Cochise, Dinosaurs in Dragoon, and Texas Canyon

February 28, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Cochise Hotel, AZCochise Hotel, AZCochise Hotel in Cochise Arizona

 

 

The ghost town of Cochise, just off Arizona Highway 191, has a bit of history, but after peaking at 3,000 residents, it's home to only a few dozen now. History lovers still come here though for the historic Cochise Hotel.

 

 

Cochise Hotel, AZCochise Hotel, AZCochise Hotel, AZ

 

 

It was in the mid-1890s that Cochise got its start as a depot for the Southern Pacific Railroad.  John Rath, a telegraph operator at Fort Bowie, established the town with a well, and built the Rath Hotel, now the Cochise Hotel.  Listed as a Historic Landmark, the hotel once marked the shipping hub for cattle and ore. It also served as a telegraph office, justice of the peace, and postoffice. One of the oldest hotels associated with the Southern Pacific Railroad, Big Nose Kate, the famed sidekick of Doc Holliday, worked here in 1899. Today, Phillip Gessert,  a western historian, and author, operates the historic building as a Bed & Breakfast, event, and private parties venue, and offers "museum tours" by appointment only.  

 

 

Abandoned Store, Cochise, ArizonaAbandoned Store, Cochise, ArizonaAbandoned Store, Cochise, Arizona

 

This General store next door to the hotel dates back to 1913. Today it sits abandoned.  There's more history here of interest, including a daring train robbery that netted a large loot. But that's better told by James Harvey McClintock in this article from 1913, the Cochise Train Robbery

And click here for the story of Cochise, Strong Apache Leader

 

Roadrunner in Cochise, AZRoadrunner in Cochise, AZRoadrunner in Cochise, AZ

 

 

Meep Meep... time to move on. We cut over on Cochise Stronghold Road to Dragoon Rd in hopes of finding an old stage station. 

 

 

Jesus Mural in Dragoon, AZJesus Mural in Dragoon, AZDragoon Jesus

 

 

The town of Dragoon has always been a small affair, with about 200 residents spread out. 

 

 

Dragoon, AZ abandoned storeDragoon, AZAbandoned in Dragoon

 

In 1915, J.H. Smith built a large grocery store and filling station at the main intersection in town. Today the building is the only structure remaining from the early days of Dragoon. The old train depot, hotel, and post office have either collapsed or have been dismantled and hauled away. As the old building represents the last commercial remains of old Dragoon, Arizona, a small overland stage stop and train stop in rural Arizona, and played an important role as a  social gathering place for the community during the early years of Arizona Statehood, it was listed on the National Register of historic places in 2004

Old Ranch Rd, in front of the store, supposedly would have lead us to the historic Dragoon Springs Stage Station, however, our way was blocked by a ranchers gate, so apparently, you can't get there from here. 


 

Rattlesnake Ranch, Dragoon, AZRattlesnake Ranch, Dragoon, AZWelcome to Rattlesnake Ranch

 

Continuing north on Dragoon Rd, just a short jaunt from the old store, we stumbled upon... DINOSAURS!

 

 

Rattle Snake Ranch T-RexRattle Snake Ranch T-RexRattle Snake Ranch T-Rex

 

 

Rattlesnake Ranch is a great quirky stop to enjoy some art and stretch the legs.  And there's quite a bit of property to stretch on, just stay in the "welcome" areas.  

 

 

Rattlesnake Ranch, Dragoon, AZRattlesnake Ranch, Dragoon, AZRattlesnake Ranch, Dragoon, AZ

 

 

Rattlesnake Ranch used to be John & Sandy’s Rattlesnake Crafts & Rocks, a souvenir shop that attracted motorists with its metal statues of Indians, snakes, and Dinosaurs.  

 

 

Snake art at Rattlesnake Ranch, AZSnake art at Rattlesnake Ranch, AZSnake art at Rattlesnake Ranch, AZ

 

 

John and Sandy Weber retired, but you can still venture in to take in the art. Area's that you are not welcome are clearly marked, and a donation box remains at the front gate. 

 

 

Rattlesnake Ranch WarriorRattlesnake Ranch WarriorRattlesnake Ranch Warrior

 

 

We enjoyed this stop for its photo opportunities and will be adding more to our Southeast Arizona Photo Print Gallery soon. 

 

 

Texas Canyon ArizonaTexas Canyon ArizonaTexas Canyon Arizona

 

 

As you approach I-10 you're now in Texas Canyon.  A valley of giant boulders between the Little Dragoon Mountains to the north and the Dragoon Mountains to the south. The Butterfield Overland Mail passed through the canyon in the late 1850s.  It's named for an early pioneer to Cochise County, David Adams, who moved here from Texas in the 1880s, and whose ranch is still in the family. 

 

 

Texas Canyon ArizonaTexas Canyon ArizonaTexas Canyon Arizona

 

 

There are some great views of the unique landscape at a rest area along I-10, however get off on Dragoon Rd at exit 318 to see even more. Also around that exit is The Amerind Foundation, a privately funded archaeological and ethnographic research facility, library, museum, and art gallery founded by William Shirley Fulton in the 1930s. 

 

 

Courtland, AZ - RuinsCourtland, AZ - RuinsRuins in the ghost town of Courtland, AZ.

 

 

During our stay in this area we did have a chance to revisit the Ghost Town Trail, which leads out of Tombstone through the Ghost Towns of Gleeson, Courtland and Pearce. 

 

 

Pearce, AZ - General StorePearce, AZ - General StorePearce, AZ - General Store

 

 

We did this trail back in 2007, and with rainy weather the day of our visit this year, we didn't get very many good updated photos. So the ones you are seeing here are over a decade old. 

 

 

Gleeson, AZ - SchoolGleeson, AZ - SchoolRemains of the old Gleeson School

 

 

The day trip is a good one though if you are staying in the area, just for something a little different, or if you are a ghost town lover like us. Read more about the Ghost Town Trail HERE. 

That's it for now, but more coming soon as we continued our journey west toward Spanish Missions and lots of history in the Tucson Area.  Cya on the road!

 

We're traveling with "HearHere" a travel audio app for iPhone that shares the depth and diversity of stories - cultural, geographical, historical, and mythological - hidden along the roads of America.
 

 


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