a very sharp machete to get through, and I'm sure the people of Bosque had machetes!

From "Place Names in Arizona"

Like I say, if you go to Bosque, you won't see anything. There really isn't anything left. In fact, I'm not entirely sure why the name even shows up on a map. I would have taken more photos, but all you would have seen would have been creosote, the railroad tracks, and the desert. But there were people there, and if you stand there, you can feel them.


Image at the top of this post: the grave of the baby Maria Consorcia Urias, who was born on June 22nd at 6 pm in 1926 and died on the 24th of the same month at 3:08 in the morning. Her parents were were Gregorio Urias and M. Emiliana de Urias. It is simply poured concrete and the inscription was written into the concrete when it was wet, in 1926.