Courtland

In 1908, a rich vein of copper ore was discovered between Sulphur Springs Valley and the old mine camp of Turquoise, and a rush was on. Four mining companies - the Great Western, Leadville, Calumet & Arizona, and Copper Queen - were soon established and quickly staking and negotiating claims. The largest landowner was the Great Western Copper Mining Co., owned by brothers William and Courtland Young, lumber magnates from Iowa, and it was after Courtland Young that the new townsite was named in 1909.

1909 saw extensive developments for Courtland. A weekly newspaper, the Courtland Arizonan, went into publication in February and a post office opened the following month. Two rivaling railroads - the Arizona & Colorado (owned by Southern Pacific) and the El Paso & Southwestern - scrambled to make connections to the town's rich mines. The EP&SW arrived first, completing a 33-mile branch from Douglas which ended in two split lines that nearly encircled Courtland. As a result, SP opted to only skirt the town's southern edge, with their line continuing to Gleeson.

By mid-1910, Courtland grown to 2000 residents, with over five miles of water mains, telegraph, and an array of businesses, including a barber shop, ice cream parlor, and even an automotive dealership and movie theater. The town had distinct districts as well, including the 'tenderloin' at the far northern edge; it the only place in town where the sale of alcohol was permitted and naturally other pool halls and houses of ill-repute congregated there as well.

Unfortunately, Courtland's rich ore body proved to be shallow. Mining declined through the mid-1910s, before ending completely after World War I. Phelps Dodge, who owned the El Paso & Southwestern, sold the entire system to Southern Pacific in 1924. SP used the lines to service farms and ranches in the area until 1932, when all railroad connections to Courtland were abandoned. The post office held on, serving the area until 1942. With the exception of a copper leaching operation in the 1960s, Courtland has remained quiet since.

I Visited Courtland
1.19.2019

Ghost Town Trail
GleesonCourtlandPearce

Bibliography