AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #40a -- Los Angeles, California to El Paso, Texas
Part 6 - Tucson to Lordsburg
Maricopa to Tucson
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Lordsburg to El Paso

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501.5 TUCSON station, 400 N. Toole Avenue.  Elevation approximately 2396 ft.  The station was built in 1907, then restored in 2004 to its 1942 appearance.  In addition to AMTRAK, the historic station now also houses office space, a gallery, a restaurant, and a transportation museum.  Tucson is the county seat of Pima County, and is the second largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix.  It is located in the Southwestern United States “sun belt,” and claims 3800 hours of sunshine per year. It is sometimes known as “The Old Pueblo.”

          The name Tucson likely comes from either the Pima Indian words “Sluyk-son” or the Papago words “Stryuk-zone,” both meaning “dark or black spring.”

         Paleo-Indians are believed to have lived in this area since at least 12,000 years ago.  Between 600 AD and 1450, the Hohokam Indians lived here and built extensive irrigation canals for agricultural use.  The first European to visit the area was Jesuit Missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino, who built the Mission San Xavier del Bac in 1700.  In 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain, Tucson was part of Mexico.  During the Mexican-American war in the 1840’s, the city was captured by the Mormon Battalion, who was assisting the government in returning the Mexican-held lands to the United States.  The area was later returned to Mexican control, however.  Tucson then became a part off the 1858 Gadsden Purchase, and not part of the lands seceded to the United States by Mexico after the war.  Shortly after the war, Tucson became a stage station on the San Antonio-San Diego stage line as well as the Butterfield Overland Mail line.  During the U.S. Civil War, Tucson was the Western Capital of the Confederacy.  In 1862, the California Column drove the Confederates out of Arizona (see MP 462.5 above – the Battle of Picacho Pass).

         In 1885, the University of Arizona, was founded as a land-grant college on over-grazed ranch land between Tucson and Fort Lowell. In 1912, Arizona gained Statehood.  In its history, Tucson has existed under the flags of Spain, Mexico, the U.S. Confederacy, and the United States.  During the territorial and early statehood periods, Tucson was Arizona's largest city and commercial center, while Phoenix was the seat of state government (beginning in 1889) and agriculture.

         Because of the sunshine, dry air, mountains, and rich fertile desert land, Tucson is a popular destination for vacationers as well as retirees.  Among its many cultural, natural, and historical attractions are the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the University of Arizona and Arizona State Museum, Old Tucson Movie Studios, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Pima Air & Space Museum (see MP 510 below), Tucson Botanical Gardens, Fort Lowell Museum, Tucson Mountain Park, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (see MP 505.5 below), plus two Native American owned casinos, the Casino of the Sun, and the Desert Diamond Casino.  The city sis also home of the annual Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Folk Festival, Tucson Rodeo, Fourth Avenue Street Fair, and other events.

          Tucson was the home of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger, as well as mobster Joseph Bonanno, actresses Barbara Eden and Farrah Fawcett, television personalities Savannah Guthrie and Geraldo Rivera, singers John Denver and Linda Ronstadt, musicians Van Clyburn and Duane Eddy, U.S. Senator Gabrielle Giffords, former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. astronaut Frank Borman, and many others.

502.5 On the right in the distance (eastbound) is “A” Mountain, a part of the Tucson Mountains, which is a volcanic peak composed of Oligocene- to Miocene-aged volcanic and intrusive rocks. The “A” stands for the University of Arizona, which sis located in Tucson.

504-505 Pass through large Union Pacific Tucson Rail Yard

505.5 Pass through the community of Polvo, whose name is the Spanish word for “dust” or” powder;” the community was so named because of the dry, dusty climate here.

