The RailRoad Comes To Wickenburg - Wickenburg, AZ
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member rjmcdonough1
N 33° 58.136 W 112° 43.931
12S E 339969 N 3760063
This marker stands in front of a restored steam engine at the Wickenburg train station.
Waymark Code: WMZWMV
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 01/14/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
Views: 6

The railroad arrived in Wickenburg in 1894 and made the nearby mines feasible. This marker describes the arrival of the Santa Fe railway line in 1894. The text is as follows:
"Wickenburg waited a long time for its railroad - thirty years in all - from 1865 to 1895.

After discovery of the Vulture gold ledge by Henry Wickenburg in 1863, and especially after its sale to a New York company in 1866 and the establishment of the Vulture Mine, there was an obvious need for carriage of the heavy gold-bearing ores. In addition, the Army Department of the West, covering California and Arizona, needed better and quicker transport.

A proposal was made for a railroad run from Wickenburg to the California coast at Wilmington near Los Angeles and Drum Barracks, and enabling legislation was passed in Arizona.

But the Wickenburg to Wilmington route never became a reality, and the ore continued to be transported more than 700 miles to San Francisco at crippling expense by wagons. In turn wagons brought back to Wickenburg the limited amount of foodstuffs, dry goods, and fuel the struggling community could purchase. Without a railroad, the very real wealth contained in the Vulture Mine simply could not be realized, and by 1875, the Vulture Mining Company was in Sheriff's hands for taxes.

In 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad entered Arizona from California at Yuma, making the Vulture Mine a more feasible proposition. The wagons could reach the new railroad line at Maricopa, Arizona, a 70-mile journey south from Wickenburg.

Vulture Mine was reopened by James Seymour of New York, and in 1879, a 40-stamp mill was built. Gold prospecting was renewed at a feverish pace all over Northern Maricopa and Yavapai Counties.

By 1887, "Diamond Joe" Reynolds of Chicago and his partner, Franck Murphy, brother of Territorial Governor N.O. Murphy, started working another major gold area just north of Wickenburg at Marinez, which is now Congress Junction.

Meanwhile, Governor Murphy was taking care of railroad-enabling legislation in the way of grants, tax exemptions and helpful freight rate tariffs. By 1881, the partners had started a central Arizona railroad from Ashfork to Prescott, and they were finally able to get their railroad cars down to the mine at Congress Junction. Local townspeople anxiously watched the rail's progression of the "Peavine Line" through the summer and fall of 1894 as it approached Wickenburg. Finally, on January 16, 1895, one of the nation's leading railroads had a branch line connecting Wickenburg to Phoenix, Prescott and the world.

By July, 1895, a wooden depot, sheltering the passengers and housing the telegraph and a Wells Fargo office along with other freight, was stretched out along Railroad Avenue, now Frontier Street in the heart of Wickenburg.

From 1895 on, the artisan-built wooden depot became the center of Wickenburg's social life, the big event of the day being the trip down to meet the early evening train. Buildings, businesses and homes quickly sprang up around the new line, ushering in today's thriving downtown area.
Marker Name: The Railroad Comes To Wickenburg

Type of history commemorated: Event

County: Maricopa

Name of any agency/ agencies setting marker:
Unknown


Year placed: Unknown

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