Local History of the Apache – Cochise County

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Local History of the Apache - 1841-1886

Chiricahua Apaches: 1886. Image by C.S. Fly, Tombstone photographer.

Today, no one can understand the history of Tucson and Southern Arizona without first understanding the Apache Wars. For this reason Southern Arizona Guide has many articles about this complex and fascinating era of our history: America's longest war.

Cochise County in Southeast Arizona is where many major 19th century battles took place between the Apaches and the United States Army. Today, you can visit the historical sites made famous by the great chiefs, such as Cochise, Mangas Coloradas (Red Sleeves), and Victorio; and the fearless, ruthless shaman Goyathlay, better known today by his Spanish name … Geronimo.
Taking side trips and back roads through the beautiful countryside of Southeastern Arizona, you can stand in their shadow and begin to understand what it was like to live here on the frontier during the Apache Wars. Click on this link to view the Apache Wars Timeline.

The Forts

A series of forts were built to house the United States Army whose presence was needed by Anglo Americans to protect them from the dreaded Apaches. No such forts were built to protect the Apaches from the dreaded Anglos.

On the east side of Tucson is the restored Fort Lowell’s officers quarters and military museum. See our Arizona Historical Society Ft. Lowell video here.

Ruins of Ft Bowie Calvary Barracks at Apache Pass

Within a two-hour drive east from Tucson, you can visit the ruins of Fort Bowie; once a frontier outpost that guarded Apache Springs for the stagecoaches of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company. Near Fort Bowie ruins are Chiricahua National Monument with its magnificent “Standing Up Rocks” and well-preserved Faraway Ranch; and Cochise Stronghold which served as a high, rocky fortification and lookout station for the Chiricahua Apaches. Read More