Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fort Yuma

Crossing Imperial County – Stop 15 

So here it is, 246 miles and in theory roughly ten hours to go to the 15 state landmarks of Imperial County as we reach the end of the eastbound line at Ft. Yuma. From 1892 to today the fort has been part of the 45,000 acre Quechan Reservation and has provided a variety of services in that time. Hungry? Tacos Mi Ranchito on 4th in Yuma AZ is less than a mile away.

From the album ‘Landmarks of Imperial County’:
It was also called Camp Independence for a brief time before becoming Camp Yuma.  Of note was that it never had walls and was more of a barracks than a Fort, with the purpose of defending the Yuma crossing, providing military protection for wagon trains and attempting to control the Yuma Indians within a 100 mile area.  As many as 60,000 emigrants crossed the Colorado River at Fort Yuma in 1851. 

As the hottest Army post in the country, they used thick sun dried brick walls with double wooden roofs and covered sentry walkways to lessen the heat's effect, yet many soldiers were ill prepared for this duty and died from complications of heat stroke and exhaustion. In mid summer the soldiers had no duties and would attempt to sleep after midnight on the rooftops.

Plaque Inscription: State Historical Landmark No. 806 FORT YUMA Originally called Camp Calhoun, the site was first used as a U.S. military post in 1849. A fire destroyed the original buildings. By 1855 the barracks had been rebuilt. Called Camp Yuma in 1852, it became Fort Yuma after reconstruction. Transferred to the Department of the Interior and the Quechan Indian Tribe in 1884, it became a boarding school operated by the Catholic Church until 1900.

Location: On bank of Colorado River,
350 Picacho Road
, Winterhaven
Google maps: 32.730613,-114.615523

FORT YUMA                                    © Radio Flier Music

Chorus - Aye yi, Fort Yuma, Fort Yuma we've come a long way
Aye yi, Fort Yuma, we make Fort Yuma today

From the Mountains Springs grade we made Desert Tower
And drank at the Yuha well
We rested a time at Camp Salvation
And visited Ft. Pacheco

Then we moved on to dance at the Rancho
And down the
Old Plank Road
Then off to see Camp Pilot Knob
Oh the things this Valley has known

We saw the sculptures of Driftwood Charley
And went to a couple of mines
Some trails were short some took forever
 Fort Yuma the trail will wind

We saw the place in 1540
The search for the cities of gold
We then learned the fate of those two missions
It's been an adventurous road

Fort Yuma's so hot there's the tale of the soldier
Who died and went down to hell
But he came back to pick up some blankets
To lessen the devilish chill

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