El Paso and Southwestern Railroad

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El Paso and Southwestern Railroad
Locale Arizona, New Mexico, Texas; Sonora, Mexico
Dates of operation 1888–1961
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad was a short-line American railway company which operated in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, with line extensions across the international border into Mexico. The railroad was known as the Arizona and South Eastern Railroad from 1888 to 1902.

Founding[edit]

James Douglas was a former professor of chemistry working for William E. Dodge, Jr. and Daniel Willis James, majority co-owners of the Phelps, Dodge Corporation.[1][2] Phelps, Dodge was entering the copper mining industry, and had hired Douglas to make an inspection of mining claims in the Southwestern United States. Douglas suggested that the two men invest in the Detroit Copper Mining Company of Arizona, which owned a copper mining claim in Warren, Arizona.[2] In 1881, Phelps, Dodge not only took a controlling interest in the Detroit Copper Mining Company but also purchased a minority interest in the adjoining Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona.[2][3] After the Copper Queen and Detroit Copper both struck the Atlanta lode[4] in 1884, Phelps, Dodge bought out the remaining interest in the Copper Queen. The company merged its various mining interests into the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company in 1885, and installed Douglas as president and part-owner.[1][2][3]

With production in the Bisbee expanding, Douglas formed the Arizona and South Eastern Railroad in 1888.[1][3] The railroad ran on a short spur of track from Bisbee to Fairbank, Arizona, where it met the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.[1][3] Shortly thereafter the line was extended to Benson, Arizona, to connect with the Southern Pacific Railroad.[3] Copper Queen Consolidated built a new smelter at the newly built town of Douglas, Arizona (named for James Douglas), to which the railroad was extended again.[1] The line was renamed the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad on June 25, 1901, to reflect its larger scope (even though it did not yet extend to El Paso, Texas).[1]

Expansion[edit]

Nacozari Railroad[edit]

James and Dodge, meanwhile, had acquired the Moctezuma Copper Company in the state of Sonora in Mexico, and in 1902 the El Paso and Southwestern line was extended south from Douglas to the Mexican town of Nacozari de García.[1][3][5] The Nacozari Railroad, owned by Moctezuma Copper Co. and used to transport ore to the Moctezuma smelter at Nacozari, was incorporated into the El Paso and Southwestern.[1]

Morenci Southern Railroad[edit]

Phelps, Dodge continued to expand, and in time purchased copper mines near Morenci, Arizona. A subsidiary of the El Paso and Southwestern—the Morenci Southern—was incorporated on June 6, 1902, and its roadbed connected the Morenci mines to the New Mexico and Arizona Railroad (a division of the Santa Fe Railroad).[1][6]

El Paso and Northeastern Railway[edit]

In 1903, the terminus of the El Paso and Southwestern was extended from Douglas to El Paso by building new track as well as purchasing track from the El Paso and Northeastern Railway, adding over 200 miles (320 km) of roadway to the line.[3] The purchase of the Dawson Railway also extended the railroad's reach to Dawson, New Mexico, where Phelps, Dodge had recently acquired coal mines to feed its smelting operations.[1] Near Deming, New Mexico, the new track had to cross the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad.[7] Aware that the Southern Pacific had only two watchmen on the route, the El Paso and Southern stopped all trains on either side of the junction and laid its new track across that of the Southern Pacific.[7] In one day, the El Paso and Southwestern ran more than 500 fully laden hopper cars across the new junction to establish a right-of-way.[7] The Southern Pacific sued and won a temporary injunction, but the injunction was never enforced and the El Paso and Southwestern continued to cross the Southern Pacific's line.[7]

After the deaths of Dodge in 1903 and James in 1907, the various Phelps, Dodge railroads, mining companies, real estate firms, and other subsidiaries and divisions were all merged into Phelps, Dodge and Company.[1][3]

Bisbee deportation[edit]

Deportation of striking miners from Bisbee, Arizona, on July 12, 1917. Striking miners and others are marched from Warren Ballpark along railroad tracks toward cattle cars belonging to the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.

The railroad's expansion continued gradually, and by 1917 the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad had more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of track in operation.[3][7] However, the same year saw the railroad involved in a significant labor dispute. During the Bisbee Deportation, railroad officials collaborated with their counterparts in the Phelps, Dodge mining subsidiaries to deport more than 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and even innocent citizen bystanders from the town of Bisbee more than 200 miles (320 km) to the town of Hermanas, New Mexico.[8]

Demise[edit]

The worldwide collapse of copper prices after World War I[9] severely affected not only the railroad's financial fortunes but those of the mining companies it served.[2] In 1924, the Southern Pacific leased the entire El Paso and Southwest Railroad from Phelps, Dodge.[2][6] In 1929, the ICC authorized abandonment of the Deming Branch.[10] In November 1937, the railroad purchased the outstanding interest in the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad.[3][6] It acquired the El Paso Southern Railway Company in December 1954.[6]

The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad was purchased from Phelps, Dodge and merged into the Southern Pacific in 1955; the Texas subsidiary remained until 1961.[6]

Route and notable buildings[edit]

Route[edit]

El Paso and Southwestern Railroad bridge over the Rio Grande near El Paso, Texas, circa 1968

Highways follow most of the route of the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad. Beginning in Tucson, Arizona, Arizona State Route 80 (formerly U.S. Route 80) largely parallels the railroad grade south to Douglas. State Route 80 then follows the old tracks northeast to Rodeo, New Mexico. The tracks diverge from the highway here, and largely follow Gas Line Road until it intersects with New Mexico State Road 9 near Animas, New Mexico. State Road 9 runs next to or on top of the old railroad grade until it reaches El Paso, Texas.

