Let's walk across the desert from Parker to Phoenix in 1872. We're starting at the Colorado River, at what was then called Parker's Landing, at the Colorado River Indian Reservation, actually several miles south of the modern city of Parker, Arizona. And we're walking east towards the brand new town of Phoenix, which is only two years old.
Don't look for a road, there isn't one, nor is there a name for the route we're taking. We're simply going from well to well. Our first stop is Osborn Well. No, there's no town there, just a place to get water, which is just about all we need. Our mules are carrying our provisions. There won't be any type of town until we get to Wickenburg, which is nearly 100 miles away. At a healthy walking pace, and if we don't get lost or hurt, it should take us about three days to get there, and then we can go visit the new town of Phoenix after that.
If you're wondering why there's a route there at all, it has to do with what is on everyone's mind - gold. The mines of Wickenburg have been producing an enormous amount of gold for years, and for gold people will do just about anything. The true Eldorado, of course, is in California, where so much gold was found in 1849 that the people who went there have been called 49ers ever since, but that area is just too crowded for me, I like the wide open spaces of Arizona.
We have every modern convenience, included a couple of shooting irons. One of them, which is the latest model, has rifling along the barrel which makes it much more accurate, better than the shooting iron that my grandpappy had back in his time, when he fought with George Washington. We also have the latest small handgun, which has a chamber that automatically revolves around to bring a new bullet up that you can shoot right away. What will they think of next? I learned how to use these during the War of Northern Aggression, which side were you on? Never mind, it doesn't matter now, we're all Americans, like Lincoln said. Yes, he was a good man.
Our next stop is Butler Well, and then Culling's Well. Then we'll be on our way to Wickenburg, where I understand there's gold dust on the street that they have to sweep just to keep it clean. We can restock our provisions there, maybe find some work for a while, but I'm anxious to get down to Phoenix. I've heard good things about it, and it's not too late to maybe buy some land for cheap before prices go up.
How will we afford it? Don't worry, we'll just pick up some chunks of gold in the Hassayampa River! Let's get walking. Hay up, Bessie!
|Phoenix, Arizona in 1872.|
Nothing remains of the old well stops. The railroad took a route that was (and is) slightly south of the route, going through places like Salome. I wish that I could show you the old route, but it's returned to the desert, populated now only with the native animals, and plants. People don't go there anymore.
Image at the top of this post: Showing the wells, and the route, in a 1916 map, just east of Parker, Arizona. North is to the right.
If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!
Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.