          As we round the bend, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is visible on the left (eastbound).  The Base was named in honor of World War I pilots Lieutenants Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan, both Tucson natives.  The Base was established in 1925 as the Davis-Monthan Landing Field.  The host unit headquartered at Davis–Monthan is the 355th Fighter Wing, assigned to the Twelfth Air Force, part of Air Combat Command (ACC).  The Base was a key ACC command center, and was active during World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and currently the Global War on Terrorism.  The Base is also the home of the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s aircraft bone yard, for the storage of excess military and government aircraft.

508    Interstate 10 is now visible on the right again.  Across the highway is the community of Drexel-Alvernon.

510    On the left (eastbound) is the Pima Air & Space Museum, operated by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, affiliated with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (see MP 505.5 above). On display are nearly 300 aircraft, mainly from World War II, many of which are visible from the train.  The Museum is also the home of the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Titan Missile Museum is also located nearby.

         We are now entering the Mexican Highland Subprovince of the Basin & Range physiographic Province, and will be in this subprovince for the remaining journey to El Paso.  The Mexican Highland Section has somewhat more variable structure than the Sonoran Desert. Most of the short mountain ranges are fault-block ranges, and most of the section has external drainage (rivers flow outside of the province to their final drainage destinations), rather than internal, such as the Sonoran Desert and Salton Trough have.

518   At this point, the westbound and eastbound tracks diverge for approximately 20 miles.  This log will cover each directional route segment independently.

                                                               EASTBOUND ROUTE VAIL TO MESCAL

521.5 Pass through Vail, named after ranchers Walter and Edward Vail, who owned ranches in the area. Walter also owned the nearby Empire Ranch, now part of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  Legend has it that, on May 10, 1890, Walter Vail was bitten by a Gila monster and survived, even though the reptile had his teeth and mouth closed around Vail’s finger for several miles as he rode to a nearby camp to have the jaws of the animal dissected so they would free Vail’s finger. One year after that, Vail died in a streetcar accident in Los Angeles.

          Between the westbound and eastbound tracks here, on the right is the Santa Rita Shrine, which was dedicated to the memory of Japanese scientist Dr. Jokichi Takamine in 1935.

          A few miles east of Vail is Colossal Cave State Park.  The cave itself is a large cave developed in the Mississippian-aged (320 to 360 million years old) Escabrosa Limestone.

         To the south are the Empire Mountains, which are composed of sedimentary rocks of various ages, with some Tertiary-aged volcanic intrusive rocks, and block faulted.

523-525 On the left (eastbound) are sedimentary rocks of unspecified Paleozoic age, primarily limestone and dolomite.

526    Pass beneath the westbound track of this line.

527    At this point we are crossing a major fault; however, it is not possible to see any a trace of the fault from the train.  Rocks on the west side of the fault consist of limestone and dolomite of non-specified Paleozoic age (but likely a formation similar to the limestone at Colossal Cave – see MP 521.5 above). On the east side of the fault are much younger Oligocene- to Miocene-aged sedimentary rocks, mainly sandstone and shale.

528-528.5 Your train is now traveling through a tight horseshoe curve, and we cross Ciénega Creek.

531   Pass through the ghost town of Pantano, which was established by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880.  The Spanish words ”pantano” and “ciénega” have similar meanings, that being “a swampy area.”  Prior to the arrival of the railroad, the settlement was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail, and was known as Ciénega Station.  In the early days, it was also known as Pantano Station, Marsh Station, Empire, and Tulleyville.  Attacks by hostile Apache Indians were common in the early days, especially during the 1860’s.

532.5 Pass beneath Interstate 10.  The mountains on the right are the Whetstone Mountains, and are geologically very similar to the Empire Mountains (see MP 521.5 above)

535    Round another sharp horseshoe curve here.  The relatively flat-lying sedimentary rocks which cover the ground here are of Miocene to Pliocene age (approximately 20 to 2 million years old).

537   Pass beneath Interstate 10 again.

540    The track close to the railroad on the left is the westbound main of this route!

         We are crossing another fault here, which cannot be discerned from the train. Rocks on the west side of the fault are Late Jurassic- to Cretaceous-aged sandstone and conglomerate with some volcanic inclusions.  The rocks east of the fault are younger Miocene- to Pliocene-aged sandstone and conglomerate.