The northern Arizona spur of the railroad may be followed by following U.S. Route 191 north from Douglas to Morenci, Arizona. The Mexican spur may be followed by beginning in Douglas, crossing the international border into Mexico, and following Mexican Federal Highway 14 to Nacozari de García. The northern New Mexican spur parallels or is underneath Interstate 25, and then taking New Mexico State Road 505 (which intersects Interstate 25 at Maxwell, New Mexico) to Colfax, New Mexico. The Dawson Road travels the remainder of the spur from Colfax to the ghost town of Dawson. As of 1906 the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad had a route that connected down from the Dawson Road through Roy, Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Vaughn, Carrizozo, Alamogordo, Tularosa, down to El Paso and out to Deming and Lordsburg.[11] that later became part of the Southern Pacific.[12]

Buildings[edit]

Several El Paso and Southwestern buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Among these are the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Depot at 419 W. Congress Street in Tucson, Arizona;[13] the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Passenger Depot (also known as the Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Depot) at 14th Street and H Avenue in Douglas, Arizona;[14] and the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad YMCA (also known as the Douglas YMCA) at 1000 Pan American Avenue in Douglas;[15] and the Columbus, NM Museum at the intersection of NM State Routes 9 & 11.

Preserved and surviving locomotives[edit]

El Paso & Southwestern Railroad No. 1 locomotive is preserved at El Paso, Texas. Southern Pacific 3420, a Baldwin 2-8-0 light consolidation, oil burning, former EP&SW engine, is stored at the Phelps Dodge copper refinery in El Paso, Texas.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Beach and Rines, The Americana: A Universal Reference Library, 1911.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Cleland, A History of Phelps Dodge: 1834–1950, 1952.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Whitten, Whitten and Sisaye, The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860–1914: Commercial, Extractive, and Industrial Enterprise, 2005.
  4. ^ "Phelps Dodge Corporation," in International Directory of Company Histories, 2006.
  5. ^ Truett, Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 2006.
  6. ^ a b c d e Cravens, "El Paso and Southwestern Railroad," in The New Handbook of Texas, 1996.
  7. ^ a b c d e Aubé, The 48th, 2005.
  8. ^ Jensen, Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930, 1950; Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 7: Labor and World War I, 1914–1918, 1987; Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, 2000; Byrkit, "The Bisbee Deportation," in American Labor in the Southwest, 1982.
  9. ^ Herfindahl, Copper Costs and Prices: 1870–1957, 1959.
  10. ^ Robertson, Donald B. (1986). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, The Desert States. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers. p. 131. ISBN 0-87004-305-6. 
  11. ^ Frost, Max and Walter, Paul A. F. (1906) The land of sunshine: a handbook of the resources, products, industries and climate of New Mexico New Mexico Bureau of Immigration, New Mexican printing company, Santa Fe, page 117, OCLC 1806416
  12. ^ "New Mexico Railroad Map" World Book Encyclopedia 1940
  13. ^ "El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Depot (added 2004 — Building — #03000903)." Arizona — Pima County. National Register of Historic Places. Accessed August 17, 2008.
  14. ^ "El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Passenger Depot–Douglas (added 1986 — Building – #86000792)." Arizona — Cochise County. National Register of Historic Places. Accessed August 17, 2008.
  15. ^ "El Paso and Southwestern Railroad YMCA (added 1984 — Building — #84000647)." Arizona — Cochise County. National Register of Historic Places. Accessed August 17, 2008.

References[edit]

  • Aubé, Raymond F. The 48th. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2005. ISBN 1-4208-7755-0
  • Beach, Frederick Converse and Rines, George Edwin. The Americana: A Universal Reference Library. New York: The Americana Co., 1911.
  • Byrkit, James. "The Bisbee Deportation." In American Labor in the Southwest. James C. Foster, ed. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982. ISBN 0-8165-0741-4
  • Cleland, Robert Glass. A History of Phelps Dodge: 1834–1950. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952.
  • Cravens, Chris. "El Paso and Southwestern Railroad." In The New Handbook of Texas. Austin, Tex.: Texas State Historical Association, 1996. ISBN 0-87611-151-7
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn. We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World. Abridged ed. Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2000. ISBN 0-252-06905-6
  • Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 7: Labor and World War I, 1914–1918. New York: International Publishers, 1987. Cloth ISBN 0-7178-0638-3; Paperback ISBN 0-7178-0627-8
  • Herfindahl, Orris C. Copper Costs and Prices: 1870–1957. Washington, D.C.: RFF Press, 1959. ISBN 0-8018-0267-9
  • Jensen, Vernon H. Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1950.
  • "Phelps Dodge Corporation." In International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 75. Jay P. Pederson, ed. Florence, Ky.: St. James Press, 2006. ISBN 1-55862-579-8
  • Truett, Samuel. Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-300-11091-X
  • Whitten, David O.; Whitten, Bessie Emrick; and Sisaye, Seleshi. The Birth of Big Business in the United States, 1860–1914: Commercial, Extractive, and Industrial Enterprise. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 0-313-32395-X

Further reading[edit]

  • Robertson, Donald B. Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: The Desert States: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, 1986. ISBN 0-87004-305-6
  • Stindt, Fred A. American Shortline Railway Guide. 5th ed. Waukesha, Wisc.: Kalmbach Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-89024-290-9

External links[edit]