Steaming into the Future

Train
Illustration by Bob Boze Bell

Few innovations changed the face of Arizona more than the arrival of the first steam engine in Tucson in March of 1880. Travel time for passengers going to Los Angeles, California, was reduced from five days to less than one, with the cost dropping by two thirds. Freight shipments that previously took three months now arrived in four days, and freight charges dropped to one tenth of what steamer or wagon freighters charged. Better quality lumber arrived along with special imports like El Paso pressed brick. More important, the railroad brought people from all over the world to live and to visit, spelling the end of the frontier in Arizona.

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