Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park

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Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
Warehouse yumaquartermasterdepot.jpg
The warehouse at Yuma Quartermasters Depot State Historic Park
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Location of Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park in Arizona
Location Yuma, Arizona, United States
Coordinates 32°43′36″N114°37′36″W / 32.72667°N 114.62667°W / 32.72667; -114.62667 Coordinates: 32°43′36″N114°37′36″W / 32.72667°N 114.62667°W / 32.72667; -114.62667
Elevation120 ft (37 m)
Governing body Arizona State Parks

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, formerly Yuma Crossing State Historic Park, and now one of the Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites on the National Register of Historic Places in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. It is an Arizona state park in the city of Yuma, Arizona, USA.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.

Yuma, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Yuma is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. The city's population was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.


The Yuma Quartermaster Depot was an important quartermaster depot during the 1870s. Goods were shipped up the Colorado River from the Gulf of California and stored at Yuma for distribution to the desert frontier forts in the Southwestern United States territories.

Quartermaster army supply officer or naval rank

Quartermaster is a military term, the meaning of which depends on the country and service. In land armies, a quartermaster is generally a relatively senior soldier who supervises stores or barracks and distributes supplies and provisions. In many navies, a quartermaster is an officer with particular responsibility for steering and signals. The seaman is a non-commissioned officer rank; in some others, it is not a rank but a role related to navigation.

Colorado River major river in the western United States and Mexico

The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.

Gulf of California A gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Baja peninsula and the Mexican mainland

The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.


Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park is on the grounds of the former Yuma Quartermaster Depot. The depot was established by the U.S. Army in 1864 to store and distribute supplies to frontier army posts in what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. [1] [2] One purpose of the depot was to ensure that a six-month supply of much needed goods such as ammunition, food and clothing was on hand at all times. The goods and supplies were brought to Yuma from California aboard ships that traveled around the Baja California peninsula and up the Gulf of California to Port Isabel, Sonora at the mouth of the Colorado River. Supplies were shipped up the Colorado on river boats to Yuma and stored at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot. [1]

A logistics center, or depot, is a facility dedicated to logistical operations. A logistics center might be a warehouse, freight forwarder, or a repair depot.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

The supplies gathered at the quartermaster depot were shipped throughout the southwest via river boats and overland on mule team freight wagons. Up to 900 mules were kept in stables at Yuma Quartermaster Depot. The arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Yuma in 1877 signaled the end of the depot. When the railroad reached Tucson in 1880, the quartermaster depot was closed. The quartermasters moved to Fort Lowell in Tucson. [1]

Mule offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare)

A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare). Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two first generation hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny, which is the offspring of a female donkey (jenny) and a male horse (stallion).

Tucson, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).

Quartermaster Corps (United States Army)

The United States Army Quartermaster Corps, formerly the Quartermaster Department, is a Sustainment, formerly combat service support (CSS), branch of the United States Army. It is also one of three U.S. Army logistics branches, the others being the Transportation Corps and the Ordnance Corps.

The Signal Corps, having arrived at Fort Yuma and the quartermaster depot in 1875, remained there until 1891. Following the departure of the Signal Corps, the property was transferred to the control of the U.S. Weather Service which worked out of the depot site until 1949. [1]

Signal Corps (United States Army) United States Army division

The United States Army Signal Corps (USASC) is a division of the Department of the Army that creates and manages communications and information systems for the command and control of combined arms forces. It was established in 1860, the brainchild of Major Albert J. Myer, and had an important role in the American Civil War. Over its history, it had the initial responsibility for portfolios and new technologies that were eventually transferred to other U.S. government entities. Such responsibilities included military intelligence, weather forecasting, and aviation.

National Weather Service United States weather agency

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.

