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History of the Area
Much of the land area of Arizona became part of the United States after the cessation of the Mexican-American War (1846 – 1848) in 1848. Upon the signing of a peace treaty with Mexico, known as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the land area north of the Gila River of what is now known as Arizona became part of the United States (the Territory of New Mexico, including the area of New Mexico and Arizona). The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848 and is named for the location where the treaty was signed, the main altar of the old Cathedral of Guadalupe at Villa Hidalgo, a small city just north of Mexico City.

In 1853, the land area south of the Gila River, that is now part of Arizona, was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase.

On February 24, 1863, in Washington D.C., the new Arizona Territory was established.

Map of the routes for
Federal Railroad Land Grants

During this time period the United States government pursued policies to encourage the development of the western territories and the country’s natural resources. Many laws were passed to facilitate these policies including the Homestead Acts, Mining laws, and the Railroad Land Grants.

To facilitate the development of the western territories several laws were passed by the United States Congress and signed by the President, to provide incentives for the railroad companies to develop train routes to the west. These Railroad Land Grants were passed into law and established that the railroads would be deeded every other section of land within 20 to 30 miles of the railroad right of way if the companies constructed the railroad to the west. The lands were being granted to the railroads to provide them with assets (collateral) necessary for the railroads to raise capital and loans to build the very costly intercontinental railroads. During the 1880’s the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway constructed the railroad route through northern Arizona to the west coast.

Many little cities sprung up along the route for the railroad, to support and service the trains. Yucca, Arizona is one of those cities. From the railroad in Yucca, Arizona, the mining town of Signal (southeast of Santa Fe Ranch) and the mines surrounding the area were served by a Stagecoach route. The Stagecoach went from Yucca to Signal using a trail that is generally located along the route of what is known today as Alamo Road. This is why the marketing name of Stagecoach Trails at Santa Fe Ranch was used for this development.

As with almost all the railroad companies that constructed the various rail routes to the west, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway went bankrupt, even before it was able to get all their land grants from the United States. In the 1920’s the Railroad Land Grants for the lands in the area of Yucca, Arizona (including the Santa Fe Ranch lands) were signed by the President of the United States and the property became privately owned by the railroad company. Eventually the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad took over the company. The Railroad Land Grants deed every other Section of land to the railroad creating what is known as the “checkerboard” land ownership of mixed private and government lands.


The 13 rays of red and gold on the top half of the flag represent both the 13 original colonies of the Union, and the rays of the Western setting sun. Red and gold were also the colors carried by Coronado's Spanish expedition in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1540. The bottom half of the flag has the same Liberty blue as the United States flag. Since Arizona was the largest producer of copper in the nation, a copper star was placed in the flag's center.

On February 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state (last of the contiguous states) admitted to the United States.

The Santa Fe Pacific Railroad (“SFPRR”) held their land for many years and they would occasionally sell off some of their lands to ranchers, farmers, miners and other private parties.


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