541    Enter COCHISE County, named after the Apache Indian Chief Cochise. The Chief’s actual name may have been “Cheis,” an Apache word meaning “wood.”  The seat of Cochise County is Bisbee; however, prior to 1929, it was at Tombstone, the site of the famous 1881 Gunfight at OK Corral.  The county was created on February 1,1881, from a part of Pima County.  Cochise is the last county in Arizona that we will be traveling through.

Rejoin the eastern railroad main at this point.

                                                               WESTBOUND ROUTE MESCAL TO VAIL

                               (mileposts will be in reverse order, from east to west in this section)

539    Enter PIMA County, named after the Pima Indians who lived in the area.  It is the second most populous county in Arizona.  Pima County was one of the first counties organized in Arizona, and was established within lands acquired from Mexico in 1853 as part of the Gadsden Purchase.  The Pima County seat is Tucson, and most of the population of the county lives in the Tucson area.  Pima County is also the home of several Native American communities.

538    We are crossing a fault here, which cannot be discerned from the train.  Rocks on the west side of the fault are Late Jurassic- to Cretaceous-aged sandstone and conglomerate with some volcanic inclusions. The rocks east of the fault are younger Miocene- to Pliocene-aged sandstone and conglomerate.

535    On the right, the rocks visible from the train are Miocene- to Oligocene-aged sedimentary rocks.

532.5 On the left in the distance are the Empire Mountains, which are composed of sedimentary rocks of various ages, with some Tertiary-aged volcanic intrusive rocks, and block faulted.

         On the right, in the distance, are the Rincon Mountains.  These mountains are similar to the northerly Santa Catalina Mountains (see MP 492 above), and are composed of a core of Proterozoic-aged granite, which was then metamorphosed in Tertiary time, and eventually uplifted.  The Rincon and the Santa Catalina Mountains are basically the same range, and are known as a metamorphic core complex.

527   At this point we are crossing a major fault; however, it is not possible to see any a trace of the fault from the train.  Rocks on the west side of the fault consist of limestone and dolomite of non-specified Paleozoic age.  On the east side of the fault are much younger Oligocene- to Miocene-aged sedimentary rocks, mainly sandstone and shale.

526    Pass over the eastbound track of this line.  Ciénega Creek is visible on the right.

523-521 Pass through Vail, named after ranchers Walter and Edward Vail, who owned ranches in the area.  Walter also owned the nearby Empire Ranch, now part of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  Legend has it that, on May 10, 1890, Walter Vail was bitten by a Gila monster and survived, even though the reptile had his teeth and mouth closed around Vail’s finger for several miles as he rode to a nearby camp to have the jaws of the animal dissected so they would free Vail’s finger.  One year after that, Vail died in a streetcar accident in Los Angeles.

         Between the westbound and eastbound tracks here, on the right is the Santa Rita Shrine, which was dedicated to the memory of Japanese scientist Dr. Jokichi Takamine in 1935.

          A few miles east of Vail is Colossal Cave State Park.  The cave itself is a large cave developed in the Mississippian-aged (320 to 360 million years old) Escabrosa Limestone.

518    The westbound main rejoins the eastbound main here.

                                                               MAIN LINE MESCAL TO EL PASO

542    Mescal siding.  The town if Mescal is visible approximately one mile south of the railroad (right if eastbound).  Mescal is a species of Mexican agave, which grows in the area.  The town was established in 1913.  From this point, a former Southern Pacific Railroad line diverted south and southeast through Tombstone, to Douglas, on the Mexican border.  That line has been abandoned.

543    Between here and approximately Fenner (see MP 555 below), we are crossing the San Pedro Valley, which is a downfaulted graben located between the Rincon Mountains on the west and the Dragoon and Little Dragoon Mountains on the east (see MP 563 below).  During Pliocene time (5 to 1.5 million years ago), San Pedro Valley was a lake, when the climate was much wetter than it is today.  A number of species of Pleistocene-aged fossils have been found here, including fossils of fish, turtles, lizards, wolves, horses, llama, peccaries, camels, and other species.

