Prospectors and Postmen: Delivery by Water

“For All Points Along the Colorado River”

Steamers left San Francisco for the Gulf of California every 20 days and then traveled up the Colorado River. The port at Yuma was a major artery in the delivery of supplies to Arizona.

The steamboats transported not only mail and goods, but also people. In 1874 Martha Summerhayes traveled on the steamboat Gila from Fort Yuma to Fort Mohave. In her book Vanished Arizona, she describes the conditions:

The staterooms “were always stuffy and noisy, and in the summer they were so suffocatingly hot.” In the dining room, “the metal handles of the knives were uncomfortably warm to the touch; and even the wooden arms of the chairs felt as if they were slowly igniting… A siesta was out of the question, as the staterooms were insufferable; and so we dragged out the weary days.”