Colorado Steamships

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of gold in California, westward expansion of the United States was on the mind of most people seeking their fortune of livelihood. Wagon trains, horses and trains all brought people deep into the new county seeking their fortune. Lesser known is the role of the steamships, which brought supplies and people up the Colorado River from Baja California to the Green River in Wyoming.

View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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Cerbat Arizona – Mohave County Ghost Town

Founded in 1870 Cerbat Arizona is a gold mine ghost town and former county seat for Mohave County, Arizona. The surrounding area started to attract prospectors in the 1860s. The journey was tough just to them to get into the area due to the remove location. Prospectors would travel up the Colorado River by steamship and disembark in Hardyville which is overrun by Bullhead City. Once offloaded, they would need to find their way north about 40 miles across the hot dry desert.

Cerbat Arizona in 1870
Cerbat Arizona in 1870

Cerbat was formed near three mining operations in the area, which included the Esmeralda mine, the Vanderbilt and the Gold Gem. The town Cerbat was named from the Indian word for “Big Horn Mountain Sheep” and formed in a canyon about 38 miles from Hardyville, Arizona.

The fledgling desert community was named the county seat of Mohave County Arizona in 1871. A post office soon followed on December 23, 1872. The town hosted some businesses common to mining down and included a doctor, lawyer, mill, smelter, schoolhouse, stores, saloons smelter and post office. The first permanent court house in Mohave County is built in Cerbat. The courthouse gained notoriety for being the first location to execute a convicted murder Michael DeHay who was found guilty for murdering his wife.

In 1872, $6,000 is invested to connect the town to larger population centers to the east including Fort Rock, Camp Hualapai and Prescott. In 1873 the nearby town of Mineral Park as named county seat. Despite this setback to its honor, In 1884, the California and Arizona State Company made weekly trips between Mineral Park, Cerbat, Chloride and Prescott.

Mining into the twentieth century. The post office was closed June 15, 1912

Town Summary

NameCerbat
LocationMohave County, Arizona
Latitude, Longitude35.303413,-114.1380277
GNS24353
Elevation3,872 Feet
Population100
Post OfficeDecember 23, 1872 – June 15, 1912
Alternate NamesCampbell (June 25, 1890 to October 24 1902 )

Cerbat Trail Map

References

Mineral Park Arizona – Mohave County Ghost Town

Mineral Park is a ghost town located in Mohave County Arizona founded in 1870. Once started, operations continued until 1912. The journey was tough just to them to get into the area due to the remove location. Prospectors would travel up the Colorado River by steamship and disembark in Hardyville which is overrun by modern Bullhead City, Arizona. Once offloaded, they would need to find their way north about 40 miles across the hot dry desert.

Today, the town site is now covered by a modern mining operation.

Mineral Park, Arizona @1880
Mineral Park, Arizona @1880

The post office was founded on December 31, 1872 and shortly after its formation the town was the county seat for Mohave County. Once mining operations came online, the little town supported a variety of businesses to service operations and the needs of its citizens including lawyers, doctors, blacksmiths, carpenters, hotels, assay offices, smelters saloons and dining halls.

Stamp mill and Mineral Park, Arizona
Stamp mill and Mineral Park, Arizona

The railroards helped boost activity for Mineral Park, when in 1883 rails were installed just 20 miles to the south by the “Atlantic and Pacific” Railroad. The new rail line shortened the distance to transport materials and ore to the location and reduced costs.

Operations continued until 1887 when mine production declined. The county seat was moved to nearby Kingman and the town failed completely in 1912.

The cemetery and some buildings are on private property of the modern mines operations and permission should be sought prior to exploration.

Town Summary

NameMineral Park
LocationMohave County, Arizona
Latitude, Longitude35.3708275, -114.1530103
GNIS8104
Elevation4,252 Feet
Post OfficeDecember 31, 1872 – June 15, 1912
NewspaperThe Mohave County Miner

Mineral Park Map

Resources

Callville Nevada – Colorado River Steamship Landing

Callville Nevada is a ghost town and Colorado River Steamboat port, which is now submerged below the waters of Lake Mead. Bishop Anson Call founded and established a colony and warehouse on the Colorado River at the direction of the Mormon Leader Brigham Young. The settlement was located about 15 miles up river from the location of the future site of Hoover Damn.

