View Full Version : Tale of Two Crittendens

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:46 PM
Crittenden, AZ was a rail station and 2-story hotel 5 miles SW of Camp Crittenden in Santa Cruz County… On May 3rd, 1887 a 7.2 earthquake in Sonora, Mexico caused major damage to structures throughout southern AZ including the hotel at Crittenden… The second floor was removed from the hotel and materials from the recently abandoned Kentucky Camp were used to build a roof over the first floor of the hotel… Crittenden today is a rather prosperous looking ranch along the side of highway 82 halfway between the town of Patagonia and the ruins of the old military installation, Fort Crittenden… The railroad tracks have all been removed but you can see the remains of the embankments all along the highway…

The ruins of Camp Crittenden are on the Crown C ranch… A National Historical Marker is on the highway… Camp Crittenden's predecessor, Fort Buchanan, is about a mile to the SW in Hog Canyon but there are no remains… The adobe bricks for the buildings on Camp Crittenden were made in Adobe Canyon on the other side of Fort Buchanan… Camp/Fort Crittenden is fairly well chronicled by the following excerpts from the Center for Desert Archeology…

"[1858] Soldiers stationed at Fort Buchanan at the head of Sonoita Creek began prospecting in the Santa Rita and Patagonia ranges. Several of the soldiers joined together in 1858 to purchase the Corral Viego Mine from a Mexican prospector, and they sunk shafts and built furnaces at the renamed Patagonia mine. The following year, the Patagonia Mine was purchased by Lieutenant Sylvester Mowry from nearby Fort Crittendon. The renamed Mowry Mine eventually became an enormous success, with a population of several hundred and 12 blast furnaces reducing the rich silver and lead ore into bars."

June 2005 (web), Center for Desert Archeology
Interpretive Themes and Related Resources, Mining Booms (1680 to Present), pg. 132

"By the time Fort Buchanan was abandoned at the beginning of the Civil War, work had already begun on moving the post about half a mile northeast. When troops of the 1st Cavalry moved from Camp Tubac to the selected location in 1868, they found enough neatly stacked adobe bricks, left in 1861, to construct the necessary buildings. The new post above Sonoita Creek was named Camp Crittenden after a colonel of the 32nd Infantry, then commanding the District of Tucson. The garrison actively scouted and pursued Apaches raiding ranches in the region, seeing much action during 1870 and 1871.

Under orders to end the last Indian resistance in the region, General George Crook was assigned command of the Department of Arizona in June 1871. In the fall of 1872, he began a campaign to defeat the last groups of Yavapais and Western Apaches who resisted relocation to reservations. Needing troops for this campaign, Crook ordered the abandonment of Camp Crittenden, but sent a troop of the 5th Cavalry to protect local farmers until after the harvest. This detachment left at the end of the year to participate in the campaign, leaving behind only a small garrison to remove government property. Crittenden was finally abandoned in June 1873. That same year, a military telegraph system connecting San Diego with Yuma, Tucson, and Prescott was completed, and was used during the campaign. Ultimately, Cochise’s band of Chiricahua Apaches agreed to settle on a reservation in southeastern Arizona. With the considerable help of Apache scouts from other bands, the Yavapai and Western Apache were defeated, and the few survivors were forced onto reservations. The last holdouts surrendered by 1875."

June 2005 (web), Center for Desert Archeology
Interpretive Themes and Related Resources, United States Military Posts on the Mexico Border (1856 to Present), pp. 143-144

Aerial photos of Camp Crittendon on RCGroups forum: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=505717#post5338564

Watt Noise?

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:49 PM
Crittendon "Hotel"...

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:51 PM
Ranch on Crittenden site...

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:52 PM
Fort's topo...

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:53 PM
Fort Crittenden's powder magazine...

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:55 PM
Ruins of Company C barracks are the only other walls standing...

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 04:57 PM
Does anyone know what the remains are at the end of big Casa Blanca Canyon?

04-15-2006, 05:37 PM
AWSOME POST===========
Wow this one was a good read and it's complamented by some good pic's. Sounds like some where I would go hiking/camping around, I just wish i had time to go to half of the places I've read about here.

Hey Watt -- do you think it would cause a problem if some one were to go exploring around this area? you know backpacking or maybe a little hunting throwin in there?

