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HONORING THE PAST

WeAreMakersThe unincorporated community of Bouse is located on Highway 72 in west-central Arizona, 29 miles from the Arizona and California border. Originally known as Brayton, Bouse as it is called today started as a mining community of tents when prospectors started arriving in the 1860's. The biggest draw was the availability of copper and gold. In 1964, the Old Planet mine on the Bill Williams River 20 miles north of Bouse was considered the first rich copper mine in the US. Quartzsite 27 miles from Bouse was at one time the richest placer gold mine in the country.

Thomas Bouse, who arrived in the region from Missouri around 1889, owned several mines --- the most prominent being the Old Dutchman mine and homesteaded on 320 acres in the Dry Ranegras plain. Thomas decided to make some fast money selling his well, the railroad right of way and some mining claims.

In 1904, the Arizona & California railroad, a branch of Sante Fe, laid tracks from Wickenburg, Arizona to California, passing through present day Salome, Hope and Bouse. The railroad did not reach Parker until about 1907. Eager small-time businessmen came to setup businesses to serve the railroad workers and miners who began to arrive in great numbers.

By 1906, John Brayton, owner of the Brayton Commercial Company of Wickenburg and Salome, had established the Brayton Mercantile Company on the Eastern side of the train depot and railroad tracks. The growing community became known as Brayton. With the railroad came other businesses in more permanent structures and on May 19, 1906 the Brayton Post Office, in then Yuma County was established. When the application form was submitted the proposed name on the document was Brayton. The form was returned by the government with Brayton crossed out and Bouse written in red ink. The Post Office was officially changed to Bouse on January 22, 1907.

By late 1910s, Bouse consisted of many wood framed buildings and small concrete block buildings housing businesses including hotels, gas stations, saloons, restaurants, mercantile shops, auto repair, a school house, post office and other operations that supported the growing community. But by 1930 both the Swansea and the Planet mineshad closed and Bouse had become a sleepy village of miners mixed with a few agriculture and cattle farms.

 

Historic Bouse

By 1943, many of the businesses had closed, and many of the remaining buildings were in poor condition. Bouse, with the world at war became known again, but only to those bought there by General George C Patton. General Patton brought World War II troops to Bouse for secret desert training. Camp Bouse was so extremely top secret, it was not listed with the dozen other training camps. They tested a top secret weapon system mounted on top a tank turret known as the 'Gizmo'. To this day, historian/authors often miss Camp Bouse when writing about the desert traing camp. Troop movement was extremely restricted -- once in Camp Bouse, there was no chance of transferring out.

Camp Bouse was closed in April 1944 and all the men were shipped back to Fort Knox, Kentucky then to Kilmer, New Jersey and onto England for further Training. Each year Bouse celebrates Camp Bouse Days with some of the men stationed in Camp Bouse returning.

As with much of the region, in the 1960s as the RV business grew and small trailers gave way to larger motor homes, the local population grows over the winter months as retirees and travellers leave the cold northern winters to enjoy more pleasant temperatures holidaying in and around the Bouse region and indeed throughout La Paz County. Highway 72 is a busy roadway and the main business route between Phoenix and Las Vegas. During the winter season it is packed with big trucks and RVs but in the summer RVs are replaced by cars pulling boats and other water craft to the river.

Bouse Then & Nowextract from " Bouse Arizona - Then & Now"
by Renee Townsend & Carolyn Brown 2012

(Click book image to purchase)

HISTORIC SITES OF INTEREST

CAMP BOUSE - The most secretive, heavily guarded military units in the United States Army came to Bouse in March 1943 and left the end of April 1944.
For more CLICK HERE

SWANSEA - Of all the ghost towns near Parker, Swansea is the best preserved.
For more CLICK HERE

POSTON RELOCATION MONUMENT - marks the site of the Poston War Relocation Center where 17,867 persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority of whom were United States citizens, were interned during World War II from May 1942 to November 1945.
For more CLICK HERE

WWII TANK MEMORIAL PARK - Located on Hwy 72 (on corner with Main St) the memorial was started by the Bouse Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the VFW Post 2357 and American Liegion Post 46 in 1996.

BOUSE AND THE RAILROAD

The railroad helped make the community of Bouse. The first train to arrive in Brayton (as it was then called) was a steam engine in 1904. The Arizona & California Railroad, a branch of the Santa Fe Railroad, has served Bouse ever since.

When the tracks were completed to the Swansea mine, the first train on the Arizona & Swansea line arrived from Bouse on 23 February 1910. With the extension of the railroad, the miners from Swansea came into Bouse on the weekends and the community grew.
For more CLICK HERE


(photo courtesy of Sharlot Hall)

 

MINING

Mines of La Paz County - CLICK HERE

The historical link between Mining and the Bouse area is unquestionable. Prospectors started arriving in the 1860's when Bouse was called Brayton. The biggest draw was the availability of copper and gold. There have been many mines within the bouse area, many owned over time by multiple mining companies.

When the Bouse Chamber of Commerce made the Assay Office a museum they brought in several pieces of old mining equipment and moved an old mining shack to it's present location beside the Assay Office. Thus creating a place where visitors can see what miners and their family lived in as they worked the mine.

The mining shack is believed to have been built about 1910 in Swansea and was moved initially by Bud Muse and later to his house behind the Ocotillo Lodge. The shack was later donated to the Bouse Chamber of Commerce by Roland and Adele Miller in 1997

 

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