By Tom Kollenborn, 2001
East of Superstition Mountain and just to the north of Pinal City, an old mill town east of Superior on the Queen Creek, there are some rolling hills that lead up to Iron (Irion) Mountain.
These rolling hills provide small springs and good grazing for cattle. The area also has a canyon called Haunted Canyon and is filled with small caves. This region is known as the Roger’s Mining District and includes upper Hewitt Canyon, Iron Mountain and Roger’s Canyon.
According to a July 17, 1880, Pinal Drill article, a group of Mormons tried to build a wagon road from Mesa City to Globe through the region known as the Roger’s Mining Distruct, which includes upper Hewitt Canyon, Iron Mountain and Roger’s Canyon.
They followed a route east from Bark Ranch and up Fraser Canyon. The promoters of this toll road idea finally ran out of funds and never completed it.
Early in February of 1891, Surveyor William M. Breakenridge, along with A.J. Halbert and William Kimball, made a trip into the mountainous region west of Globe. They were in quest of a suitable route for a wagon road between Globe and Phoenix. But, the railroad and the King Trail provided sufficient access to the area and discouraged the spending of funds for another attempt at building a wagon road between Globe and Mesa City. The concept of public funding did not reach Arizona Territory until after the turn of the century.
Breakenridge and his party left the Pinal Road about six miles east of Desert Station and swung around the end of Superstition Mountain to Marlow’s (Bark) Ranch some twenty-seven miles east of Mesa City. The road would then run up a canyon to Fraser’s Ranch (JF Ranch) with a slight grade. From the Fraser Ranch the surveyed line ran four miles up and over the mountain range east of the ranch. From the summit the road would follow the course of the West Fork of Pinto Creek to the Horrell Cattle Ranch. One mile below the Horrell Cattle Ranch and a few miles to the east the road would connect with a county road leading to Globe.
Breakenridge believed this route to be the best one from Mesa City to Globe and construction of the wagon road was attempted, for the second time, in 1892. The attempt failed again because of a lack of funds, but portions of this old road still exist in Fraser Canyon just west of the old Fraser Ranch.
Shortly after this survey project, William “Billy” Breakenridge became involved with locating a site for the Tonto Dam (Roosevelt Dam). Breakenridge soon realized the government would be building a road from Phoenix to the Tonto Dam site. This road would eventually connect with the old Tonto Basin Road, therefore providing a wagon road to Globe via the Tonto (Roosevelt) Dam.
The Mesa-Roosevelt Road (Apache Trail) was used for wagons and self-propelled vehicles from 1903 until 1922. The Globe-Superior Road was completed in May of 1922 and provided Phoenix merchants an opportunity to tap into the rich economic markets provided by the copper mining towns of Globe and Miami.
Globe was a rich mining area prior to the turn of the century and when copper became king, Globe and Miami became very important Arizona cities. And although the wagon toll road was never completed, the remnants of the old Mesa City-Globe wagon road remains visible along the course of Fraser Canyon south of the JF Ranch.
Arizona Republican, 02/28/1891
Pinal Drill, 07/17/1880