546   On the left (eastbound) can be seen the small Benson Municipal Airport (not shown on accompanying topographic map), opened in 1999. Chamiso siding here takes its name from a Spanish word meaning “half burned wood.”

549.5 Pass beneath Interstate 10.

551   BENSON station, 195 E. 4th Street.  Elevation approximately 3593 ft.  This station is a flag stop on the route of the Sunset Ltd. Benson was founded in 1880 when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through.  It was named after Judge William B. Benson, a friend of railroad magnate Charles Crocker.  Benson was a shipping point for the numerous mines in the San Pedro Valley, which were located in places such as Tombstone, Bisbee, and Fairbank.  Benson was also a stage stop on both the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and Butterfield Overland Mail route.  The station was originally known as San Pedro, and the stage depot was owned by German immigrant William Ohnesorgen.

          The first Europeans to set foot here were Fray Marcos de Niza and his Moorish guide Esteban, in 1539, as they journeyed down the San Pedro River on an advance expedition for the more well-known 1540 Coronado Expedition, in which Expedition leader Francisco Vasquez Coronado was searching for the legendary “seven cities of gold.  Then in 1699, Jesuit Priest Eusebio Kino came through the area on another expedition down the San Pedro Valley.

         Benson is the home of the World University, an esoteric educational institution which offers most classes through distance learning. The University was founded by H. John Zitko of Los Angeles in 1947.  Benson is also the home of the San Pedro Valley Arts and Historical Society Museum, and is also near Kartchner Caverns State Park, which developed in a down-faulted block of Paleozoic-aged rocks on the east flank of the Whetstone Mountains.  The caverns are carved out of limestone and filled with spectacular speleothems (stalactites and stalagmites) which have been growing for 50,000 years or longer, and are still growing.

         Also near Benson is the 40,000-acre Jay Six Cattle Ranch, where, in 1936, the young brothers John Fitzgerald and Joseph Kennedy worked as ranch hands.

552    Cross north-flowing San Pedro River.  The river begins south of here, in Sonora, Mexico, and flows north into the Gila River east of Phoenix.

555    At Fenner siding, we are leaving the San Pedro valley and beginning our climb up the Dragoon and Little Dragoon Mountains.  Several impressive views of Benson, back to the west, can be had looking toward the rear of the train (eastbound) for the next several miles.  Fenner was named after a Tucson doctor.

556   On the left (eastbound), the pediment surface is composed of Miocene- to Pliocene-aged sandstone and conglomerate.  In the distance beyond the pediment surface lie the Dragoon and Little Dragoon Mountains.

560    On the right (eastbound), a short distance from the railroad, is Dragoon Wash.

563    On the left (eastbound) ahead are the Little Dragoon Mountains, and the Dragoon Mountains are visible on the right.  Both ranges are fault-block mountains, and both are built around a faulted core of Proterozoic-aged granitic rocks, and are flanked by faults which expose a wide variety of rocks adjacent to the granitic core.  The Little Dragoons have  Late Cretaceous- to Early Tertiary-aged granitic rocks around the core, and the Dragoons have faulted slices of Paleozoic-aged sedimentary rocks as well as younger Tertiary-aged igneous and volcanic rocks.

565    At Tully siding here, a good view can be had of Benson in the distance behind the train.  If you are traveling westbound, it will be dusk or dark now, and the city lights will allow for a spectacular view.

568    The hills on the left are composed of Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary-aged granitic rocks.

569.5                                                      At approximately this location, on the left (eastbound) is another fault trace in the hillside. Close to the railroad, the fault has been covered by Quaternary-aged valley fill deposits.  The west side of the fault is composed of Late Jurassic- to Cretaceous-aged sedimentary rocks with a few volcanic beds.  The east side of the fault is composed of much older Paleozoic-aged limestone and dolomite.

