From San Francisco to Phoenix in 2,000 miles in 1865
The only way to go was by ship, and the journey was about 2,000 miles. In order to do this, you had to sail down the coast of California, around the tip of Baja California and up to the Colorado River to Arizona City (now called Yuma), through Mexico. But that was the easy part! From there, provisions had to be hauled overland, which was done by teams of oxen.
So, while 1865 isn't really that long ago, and while people were enjoying champagne and caviar in San Francisco, life in Phoenix was very primitive. The Federal Government could afford to bring things in from civilization, but most businesses in Phoenix just relied on Prescott, or Tucson.
Eventually bridges were built, and the railroad made this type of water travel unnecessary. The clever blocking of this port from the Americans during of the Gadsen Purchase was designed to force American cargo to go through Mexico, which it did for a while, but only for a few decades. The Americans found a better way, and this route was all but forgotten.
Posted by Brad Hall