AZ Land Surveying

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Phoenix Arizona Land Surveyor

This weeks Land Surveyor's Look at Arizona's Past...

Chapter 61 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: The following summary of the advantages of the Southern Route along the 32d parallel (which traverses Arizona) is from the conclusive speech of the Hon. Jefferson Davis in the Senate of the United States, delivered in January, 1859. This extract formed the appendix to the first edition of this work. It is reproduced here, as no later investigations invalidate the statements then made. The political events which have taken place since the delivery of this speech in no wise alter the physical facts here so clearly set forth. No one could deal more fully and intelligibly with the great subject of a railroad communication across the continent than has Mr. Davis; and I have no comment to make upon his complete vindication of the Southern Route, except to say that the officers of the army who made these explorations are men who understand their duty, and have no object to subserve except to gain an honorable reputation by the fidelity and thoroughness of their reports. I am able, from personal observation, to bear testimony to the signal ability with which these duties have been discharged. It is understood that Lieutenant J. C. Ives, Topographical Engineer, who assisted Captain Whipple in his survey of the 35th parallel route, called the Albuquerque, and who has since been over both this and the 32d parallel, gives the most decided preference to the Southern Route.—Sylvester Mowry.

I Will now proceed to the consideration of the only remaining line, the route of the thirty-second parallel. I hope I am not expected to make it quite smooth, or find water at convenient distances, cultivable land, and timber continuously along the route. I know of no such route across our Territories. I wish I did. If there were a route where it was thus made easy to build a rail road, we might feel a more happy security for the future. It would bring in its train not only the construction of such a work, but that continuous population which is needful to bind the two parts of the country together. Knowing no such line, I believe it is a Herculean task to construct the road, attempt it where you will. Go on what parallel of latitude you may, all you can do is to take the least of most serious obstacles. I reached the conclusion that the difficulties were least on the thirty-second parallel; not that they were light. This conclusion was based upon the information possessed at that time. Subsequent explorations have materially improved the location upon the route, as I shall proceed to show, first describing the section from the Rio Grande to the Pimos villages. The office examination says: After ascending from the bottom lands of the Rio Grande, in traversing the region examined by Lieutenant Farke between these two rivers, from Doua Ana to the Pimos villages, one appears to be traveling on a great plain, interrupted irregularly and confusedly by bare, rugged, abrupt, isolated mountain masses, or short ranges, seemingly, though not in reality, without system. Winding around these isolated or lost mountains, or using a few passes through them, a railroad may be constructed with easy grades. Except through the mountain passes, the surface is so smooth as to require but little preparation to receive the superstructure of a railroad; and even in the two most difficult of the passes (where, in one case, deep cutting or a tunnel at the summit, near the surface, in rock, with heavy side-cuttings and high embankments for short distances, and in the other a short cut of sixty feet — probably through rock—are proposed by Lieutenant Parke to attain grades of forty-six feet and ninety feet per mile, or less by increasing distance) the natural slope of the ground may be used for a railroad for temporary purposes, and until the road itself can reduce the cost of materials and supplies to the lowest rates.

The re-survey by Lieutenant Parke shows that these two most difficult passes may be avoided. In relation to the supply of water upon this part of the route, the report of the secretary says: The great difficulty experienced in crossing this district is in the long distances over which no water is fonnd at certain seasons. The survey by Lieutenant Parke was made during the dryest season of the year, and, irrespective of the springs found at intermediate points, the whole distance between the two rivers Rio Grande and Gila may be divided into five spaces, varying from eighty to fifty-three miles in length, at the termination of which large permanent supplies of water are found at the most unfavorable season of the year.

These spaces and points are: From the Rio Grande to the Rio Mimbres 71 miles. From the Rio Mimbres to the stream of the Valle del Saux...72 miles, From the Valle del Saux to the San Pedro 80 miles, From the San Pedro to Tucson 53 miles, From Tucson to the Gila 79 miles.