          Copper, lead, and zinc have been mined from these formations for many years, and one mine produced tungsten from a mass of granite porphyry.

571.5 Pass through the unincorporated community of Dragoon, established in 1889.  The community was originally called Dragoon Springs.  The name was in honor of the United States Dragoons, who camped here in the 1850’s.  Dragoon Springs was a stop on the Butterfield stage route.  In 1858, during construction of the station, Silas St. John and others were attacked by Mexicans here.  St. Johns was the only survivor, and after 4 days, he was rescued, even though he had an ax buried in his hip and a severed arm.

         On the left (eastbound) are the Little Dragoon Mountains; on the right are the Dragoons.

574    Passing through the Dragoon Mountains on either side of the railroad.  In this area, the Dragoons are composed of block-faulted Paleozoic-aged limestone, dolomite, and quartzite, faulted against younger (Late Jurassic- to Cretaceous-aged) sandstone mixed with volcanic rocks.  Marble has been quarried from the Dragoon Mountains near here.

579.5 On the left (eastbound),the Little Dragoon Mountains are visible in the distance.

581-581.5 Pass through the unincorporated community of Cochise, named after the Apache Indian Chief.  The town was created by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1880’s as a coal and water stop for the trains.  Note the old Cochise Hotel, visible on the right (eastbound) at approximately MP 581.2.

          After the death of Doc Holliday, the well-known Old West dentist turned gunfighter, his sidekick/common law wife Mary Katherine Horony Cummings, also known as Big Nose Kate, worked here at the Cochise Hotel.

          On September 11, 1899, a well-known train robbery took place here, staged  by outlaws Billy Stiles and Matt Burts, with the assistance of the Town Marshall of nearby Willcox (see MP 592 below), Burt Alvord, whose alibi was that he was sitting in a back room in Schwertrner’s Saloon playing poker during the time of the robbery and subsequent escape of the outlaws.

583-587 Cross Willcox Playa, a large dry lake bed.  A playa is an interior-draining lake basin, which has no surface water outlet.  The sands on the desert floor here contain alkali minerals such as potassium, sodium, and calcium carbonate minerals.  During heavy rainstorms, the playa basin fills with water, most of which evaporates after the rain event.  What is left is an alkali flat, with very heavy concentrations of carbonate and evaporite minerals. The Willcox Playa is the lowest part of the larger Sulphur Springs Valley, which we are crossing.  Sulphur Springs Valley is a graben (see MP 492 above).  At the northern end of Willcox Playa, numerous sand dunes can be seen.

         The United States Military formerly used this playa as a bombing range.

          The Dos Cabezas (“two heads”) Mountains are visible across the playa ahead of the train (eastbound).  See MP 596 below.

591.5-593 Pass through Willcox, formerly known as Maley.  It was established in 1880 by the Southern Pacific Railroad.  The town was named after General Orlando B. Willcox, who was a Union Army General during the American Civil War.  Like other towns we have passed through, Willcox began as a wild and lawless Frontier town.

          Willcox is primarily an agricultural town, and originally depended on the railroad for shipping of agricultural products, as well as cattle. With the completion of Interstate 10 a few miles northwest of town, however, most of the local products are now transported by truck. Willcox remains as a significant cattle-shipping point.

          Willcox was the home of Western Actor Rex Allen, the “Arizona Cowboy.”  Rex Allen starred in 19 Western films, and was also the narrator on several Walt Disney films documenting the Old West.  He was also a country recording artist, and recorded many western-themed songs, his most well known likely being “Don’t Go Near the Indians,” in 1962.  Willcox is the home of the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum.

         Willcox is also currently becoming known as a significant wine producing area.

