Death Valley is part of the Mojave Desert. Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California and a small part of Nevada in the United States. It is one of the hottest places on Earth and holds the record for the highest air temperature ever recorded, which reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius) in Furnace Creek Ranch on July 10, 1913.
The Mojave Desert is a vast desert in the southwestern United States, primarily in southeastern California, southern Nevada, and parts of Arizona and Utah. It is the driest desert in North America and is known for its arid landscapes, unique plant and animal life, and iconic features like Joshua Tree National Park.
Death Valley is situated within the Mojave Desert, and the two are often mentioned together due to their geographic proximity and shared arid climate characteristics.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Route was a historic transportation route in the mid-19th century that played a crucial role in connecting the eastern and western parts of the United States.
Here are some key points about the Butterfield Overland Mail Route:
Establishment: The Butterfield Overland Mail Company was awarded a government contract in 1857 to establish and operate a stagecoach and mail route between St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. The purpose of the route was to improve communication and transportation between the two coasts, especially in light of the California Gold Rush.
Route: The route covered approximately 2,800 miles and passed through eight present-day states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Oregon. It traversed various terrains, including deserts, mountains, and plains.
Frequency and Duration: The Butterfield Overland Mail Company operated its stagecoaches twice a week in each direction, and the journey took about 25 days to complete. This significantly improved travel time compared to other methods available at the time.
Stations and Stops: The company established a series of stations along the route to facilitate the long and arduous journey, spaced about 20-30 miles apart. These stations provided fresh horses, food, and accommodations for passengers and drivers. Some of these stations eventually became important settlements in their own right.
Challenges: The route faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions, difficult terrain, and the threat of attacks from Native American tribes. The company had to implement security measures to protect passengers and mail.
End of Operations: The Butterfield Overland Mail Route faced financial difficulties exacerbated by the onset of the Civil War. 1861, the service was suspended, and the stagecoaches and stations were abandoned. The route became less relevant as the transcontinental railroad was completed after the Civil War, offering faster and more reliable transportation.
Legacy: While the Butterfield Overland Mail Route was relatively short-lived, its legacy persists. The route contributed to the United States’s westward expansion and shaped the development of communities along its path. Some old stations have been preserved as historic sites, and portions of the route have been designated the “Butterfield Overland Mail Route.”
The Butterfield Overland Mail Route remains an important chapter in the history of westward expansion and transportation in the United States during the mid-19th century.
The Butterfield Overland Mail was a stagecoach and mail delivery service that operated from 1857 to 1861. It was a vital communication and transportation link between the eastern and western United States.
The route covered approximately 2,800 miles, connecting St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. It passed through several states, including Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
The term “Oxbow” might not be directly associated with the Butterfield Overland Mail but could be a local or regional name for a section of the route or a specific location along the way.
Overland Stage Route:
The Overland Stage Route, on the other hand, generally refers to the network of stagecoach routes that existed in the western United States during the 19th century. These routes were crucial for mail delivery, transportation of passengers, and freight.
The most famous of these stagecoach lines was the Butterfield Overland Mail, but there were other stage lines as well, such as the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company (C.O.C. & P.P.), which operated a route known as the “Pony Express.”
1 – Old Spanish Trail/Indian trail (1827) 2 – Cajon Pass (Lower) – Indian trail 3 – Lone Pine Canyon – Indian trail 4 – Sheep Creek – Indian trail 5 – Sanford Pass (c.1854-57) 6 – Fort Tejon – Indian trail 7 – to Mojave River – Indian trail 8 – to Daggett (c.1855) 9 – Lucerne/Cushenbury Lumber road 10 – Van Dusen/Holcomb Valley Road – (1862) 11 – Mojave Indian trail (c.1776, 1826)
These maps are based on a USGS 1901 base map and overlay onto a current street map. This series was developed to show how the dependence on potable water for man or beast shaped the transportation network in the late 19th Century.
This map identifies various geographic locations, general features, and roads throughout the Lucerne & Johnson valleys as it was in 1901.
The blue marks show reliable water and rest stops as would be used by travelers and teamsters. These water stops are roughly 10 miles apart as the roads go.
The generalized trails connecting the water and rest stops are highlighted. A few redundant and miscellaneous trails have been purposely omitted for clarity.
This map has had the 1901 base map replaced with a current street map.
This map has had the water node locations removed.
Finally, the 1901 trails have been highlighted and the location labels removed for clarity in showing the relationship between the roads then and now.
Jefferson Hunt’s Mojave San Joaquin Company, a wagon train made up of anxious gold seekers and settlers frustrated by a late start across the desert in late 1849 join with Captain Hunt to be guided across the Mojave Desert along the new southern route. Tensions rise with a wrong venture into the Escalante Desert and at a point east of Enterprise, and north of Mountain Meadows, Utah, anarchy ensues and the train breaks up into two factions; those who will become lost and those who will go on as planned. Of the 107 wagons in this once large party, only seven wagons remain.
Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park
On December 22, 1849, the ‘Mojave Sand-walking Company,’ as it became known, arrived in San Bernardino, California. At the same time the remaining ‘Lost ’49ers,’ about one-quarter of those who broke away originally, were entering the desolate Death Valley and would be celebrating Christmas Day near what we know as Furnace Creek.
This map shows the three main trails across the Mojave Desert; the Midland Trail, Arrowhead Trail, and the National Old Trails Road. These roads at the time were unpaved and varied in condition and the skills involved to navigate them.