The Yuma Quartermaster Depot fell into a state of disrepair in the years following 1949. Some of the facilities were used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other governmental agencies.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection department of the United States Federal Government

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and is the country's primary border control organization. It is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration. CBP is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. It has a workforce of more than 45,600 sworn federal agents and officers. It has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Historical park

Five buildings left over from the quartermaster depot days remain at the park. [1] The site was identified as a possible historic park in the early 1960s. [2] The office of the depot quartermaster was acquired by the state in 1969. More property was added to what would become the park in 1980. The park land was purchased from United States Department of the Interior by the city of Yuma and donated to the state park system in 1986. Groundbreaking for the park was held in 1986. The park opened in 1990 as a unit of Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park and was established as a state historic park in 1997, under the control of the non-profit Yuma Crossing Foundation. [2]

Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Coach Car-S.P. X7, at the park in 2014 Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Coach Car S.P. X7.jpg
Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Coach Car-S.P. X7, at the park in 2014

The Yuma Crossing Foundation established an agreement with the state parks board to manage, develop and operate the site as a living history museum. After seven years of construction and rebuilding the park was opened to the public in 1997 as Yuma Crossing State Historic Park. The park is part of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The name of the park was changed in 2007 to reflect the original use of the area and its historic interpretive focus.

As of 2014, the park includes the Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Coach Car-S.P. X7, which is separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Visitor Center

In addition to being a state historic park, Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park is the home of the Yuma Visitors Bureau Visitor Information Center. The park and visitor center are open year-round. The visitor center houses a display on the park's military history in the late 19th century, and a history of the work done by the Bureau of Reclamation during the 20th century. A gift shop sells a variety of books and souvenirs. [3]

Historic exhibits

Four of the five original buildings house historic exhibits. The storehouse details the history of the Colorado River and the steamboat era on it, and of the mule wagon trains. The office of the depot quartermaster houses two exhibits. One is an historic recreation of the depot as it appeared in its heyday. Another shows how the weather and telegraph stations appeared. The commanding officers quarters is a house museum which mimics how it would have looked in the 1870s, when army officers and their families lived in the space. A biologic exhibit of fish species in the Colorado River is found in the corral house. Outdoor exhibits at the park include ramadas, a steam boiler, a stone built reservoir and an encampment of wagons. [3]

The park is open to picnicking. A day use facility under a shade ramada is available for group use with reservations. Picnic tables are available throughout the park as is one pavilion. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Arizona Historical Society organization

The Arizona Historical Society (AHS) is a non-profit organization whose goal is to collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate the history of Arizona, the West, and Northern Mexico as it pertains to Arizona. It does this through 4 regional divisions. Each division has a representative museum. The statewide divisions are as follows: Southern Arizona Division in Tucson, the Central Arizona Division in Tempe, the Northern Arizona Division in Flagstaff, and the Rio Colorado Division in Yuma. It was founded in 1884.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is a 1,210-mile (1,950 km) National Park Service unit in the United States National Historic Trail and National Millennium Trail programs. The trail route extends from Nogales on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, through the California desert and coastal areas in Southern California and the Central Coast region to San Francisco.

The Yuma Expedition was a U.S. Army military operation from 8 February 1852, to October, 1852 in the Yuma War.

Fort Yuma

Fort Yuma was a fort in California located in Imperial County, across the Colorado River from Yuma, Arizona. It was on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from 1858 until 1861 and was abandoned May 16, 1883, and transferred to the Department of the Interior. The Fort Yuma Indian School and the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission now occupy the site. It is one of the "associated sites" listed as Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites on the National Register of Historic Places in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. In addition, it is registered as California Historical Landmark #806.

Yuma Crossing

Yuma Crossing is a site in Arizona and California that is significant for its association with transportation and communication across the Colorado River. It connected New Spain and Las Californias in the Spanish Colonial period in and also during the Western expansion of the United States. Features of the Arizona side include the Yuma Quartermaster Depot and Yuma Territorial Prison. Features on the California Side include Fort Yuma, which protected the area from 1850 to 1885.

In the American Old West overland trails were popular means of travel used by pioneers and immigrants throughout the 19th century and especially between 1830 and 1870 as an alternative to sea and railroad transport. These immigrants began to settle various of North America west of the Great Plains as part of the mass overland migrations of the mid-19th century. Settlers emigrating from the eastern United States were spurred by various motives, among them religious persecution, economic incentives, some people say that the interior to destinations in the far west, including the Oregon Trail, California Trail, and Mormon Trail. After the end of the Mexican–American War in 1849, vast new American conquests again enticed mass immigration. Legislation like the Donation Land Claim Act and significant events like the California Gold Rush further lured people to travel overland to the west.