596    On the right (eastbound) are the Dos Cabezas (Spanish for ”two heads”) Mountains, another block-faulted range consisting primarily of Proterozoic-aged granitic igneous intrusive and metamorphic rocks.  The dark-colored peak north of the railroad in the distance (eastbound) is composed of Oligocene- to Miocene-aged volcanic rocks.

600    Pass through Raso siding, formerly known as Railroad Pass, the name of which still appears on the accompanying topographic map.  The Spanish word Raso means “flat plain” and refers to the pass we are traveling through.

          Note the orange coloration of some of the desert soils visible from the railroad.  This orange color is from oxidation of the Miocene- to Pliocene-aged sedimentary rocks which make up the desert surface here.  To the north (left if eastbound) are the Pinaleno Mountains, which are geologically similar to the Dos Cabezas Mountains (see MP 596 above).  The highest peak in the Pinalenos is Mt. Graham, at an elevation of 10,717 ft.

         We are now crossing the San Simon Valley, another downfaulted graben valley (see MP 492 above).  The deposition over the years of sand, gravel, and clay in the San Simon Valley has led to a situation in which ground water is held underground in aquifers composed of permeable sand and gravel, and overlain by clay deposits of much lower permeability.  Since the elevation where the water first seeped into the valley fill deposits was higher than in the center of the valley, water wells drilled in many places are artesian wells, often called flowing wells, since the pressure head on the column of water encountered in the well is higher than the elevation of the ground surface where the water is withdrawn; therefore the water naturally flows from the well and does not require pumping. Most artesian wells today are required to be equipped with valving which prevents the ground water from endlessly and wastefully flowing freely from the artesian well over the landscape, unless the valve is opened, thus conserving precious ground water.

608.5 At Luzena, pass beneath Interstate 10 again.  The dark-colored hills on the left in the distance (eastbound) are composed of Oligocene- to Miocene-aged volcanic rocks.

615.5-616.5 Pass through Bowie, which was named after nearby Fort Bowie, located south of the town at the northern end of the Chiricahua Mountains.  Fort Bowie was in turn named after Col. George W. Bowie, who was commissioned as the Colonel of the 5th Regiment California Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.

         The branch railroad line on the left (eastbound) leads north to the Globe mining district.

         The area was first settled prior to the Civil War by Capt. James Tevis, who was later made the agent for the Butterfield Overland Mail at Fort Apache, located south of here in the Chiricahua Mountains.  Tevis was captured and condemned to die by Apache Chief Cochise, but rescued by another Apache Chief named Esconolea, who Tevis had befriended.

         Originally, the community was called Teviston, after the Captain.  When the railroad came through, the name was changed to Bean, named after a railroad superintendent; however, Tevis convinced the postmaster to change the town’s name back to Teviston.  It was also known as Bowie Station, then, 1908, the name of the town was changed to Bowie once and for all.

619    We are again paralleling Interstate 10 on the right (eastbound).

623.5 At Olga siding, the Chiricahua Mountains are visible on the right (eastbound). Note the ridge called Cochise Head in the distance, which was so named after its resemblance to the great Apache warrior lying on his back and looking up at the sky.

          The Chiricahuas are also a fault-block range, and are composed of a Proterozoic-aged core of metamorphic rocks flanked by much younger volcanic rocks of Tertiary age.

631-632 Pass through San Simon, the last town we will be passing through in Arizona.  San Simon was a rich cattle grazing area in 1847, when the Mormon Battalion came through during the Mexican-American War.  By the 1890’s, however, 50,000 head of cattle from Mexico were driven into the area, and after several droughts followed by heavy eroding rainstorms through the 1930’s, the area was no longer a prime cattle grazing area.

          San Simon was also a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail stage line; however, the area had always had a problem with marauding Apache Indians.  Eventually, the stage station became a relay station, where horses were watered and changed, and drivers were changed.

633    Cross San Simon River.

634.5 On the right (eastbound) is an agricultural inspection station on Interstate 10.

639    At Vanar siding, the Peloncillo Mountains are now visible to the left (eastbound).  The Peloncillos are composed of Oligocene- to Miocene-aged volcanic rocks.

