Explorations of Railroad Routes, 1857 Report
This is a quick page about an item for sale on Ebay. As I have said, at one time the only significant mountains in the Phoenix area were the Sierra Estrellas, and the only inhabited area were the Indian villages (Pima and Maricopa) along the Gila River South of what is present day Phoenix. There was also a small trading post and campsite known as Maricopa Wells, located at the convergence of the Gila and Santa Cruz Rivers, about 10 miles south of the South Mountains, in the Maricopa Plains. Phoenix and the other cities in the "Valley of the Sun" didn't really get going until the mid 1860's when Mormons and other pioneers moved in to ocupy the area. In 1867 Jack Swilling, a former Confederate soldier, dug a canal and put Phoenix on the map - unil then what is now the Phoenix Metropolitan area has inhabited by ruins, coyotes, snakes and scorpions.
So, before there was Phoenix, Tempe or Mesa City, before Camelback, Papago Hills and the Phoenix Mountains, there were only Maricopa Wells and the Sierra de las Estrellas. This is a copy of the item for sale on Ebay (click on the icon for the full image). It is a first edition of the official report to the Secretary of War, somebody known as Jefferson Davis, on the discoveries of Lt John Parke, relating to the "Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean." No, I did not buy the item - I don't have $5,000 laying around that I didn't need. Here is a link to my first page on the history of the Estella Mountains ().
As I have said before, the Maricopa Wells is gone (kind of, see note below) and the Estrellas have been pretty much forgotten for over a hundred years, even though they are the most historic and largest Mountains in the Phoenix area. I will end this page with some of the over 100 satellite photos that I have collected of the area. The only thing common to all of them are that the Estrellas are visible - well, not only visible, but easily the most recognizable feature in the pictures. Warning: some of the pictures are big!
Regarding Maricopa Wells, the fact is that it is really not gone. The Gila Trail (also known as the Butterfield Stage Route) and the location of the Wells and its campsite - where thousands of pioneers stopped to rest before making the infamous 'Jornada de las Estrellas' across the 'forty mile' desert. Here is a link to a main page about the history of Maricopa Wells () and here is another link to the page about my discovery of the fact that it is still visible () more than 150 years later - if you know where to look.