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HONORING THE PAST - BOUSE AND THE RAILROAD

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

(Click book image to purchase)

 

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, including bring Patton's troops into Bouse in 1943. When the railroad was started Bouse was on the main line from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

In 1906 the bustling tent community of Brayton surrounded the railroad depot. As more miners came into the area, the community grew to serve them. The railroad became a major form of transportation to and from Bouse, and the mail arrived by railroad for many years. The railroad also brought ice to Bouse for the residents.

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. During that time many other businesses were created in the area to serve them.

 

BOUSE RAILROAD DEPOT

The Bouse Railroad Depot was located on the east side of the railroad tracks between the tracks and Santa Fe Street, across from the current location of the Coachman Cafe. In the early years, many tons of ore were shipped from this depot to smelters around the country. In the early 1900's people were drawn to the area by handbills distributed by the Bouse Townsite, Land and Improvement Company Others came to work the mines. A few entrepreneurs came to Bouse to set up small businesses to serve the influx of mines. The Railroad Depot became a magnet for new business as there was easy transportation to bring goods to the growing community.

LAST STEAM TRAIN TO STOP IN BOUSE

On May 15 2012 Santa Fe 3751 and its vintage silver passenger cars pulled into Bouse. It was a blistering one hundred degrees as a sizeable crowd—some sitting in lawn chairs in what little shade they could get from their car or truck, others standing for the first time in the new Rest Stop in the center of town—caught first sight of the steaming and puffing locomotive rolling toward Bouse.

You could have turned the clock back one hundred years save for the fancy ATVs and pick-ups parked along the newly painted parking slots as old 3751’s engineer tooted the lonesome hooter and the old steam train pulled to a stop. Behind the engine trailed fully-restored 1950s passenger coaches, sleepers, and dome cars. Bringing up the rear, was a silver rounded domed observation car, the Silver Solarium—looking somewhat like today’s (or yesterday’s) Airstream travel trailer with a bubble on top, and bearing the markings of the California Zephyr, which ran from Chicago to Oakland, Calif. from 1949 to 1970.

Bouse was to have one more chance to see the Santa Fe 3751 and its vintage cars on one more occassion as she made her return run back to California four days later.

 
 
 

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