642.5 Enter HIDALGO County, NEW MEXICO.  The county was created on February 25,1919, from parts of Grant County. The county was named after Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the “Father of Mexican Independence.”  In 1819, Costilla led the revolt that gained Mexico its independence from Spain. He is often known as “the George Washington of Mexico.”  The Hidalgo County seat is Lordsburg.

644   The Peloncillo Mountains are adjacent to the railroad on both sides here (see MP 639 above).

646    Pass through the ghost town of Steins, named after U.S. Army Major Enoch Steen, who camped here in 1856 while exploring the newly-acquired Gadsden Purchase.  The town name is locally pronounced ”Steens.”  The town was established in 1880 when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through.  There was no readily available source of water in the area, so for many years, water was brought in by rail. In 1905, a rock crushing plant was built here for the manufacture of ballast for the railroad. On several occasions during the 1880’s and 1890‘s, however, trains crossing at Steins Pass here were held up and robbed by such outlaws as Black Jack Ketchum.  The Butterfield Overland Mail stage passed through the area, but at a point north of here.

         Steins is the home of the Steins Railroad Ghost Town, a collection of more than 15 restored pioneer buildings, plus exhibits of artifacts from the pioneer age.

          The Peloncillo Mountains are visible to the north (left if eastbound).

648    We are now crossing a wide desert valley, along the edges of which alluvial fans from streams draining the Peloncillo Mountains to the west and the Pyramid Mountains to the east, have coalesced, and therefore formed a large linear landform known as a bajada.

651    At Mondel siding, the playa lake visible on the left (eastbound) is the remnant of Pleistocene Lake Animas.  Approximately 12,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Ice Age, this lake was approximately 50 ft deep and 17 miles long.  It drained northerly, toward the Gila River Valley.  When the level of the lake reached its outlet level, the remainder of the water collected in the basin evaporated and left behind alkali deposits on the floor of the desert.

657   On the right (eastbound), the small gray hill is composed of Tertiary-aged intrusive quartz monzonite.  This particular hill is known as “Fraggle Rock,” after a graffiti inscription painted on one side of the rock.  The other small hills visible from this point on either side of the railroad are Tertiary-aged volcanic rocks.

660    The hills on the left (eastbound) are also small Tertiary-aged volcanic intrusions, and are a part of the Pyramid Mountains, also visible on the right, and composed primarily of Tertiary-aged volcanic rocks and some older (Late Cretaceous- to Early Tertiary-aged) granites.

665.5 LORDSBURG station, Center Street & S P Boulevard.  Elevation approximately 4258 ft.  This is a flag stop for the Sunset Ltd, and the station building has been demolished.  The town was founded on October 18, 1880, when a small group of railroad employees, stage drivers, cowboys, gamblers, and others watched the first train come into town from the West.  The town was most likely named after Delbert Lord, Construction Engineer for the Southern Pacific.  Others claim that the town was named after New Yorker Dr. Charles H. Lord, who came west after the Civil War and eventually began Lord and Williams, a wholesale banking and distributing center in Tucson, Arizona.

         Lordsburg is the birthplace of the official New Mexico State song, “O Fair New Mexico,”  written by Lordsburg resident Elizabeth Garrett, the blind daughter of famed sheriff Pat Garrett.  In 1917, Governor Washington Ellsworth Lindsey signed the legislation making it the official state song.  During World War II, Lordsburg was home of the Lordsburg Internment Camp, which held as many as 1500 Japanese-American for a while.  In 1927, after the famous New York to Paris flight, aviator Charles Lindbergh made a stop in Lordsburg on his famed Spirit of St. Louis airplane, to dedicate the new airport here.

         Lordsburg was the final destination in the 1939 film “Stagecoach,” starring John Wayne.

                                                                                               Lordsburg is currently known as the “Gateway to Enchantment,” and is a popular place for travelers to overnight on their way to the nearby attractions.