What's left of the old Desert Wells Stage Stop can be found three-quarters of a mile south of Ocotillo Road on the east side of Sossaman Road. It was described by the pioneers as a simple one room building about 10 foot square, constructed of rock with a mud and thatched roof.
There was a trough running around three of the sides that was used for watering the horses, a porch on the south side and a well close by to fill the trough. It had one four-foot door on the south side and small gun ports instead of windows.
The stage stop was a resting area and water stop for the horses used by the stage that came from Florence via Olberg and continued through the gap in the San Tan Mountains on to Mesa, Arizona. This stage route was in use in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Arizona Stage Company operating in 1868 is believed to be the carrier that used this out of the way route. Jasper Sossaman reported when he first moved to the Queen Creek area with his mother and brothers in 1919, that the stage stop had not been used for three years. The Historical Society continues to research this landmark and would welcome any additional information or photos.
Even though this was a small spur stop, it holds a significant role in Queen Creek’s history and folklore, and is treasured by the community. The San Tan Historical Society is also working to obtain grant money for improvements to the site.
Photos by Dave Salge, 12/01
Excerpts from the following were used for this article:
Histories & Precious Memories of the Queen Creek area, Arizona 1916 – 1960, by Frances Brandon Pickett (1996)