Port Isabel, Sonora human settlement in Mexico

Port Isabel was a seaport established on Port Isabel Slough in 1865 during the American Civil War in Sonora, Mexico in the mouth of the Colorado River on the Gulf of California. It was founded to support the increased river traffic caused by the gold rush that began in 1862 on the Colorado River and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot newly established in 1864 to support the Army posts in the Arizona Military District. The slough was discovered in 1865 by the Captain W. H. Pierson of the schooner Isabel, that first used the slough to transfer its cargo to steamboats safe from the tidal bore of the Colorado River. Shortly afterward Port Isabel was established 3 miles up the slough and replaced Robinson's Landing as the place where cargo was unloaded in the river from seagoing craft on to flat bottomed steamboats of the Colorado River and carried up to Fort Yuma and points further north on the river.

Yuma War armed conflict fought primarily between the United States and the Yuma people

The Yuma War was the name given to a series of United States military operations conducted in southern California and what is today southwestern Arizona from 1850 to 1853. The Yumans were the primary opponent of the United States Army, though engagements were fought between the Americans and other native groups in the region. Conflict generally took the form of guerrilla warfare, and, over the course of three years, the army engaged in pursuing unfriendly natives, protecting American settlers crossing the Colorado River and preventing conflict between the native tribes. A peace treaty in summer of 1853 was signed, ending hostilities between the Yuma and the United States, but it sparked a short war between the Yuma and the Cocopah. During the conflict, the historic Fort Yuma was constructed and became an important outpost on the frontier.

Mohave War

The Mohave War was an armed conflict between the Mohave people against the United States from 1858 to 1859. With the California Gold Rush of 1849, thousands of American settlers headed west through Mohave country and into California. The influx of migrants passing through, combined with simple misunderstandings, led to conflict. Fort Mohave on the Arizona side of the Colorado River was built for operations against the hostile natives and was the second American military post established on the river after Fort Yuma. Eventually advanced weaponry and tactics forced the Mohave and their allies to surrender. After the signing of a peace treaty in 1859, the Mohave never again opposed the United States through warfare. The peace also ended a long guerrilla war between the Mohave and the Maricopa of south central Arizona.

Southern Emigrant Trail

Southern Emigrant Trail, also known as the Gila Trail, the Kearny Trail, Southern Trail and the Butterfield Stage Trail, was a major land route for immigration into California from the eastern United States that followed the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico during the California Gold Rush. Unlike the more northern routes, pioneer wagons could travel year round, mountain passes not being blocked by snows, however it had the disadvantage of summer heat and lack of water in the desert regions through which it passed in New Mexico Territory and the Colorado Desert of California. Subsequently, it was a route of travel and commerce between the eastern United States and California. Many herds of cattle and sheep were driven along this route and it was followed by the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line in 1857-1858 and then the Butterfield Overland Mail from 1858 - 1861.

George Alonzo Johnson (1824-1903) 49er, Colorado River steamboat entrepreneur, California politician.

Vallecito, San Diego County, California Park in California, United States

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Steamboats of the Colorado River Set of boats used in the Colorado river

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Uncle Sam, was a side-wheel paddle steamer and the first steamboat on the Colorado River in 1852.

General Jesup was a side-wheel paddle-steamer, named for General Thomas Jesup then Quartermaster General of the United States Army, and was the second steamboat launched on the Colorado River, in 1854.

Benjamin Minturn Hartshorne (1826–1900) was a California businessman who immigrated during the California Gold Rush. He was involved in Sacramento River and Colorado River steamboats as well as maritime shipping.

Alfred Henry Wilcox (1823-1883), sea captain, later Colorado River pioneer and steamboat and steamship entrepreneur, partner in the George A. Johnson & Company and of the Colorado Steam Navigation Company, banker and director of the California & Mexican Steam Ship Line.

George A. Johnson & Company was a partnership between three men who pioneered navigation on the Colorado River. Benjamin M. Hartshorne, George Alonzo Johnson and Alfred H. Wilcox. The George A. Johnson & Company was formed in the fall of 1852, and was reorganized as the Colorado Steam Navigation Company in 1869.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park & City of Yuma Visitor Center". Arizona State Parks. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  2. 1 2 3 "History of Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park". Arizona State Parks. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  3. 1 2 3 "Facilities". Arizona State Parks. Retrieved 2009-11-30.