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 05:53 PM
Hi, Andy... The last topo of Casa Blanca Canyon is actually part of the AZ historical trail (I think that's what it's called)... Anyways, I know their are hiking trails and hunting all around that area in the National Forest... There's even a cabin a few miles in the hills from Camp Crittenden that can be rented overnight from the forest service... Google keywords Casa Blanca Canyon, Coronado National Forest hiking in Santa Cruz county, Washington Camp, and Chinaman Ditch...

edit: I meant to mention Casa Blanca Canyon is right in between the 2 Crittendens...


04-15-2006, 06:12 PM
Hi Kevin--

Awsome, this sounds like a great place for my next venture. If I go out that way I will let you know for sure. I will research this place a little more when I get the chance. Hey thanks again for your post man.

Ps. Have you ever heard of the Dragon Eye.....UAV?

Watt Noise
04-15-2006, 07:58 PM
Have you ever heard of the Dragon Eye.....UAV?

I wasn't sure so I had to search for it - I had seen it before, but I don't keep up on the UAV's very much... Were you involved with it or get to use one?

04-15-2006, 08:45 PM
Yeah I got to use one. I checked out your site, and thought that was the kinda stuff you were using. But sorry to get off the subject of your awsome post. I'm serious about going there when I get some time off. If there is any area you would like some current info. on I would be glad to head that way. This will not be for some time yet, but my offer is there, and when I do hit the road I'll let you know. Thanks again for your post!!!

Watt Noise
04-16-2006, 10:53 AM
You're right - I should have been more specific about access permission at the Crown C ranch and the cabin is at Kentucky Camp...

04-17-2006, 10:06 AM
Hey Total Wreacke, thanks man, and yeah, I would really like to visit this area, so any info. on who,what,when,why, and how would be cool. Any info. on surrounding areas would be cool too. I will probally be back packin and taking picture's like a tourist, and if I can I'll bring my rifle to play with too. I need to qiut messing around and buy the topo's for my garmin too, so I can plot AND nav. I'll be glad to add to this post when I do this, but like I said it will not be for a while. Thanks Again for the info. guys

PS If you could post that site for those adobie's that would be cool, thanks again guys!

Watt Noise
04-18-2006, 12:29 AM
These are items from Camp Crittenden and Fort Buchanan in the Museum of the Horse Soldier where I work... The gentleman in some of the photos I've posted is Steve Szabo, the historian of the museum, that excavated these pieces from the late 1960's through the 90's... The museum displays about 3,000 of his pieces and archives about another 7,000... He has worked on excavations of military sites all over Arizona and New Mexico... Luckily, he puts up with me and has agreed to take me to several of these sites to photograph them for display in the museum...

If any of you are ever in Tucson, stop by and say hello... The museum is in Trail Dust Town on Tanque Verde Rd... Large collection of US Cavalry items from the early 1800's through WW II, so give yourself some time to take it all in... Steve is there Friday and Sunday evenings from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM to talk to visitors... I work the same times Monday through Wednesday evenings and every other weekend in the evenings... My photos are displayed only when I'm there...


Fort Buchanan pieces...

Watt Noise
04-18-2006, 12:30 AM
Camp Crittenden items...

04-19-2006, 09:22 AM
Hey Tw, wow thanks man that's some great info, more than I could of ever asked for. THANK YOU. I will come down again. My last trip to AZ only lasted 4 days, and I spent most of my time hiking in places my dad used to take me camping and rock hounding. Only found quartz damit. But I sure will make a trip down there with all the info you gave me. I'll probably need to buy an extra flash card for my camera too. I'll let you guys know when I'm headed your way, like I said it won't be for a couple months, but hopefully this time I'll have a whole week to explore AZ. Hey thanks again for the info. guys

Watt Noise
04-21-2006, 09:11 PM
Come on down, best time to visit SE AZ is July & August.

LOL - yeah, if you eat brimstone and wear an asbestos suit... One thing for sure, you'll not be bothered by any crowds... I think we should start an initiative to change the name to Hades in the summer months... Truth in advertising laws should apply...

Watt Noise
04-23-2006, 12:07 PM
I keep running into little tidbits of info on Camp Crittenden... This is a hand drawn map of the encampment made at the time of some excavations... I think some of the aerial photos pointed out a couple of possible building locations that are not mapped... ~Maybe...

04-24-2006, 05:50 AM
Great photos Kevin. From what I understand the forts are on private property and permission is required, but that's an area I'd love to see sometime.


Watt Noise
04-24-2006, 06:14 AM
You are right... Fort Crittenden is on the Crown C ranch and does require permission to explore around... Persons of "good nature" should have no problem gaining access if they ask... Kevin