  Call's Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 - Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Call’s Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 – Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890

Callville was established on December 2, 1864 when Anson Call arrived on a small bluff over looking the Colorado River in the Arizona Territory. The settlement was located at the conjunction of the later named Callville wash and the Colorado River.

The founding of the settlement was the churches effort to expand trade routes and European immigration into Utah from the south. The small portgage and landing site was one of several along the Colorado including St. Thomas, Saint Joseph, Overton, West Point, Mill Point ( Simonsville ) and Rioville.

During the Civil War, the army of the United States garrisoned at the site, to protect the Colorado River Steamboats and serve as a landing point for army. In December 1865, the outpost had the honor to become the county seat for Pah-Ute County, Arizona Territory. The station was short lived and transferred to St Thomas just two years later.

In 1869, the army garrison was removed. Following the war, Congress redrew some of the state boundaries and the settlement in the Arizona Territory is moved to Nevada. From 1866 to 1878, the landing at Callville was the High Water of Navigation for steamboat traffic on the Colorado River, which is 408 miles from Fort Yuma. The town was abandoned in June 1869 when the Steamships discontinued service to the site.

Today, the town lies in under 400 feet of water. However, the water levels in Lake Mead are at an all time low, and St. Thomas is currently above water.

“Take a suitable company, locate a road to the Colorado, explore the river, find a suitable place for a warehouse, build it, and form a settlement at or near the landing.” 

Brigham Young instructing Anson Call, 1864

Town Summary

LocationCallville
LocationLake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.1133128, -114.6888720
GNIS863773
Other Common NamesCall’s Fort, Old Callville

Callville Map

Resources

Saguaro ( Carnegiea gigantea )

The Saguaro ( Carnegiea gigantea ) is perhaps one of the most iconic member of the cacti family in the south west desert, and located primarily in Arizona. The giant desert guardian stands watch over the hot dry desert and exudes a quiet nobility which matches its environment perfectly. The slow growing giants can reach heights exceeding 35 feet in height. These pinnacles of stature are due in no doubt to their long life span of up to 200 years. The largest known Individual was measured at 78 feet tall before it was toppled in 1986 from high winds.

A monster Saguaro ( Carnegiea gigantea) - Photo by Sister Cecilia Joseph Wight
A monster Saguaro ( Carnegiea gigantea) – Photo by Sister Cecilia Joseph Wight

Like many other stem succulents, the Saguaro survives the dry climates by optimizing its water retention. Large tap roots anchor the plant to the ground and can harvest water from over 100 feet beneath the surface. The water is pulled into the cactus body and causes the the body to swell which enables the plant to survive long period of drought without water.

A single trunk of the saguaro is known as a spear, and the cacti can stay this way up to 75 years before the first arm is branched from the trunk. The cactus will bloom in the spring months of April, May and June. The white flowers of this plant will form only at the top of each branch and form a crown of beauty. The flowers open in the cooler nights after the sun was dropped below the horizon. Nectar is produced is encourage pollination from a variety of animals. The flower will close again by midafternoon. The flower is the state flower for the State of Arizona.

Saguaro Cacti break the evening skyline near Tucson Arizona - Photo by Sister Cecilia Joseph Wight
Saguaro Cacti break the evening skyline near Tucson Arizona – Photo by Sister Cecilia Joseph Wight

This cactus is protected by the State of Arizona, and sadly needs to be. The US Government created Saguaro National Park in 1994 to protect some of the population and its habitat.

Natural Distribution

 Natural distribution map for Carnegiea gigantea - Elbert L. Little, Jr., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and others
Natural distribution map for Carnegiea gigantea – Elbert L. Little, Jr., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and others

Resources