On the north side of Yuma, just south of I-8, sits the Colorado River State Historic Park. The park is on the site of the Yuma Quartermaster’s Depot and was opened as a state historic park in 1997. The museum on the property has a vast collection with artifacts from sea, rail, and road, including the Southern Pacific Railway.
How the Yuma Quartermaster’s Depot (QMD) Came to Be
In 1849, immigrants would come through Yuma by ferry on their way to the California goldfields. With so many travelers coming through town and along the Colorado River, the military established a post in Yuma in 1850. By 1858 gold strikes were happening along the Colorado River, and Yuma became a gold rush town.
The QMD was established in 1864, and was significant to the history of the Arizona Territory.
The Importance of the QMD to the Arizona Territory
The QMD was of major importance in the movement of goods from California down the Colorado River. The QMD was a military storage yard and supply center for military posts in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Southern Utah, and West Texas.
The home where the Quartermaster and his family would live has been preserved on the grounds, along with other historical buildings, vehicles, and even a wooden train car.
For a complete history of the park, check out the park website in the link above.
The Yuma Project
The state park museum tells a fascinating story of The Yuma Project, and how the Bureau of Reclamation took over the property in 1904 after the Army had vacated the premises. Yuma and the surrounding area was in need of water for irrigation purposes for the vast cropland, so the Bureau of Reclamation redirected water from the north along the Colorado River through a series of dams and canals, culminating with the Colorado River siphon. This siphon moved the water down under the road through a large tunnel and back up the other side to continue down into Yuma.
Sights from the Park
If you ever have the opportunity, stop by the Colorado River State Historic Park in Yuma, Arizona. With its rich history and educational displays, you won’t be disappointed.
Jennifer Skinnell is the author of the Hope Springs Romance Series available on Amazon. Click here to read about each book in the series and and see her quilt gallery. Click here to check out her Amazon Author Page.