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Picturing history: Cooke's Wagon Road

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 6:13 a.m. MDT

This view shows the area in which the Mormon Battalion blazed a trail near present-day I-10 and the Arizona-New Mexico border. (Kenneth Mays) This view shows the area in which the Mormon Battalion blazed a trail near present-day I-10 and the Arizona-New Mexico border. (Kenneth Mays)

After a few days rest at Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Mormon Battalion headed south, following the Rio Grande. After a few weeks, it headed more southwest, blazing a new trail as it went. This was the first road from New Mexico to the west coast, and the route was later used by others, including stagecoaches and the railroad.

The conditions under which this road was made were harsh, particularly the lack of water. Because the battalion was under the leadership of Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke, the road bears his name, at least informally, and it is often referred to as Cooke’s Wagon Road.

These views show the area the battalion followed near present-day I-10 near the Arizona-New Mexico border.

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