What Was the Desert Wells Stage Stop?

In Queen Creek, Arizona, three quarters of a mile south of Ocotillo Road, on the east side of Sossaman Road, is the site of the old Desert Wells Stage Stop. The pioneers described it as a simple one-room building, about 10 square feet square, constructed of rock with a mud and thatched roof.

There was a trough running around three of the sides used for watering the horses, a porch on the south side, and a well close by to fill the trough. It had one four-foot door on the south side, and small gun ports instead of windows. The stage stop was a resting area and water stop for the horses used by the stage that came from Florence via Olberg and continued through the gap in the San Tan Mountains and on to Mesa, Arizona. This stage route was in use in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Why Were Stagecoach Stops Significant?

Mail arrived in Arizona Territory via stagecoach. Mail delivered by stagecoach was the main means of communication between the Arizona Territory and the rest of the country. Stagecoach travel through the southwest was literally from watering hole to watering hole. Travel was dangerous! Between 1875 and 1903, there were one hundred twenty-nine stagecoach robberies in the Arizona Territory. Stagecoach mail delivery to Arizona ceased during the Civil War. Freight was shipped down the Colorado River at a great expense, but mail was only carried by travelers on horseback. Early settlers, mostly miners and ranchers, were completely cut off from the rest of the country. They had no idea what was happening with the war. Regular mail delivery was re-established in the 1870s and 1880s when the railroads came.

How Were Stagecoach Stops Used?

The Arizona Stage Company operating in 1868 is believed to be the carrier that used this out of the way stop as a rest stop on its route from Florence to Mesa. Jasper Sossaman reported when he first moved to the Queen Creek area with his mother and brothers in 1919, that the stage stop on the Andrad homestead had not been used for three years.

Even though this was a small spur stop, it holds a significant role in Queen Creek's history and folklore, and is treasured by the community.

~Frances Brandon Pickett Histories and Precious Memories of the Queen Creek area, Arizona 1916-1960 (San Tan Historical Society:Queen Creek, AZ, 1996)