The Old West
When imagining the Old West cowboys, cacti, mining, railroads and untouched scenic wonders may come to mind. Trails that were once occupied by native Americans, cowboys, U.S. Calvary and Miners, have transitioned into streets that allow tourists to experience areas like the Copper Corridor.
Originally the Copper Corridor was primarily inhabited by native people who gave way to both mining and military. Today, the area is rich with stories of stagecoach robbers and Apache warriors. In Fact, one of the only female stagecoach robbers, Pearl Hart, lived in the area. Regardless of the heat and the turbulent relationship between native Indians and new settlers, the areas offered beautiful land, possibility of fortune and the opportunity to experience the American dream.
Copper Corridor really is the last frontier of the United States. The Gadsden Purchase, a 29,670-Square-mile region of present day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by President Franklin Pierce on June 24, 1853. The purchase was the last major territorial acquisition in the contiguous United States.
Like most of this great nation, the arrival of the railroad made an enormous impact on the area. In fact, Arizona may not have existed without the railroad. The Gadsden Purchase, ratified in July, 1854, was motivated by President Franklin Pierce’s desire to provide a southern route for the railroad. The territory purchased included the lower fifth of the Arizona territory (a sizeable portion of the Copper Corridor) and parts of the southern New Mexico. With the exchange of $5,000,000 the United States officially purchased the area from Mexico.
In 1877, the railroad reached Arizona. The Southern Pacific Railroad became the first railroad to enter the Copper Corridor area. Starting in Hayden and moving Northeast to new mines, the railroad provided much needed transport of tools, equipment, and people. Two working railroads, the Phelps Dodge Morenci-Mining Railroad and the Copper Basin Railway, still move ore to this day. Be sure to visit the Caboose Visitor Center in Superior and view the old railroad car in Kearny Arizona.