New roof 2020

        The Skull Valley Depot Story

In May of 1894, the first railroad tracks were laid in Skull Valley. Our first Railroad Depot was built in 1896, to serve the large ranches of cattle, sheep, and Angora goats; the truck farmers, passengers and the mining interests of Copper Basin mining district. It was built in a small grove of cottonwood trees on the West side of the Railroad tracks across from the trailer park, just east of the South East corner of Bochat’s property where the old road used to cross the creek.

The track generally followed the old mule train freight route winding up the mountains from Martinez, now Congress Junction, northwest to Hillside, east to Kirkland and North to Skull Valley. The mule freight trail then went on North around Granite Mountain into Prescott, via what is now Williamson Valley.


The Santa Fe Prescott & Phoenix Railroad Company (SFP & P) chose to build over the Sierra Prieta Mountain. When the train reached Skull Valley, engine “helpers” were required to push the freight trains up the steep mountain grade to Iron Springs. They made one stop on the way up the mountain at Rams Gate to take on wood and water.



The “Cherry Creek Station” depot now used as our Museum was built in 1898, near Dewey and was moved here in 1926 to the Depot site 1/2 mile South of the original Depot. It is thought that the relocation was for the purpose of taking advantage of their gravity flow water right located in Coughran’s Canyon versus a well water supply near the original depot site.

The last passenger service to use this depot was in April, 1969 and the last freight service to stop in Skull Valley was in March 1969. Eight to ten freight trains still travel through Skull Valley daily.


The Santa Fe Railroad donated the depot building to the Skull Valley Historical Society in 1969. In November 1970 the depot was moved to its present location and left resting on timbers, later to be placed on a new cement and cement block foundation in 1994.


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