An Isolated Frontier Outpost: Historical and Archaeological Investigations of the Carrizo Creek Station

Overland Mail Stage

Publication: Publications in Cultural Heritage, No. 29

Author: Stephen Van Wormer & Sue Wade

Date of Publication: 2012

PDF File: AN-ISOLATED-FRONTIER-OUTPOST-Historical-and-Archae.pdf


It would be the Carrizo Corridor and “Warner’s Pass” that, beginning in 1848, thousands of gold seekers would travel in route to the placer mines of the Sierra foothills. The travails of this flood tide eventually led in 1855 to the establishment of a small adobe Army outpost at the Carrizo Creek Spring which by 1857 became an important link in the first overland transcontinental mail service along the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line. In 1858 the Overland Mail Company better known as the Butterfield Line was using the Carrizo Creek Station as part of its much larger and complex string of support stations. The Civil War and intercontinental railroad effectively put an end to this mail service and the Carrizo Creek Station, although still occupied and witness to cattle drives, went into a steady decline. In brief, this report presents the results of archaeological investigations at the Carrizo Creek Station which documents that for a brief period it was a nexus for 19th century Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo-American cultures. In recognition of the importance of this isolated frontier outpost it has been included as part of the Southern Overland Trail Cultural Preserve within Anza Borrego Desert State Park.