The Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach Route was the first interstate system in the United States of America, and pivotal in our development as a coast-to-coast thriving economic powerhouse... it was the predecessor to the Pony Express, railways, and the interstate systems we all use today."The route is prolific in interest to the naturalist, the mineralogist, and all who love to contemplate nature in her wildest varieties, and throughout the whole 2,700 miles the interest is not allowed to flag. I have found the deserts teeming with curious plants and animal life, the mountain passes prolific in the grandest scenery, and the fruitful valleys suggestive on an earthly paradise;" - Waterman L. Ormsby, "The Butterfield Overland Mail" printed in the New York Herald, Thursday, 11 November 1858.
^^^Hopefully this may bring awareness to this awesome piece of American history, and inspire others to get out and explore it!It carried passengers and U.S. Mail from two eastern termini, Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California. The routes from each eastern terminus met at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then continued through Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Bajrar California, and California ending in San Francisco. On March 3, 1857, Congress under James Buchanan authorized the U.S. postmaster general, Aaron Brown, to contract for delivery of the U.S. mail from Saint Louis to San Francisco. Prior to this, U.S. Mail bound for the Far West had been transported by ship across the Gulf of Mexico to Panama, where it was freighted across the isthmus to the Pacific, then taken by ship for points in California.
On March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Congressional legislation (Sec. 7209 of P.L. 111-11) to conduct a study of designating the trail a National Historic Trail. The United States National Park Service is conducting meetings in affected communities and doing Special Resource Study/Environmental Assessment to determine whether it should become a trail and what the route should be.
In April and May of 2018, I solo-traversed a large section of the trail (Divisions 2-4) from Southern California to Texas. It was an incredible journey full of challenges, unexpected turns, and extremely refreshing solitude.
This is my account of the adventure... enjoy!
I will be trying to finish a new video each week (targeting Thursday afternoons to wrap up/publish), as I edit and process through the hours of film I shot along the way... please let me know what you think or if you have any questions about the Butterfield Trail//if you've done any segments yourself... While this is just a hobby for me, I enjoy sharing it with y'all, and hope to get others excited about an area so rich in our history!
Day 1 & 2 (Anza-Borrego: Font's Point, Culp Valley, & Vallecito Springs):
Day 2, cont. (Goat Canyon Trestle, Canyon Sin Nombre, & Vallecito Wash):
Day 3 (On the Border, Near Algodones):
Day 4 (The Center of the World & Gila River Canals):
Day 5 (Overcoming Obstacles; Winch Recovery, Shoveling, & The Oatman Massacre Site):