Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tyson's Well Stage Station Museum

Tyson's Well Stage Station Museum
Tucked away on a side street surrounded by humongous flea markets it a little museum that is well work visiting when you’re in Quartzsite, Arizona.

The Tyson’s Well Stage Station Museum is easy to miss, surrounded as it is by a chain link fence, with the entrance down a short dirt road.

The museum is housed in an old adobe brick building, the same one that was used as the stage coach station in the 1860s.It was established by Charley Tyson and was an important stop on the stage route to California because it offered excellent water and grass for the horses. The building has been restored somewhat, but otherwise sits just where it was when Charley Tyson built it. I was surprised at how small the rooms were as well as how low the ceilings were. For sure, tall hombres like John Wayne wouldn’t fit in the building comfortably, and would be forever banging their heads on the door jamb as they moved from room to room.

Outside the stage station, near a dirt and gravel parking lot that would be crowded with more than a handful of cars, is a miniature replica of the stage station created in rock pieces and adobe. The display also contains a village in miniature, and was created over eight years by a man who wintered in Quartzsite. His family donated it to the museum when he died.

The museum houses memorabilia detailing Quartzsite’s history since it was founded in 1867, including sections devoted to prominent citizens, like Hi Jolly, whose name of Hadjii Alli was mangled in translation. Hi Jolly was one of several camel drivers who accompanied a herd of camels to Arizona back in the days when the U.S. Army cavalry experimented with using camels instead of  horses in this desert setting. The experiment failed, but Hi Jolly and the camels became permanent residents of the Arizona Territory.

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