Federal legislation to designate the Butterfield Overland Trail as a National Historic Trail was signed into law by President Joe Biden. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas was the prime sponsor of S.3519; among the five co-sponsors was Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Gerald Ahnert, author of “The Butterfield Trail and Overland Mail Company in Arizona,” and Helen Erickson with the University of Arizona have worked on the trail segment that runs through Fort Bowie National Historic Site.
The route, operated from 1858-1861 by the Butterfield Overland Mail Company and also known as the Butterfield Stage, was used to transport U.S. mail and passengers between St. Louis, Memphis, and San Francisco, serving as the route of the longest stagecoach operation in history. It became known as the “ox-bow route” due to its curved path comprised of approximately 3,553 miles of trail routes in eight states: Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
For more information on the stops along The Butterfield Overland Trail Auto Tour, visit https://octa-trails.org/butterfield-trail/