Intermediate between these streams are permanent springs, and the new survey has improved the location in this respect. In his last report Lieutenant Parke states: The supply of water npon the plateau is limited. Along and near the proposed line it is found at the following localities, and from these the working-parties can bo supplied: at Neide's Spring, at the southwest corner of the basaltic hills, east of Cooke's Springs; Rio Mimbres ; Agua Fria; Ojo de la Vaca; Ojo de Inez; Valle del Saux; in the Puerto del Dado; Croton Springs; at the Playa de los Pimos; Castro Spring, near the railroad pass under Mount Graham ; Pheasant Creek; Antelope and Dove Springs, at the base of the Calitro Mountains; and at Bear Springs, at the head of the Aravaypa. The distance in direct lines from one of these localities to another are as follows: From the Rio Grande to Neide's Spring 40 miles. From Neide's Spring to Cooke's Spring 12 miles From Cooke's Spring to the Eio Mimbres 21 miles From Rio Mimbres to Agua Fria 15 miles From Agua Fria to Ojo de la Vaca 6 miles From Ojo dela Vaca to Ojo de Inez 12 miles From Ojo de Inez to Valle del Saux 40 miles From Valle del Saux to Puerto del Dado 23 miles From Puerto del Dado to Castro Spring ...., 30 miles From Puerto del Dado to Croton Springs 30 mile. From Castro Spring to Croton Springs 18 miles. From Croton Springs to Pheasant Creek 12 miles. From Pheasant Creek to Antelope Spring 3 miles. From Antelope Spring to Dove Spring 2-1/2 miles. From Dove Spring to Bear Spring 16 miles.

On the San Pedro route, water is abundant and convenient at Chameleon Spring and Prospect Creek, and in the entire valley of the Rio San Pedro. Besides these permanent supplies, water is found, after the rains, on the playas and in depressions in the drains.

It has been argued, and I think successfully, that if the road were built, it might be worked from one supply of water to another; but that has never satisfied my mind in relation to the difficulty which presents itself in building the road. Without tanks or wells, I do not see how the road is to be built, how working parties are to be sustained, with the distances which are found upon every route which has been surveyed. The faculties for making such artificial reservoirs upon this part of the 32d parallel route are thus favorably described by Lieutenant Parke: For the working parties in the construction of the road, during the dry season, water can be obtained from the several above-mentioned permanent sources of supply; but this will involve, of necessity, much haulage, the maximum distance being twenty-three miles. But 1 am clearly of the opinion that water can be obtained at other points along and near the line of construction by sinking common wells. These playa formations are particularly favorable. Being basinshaped, they receive and retain the drainage from the surrounding country, giving us natural reservoirs, which require only to be tapped to give a constant and plentiful supply.

About The Historical Texts

Following is the list of uncopyrighted publications used for the History of Arizona and the Southwest. All can be easily found on-line in PDF format. Sorted by publication date they are:

  1. The Memoir of the Proposed Territory of Arizona - 1857 | By Sylvester Mowry
  2. Arizona and Sonora - 1863 | By Sylvester Mowry
  3. The Territory of Arizona_1874 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  4. Resources of Arizona - 1881 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  5. The History of Arizona and New Mexico, Volume 17 - 1889 - (Arizona Portion) | By Hubert Howe Bancroft
  6. Titan of Chasms the Grand Canyon - 1906 | By C.A. Higgins, J.W. Powell, Chas.F.Lumins
  7. Reminiscences of a Soldiers Wife - 1907 - (Arizona Portion) | By Ellen McGowan Biddle
  8. The First Through the Grand Canyon - 1915 | By Major John Wesley Powell
  9. The History of Arizona, Volume 1 - 1915 (starting Chapter VII) | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  10. The History of Arizona, Volume 2 - 1915 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  11. The History of Arizona, Volume 3 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  12. The History of Arizona, Volume 4 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  13. The History of Arizona, Volume 5 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  14. The History of Arizona, Volume 6 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  15. The History of Arizona, Volume 7 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  16. The History Of Arizona, Volume 8 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  17. Arizona the Wonderland - 1917 | By George Wharton James
  18. The Story of Arizona - 1919 | By Will H. Robinson

See our Arizona Land Surveyors weekly Look into Arizona's past.................
Chapter 61 Land Surveyor Weekly From #02: The following summary of the advantages of the Southern Route along the 32d parallel (which traverses Arizona) is from the conclusive speech of the Hon. Jefferson Davis in the Senate of the United States, delivered in January, 1859. This extract formed the appendix to the first edition of this work. It is reproduced here, as no later investigations invalidate the statements then made. The political events which have taken place since the delivery of .........Continue to complete Chapter of our Arizona Land Surveyors weekly.