Benson's Murals

The Benson Clean and Beautiful Committee has been arranging the

the painting of historic murals on blank walls around Benson for the

past few years. They have commissioned artist Doug Quarles to do

the paintings. You can also see his work at the Quarles Art Gallery

on the corner of 4th and Huachuca Streets.!

196 East 4th Street

Benson, Arizona 85602


A Map to Benson's Murals






Section Gang Benson, AZ. Every Railroad had section gangs,

also known as "Gandy Dancers", that maintained the tracks and

made needed repairs. Each gang was responsible maintaining

many miles of track.


Southern Pacific Caboose built in 1960. This caboose was

donated to the City of Benson in 1994 by Southern Pacific

Railroad and sits on the corner of 4th and San Pedro Streets.

San Pedro and Southwestern Railroad is Benson's very own

local short line that runs from the Union Pacific junction at 

highway 80 and 4th Street south 8 miles to Apache Nitrogen

Products. They also run a trans-load spur here in Benson from

their offices on Country Club Drive. Freight from railroad cars can

be loaded and transferred to trucks for local distribution. The two

steel logos were donated by the San Pedro and Southwestern



Benson's Depot - This mural was painted from a post card of

the depot's North side looking West. circa 1912.


Union Pacific Logo 1895. You can see the only difference

between the 1895 logo and the logo used today is the Overland

Route lettering in the center. These steel logos were all paid for

by a grant from the Union Pacific Railroad Foundation.


This Round House image was painted from a 1903 photo. The

eight-stall Southern Pacific was built in December of 1898 and

was sold and moved to Tucson in 1910. It was located near what

is now the intersection of Highways 80 and 86 within 100 yards of

the  Union Pacific underpass.


The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad was active in the

Benson area from 1901 until it was sold to the Southern Pacific

Railroad Company in 1955. It actually ran from Tucson to Benson

through Bisbee Douglas and on to El Paso, Texas with a spur

line that went to Tombstone. The line from Fairbank to

Tombstone was removed about 1960. These steel logos were all

paid for by a grant from the Union Pacific Railroad Foundation.

This was one of the first trains in Arizona. It was used to bring

track and ties in the construction of the railroad. The line arrived

in Benson on the 22nd of June 1880.

The  Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe  Railway ran from Benson

South to Fairbank and then west to Harshaw, Calabassas and

Nogales before it went South to Guaymas, Mexico. It was put in

back in 1881 and the line was traded to Southern Pacific

Railroad in 1898. These steel logos were all paid for  by a grant

from the Union Pacific Railroad Foundation.


This was a TW-3 class Southern Pacific Mastodon 4-8-0 steam

locomotive built between 1889 and 1898. The photo this mural

was painted from was probably taken around 1918 and this train

was used until the late 1930s.


The Southern Pacific Railroad Company first came to what is

now Benson in June of 1880. The Pacific Improvement Company,

the real estate people for Southern Pacific Railroad, actually laid

out and built the City of Benson as a water stop on the southern

route from Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA. Southern Pacific

Railroad was bought out by union Pacific Railroad in 1996.

Although the Sunset Limited Passenger train started in 1883 was

run by Southern Pacific Railroad, it was taken over in 1970 by

AMTRAK and continues service from Los Angeles to New

Orleans with a stop in Benson, AZ. These steel logos were all

paid for  by a grant from the Union Pacific Railroad Foundation.


This Mural was painted from a c 1900 post card of the Benson

depot south side looking Northeast. The building in the

foreground was built as the Wells Fargo Freight Office in 1885.


Union Pacific Logo Today. Union Pacific Railroad was formed

on July 1, 1862 under an act of Congress signed by President

Lincoln. Union Pacific Railroad connected with the Central Pacific

Line on May 9, 1869 at Promontory Pass, Utah creating the first

transcontinental Railroad line Connecting the East coast with the

West coast. Union Pacific continues operating today and just

recently celebrated their 150 year anniversary. These steel logos

were all paid for by a grant from the Union Pacific Railroad


Union Pacific Freight Train approaching Benson from the East.

you can see the train is crossing the trestle at the San Pedro

River. The trestle was built in 1929 after a flood washed out the

previous bridge.

The San Pedro and Southwestern Railroad tourist Train ran

from Benson to Charleston from 1994 to about 1998. This mural

was painted from a photograph taken back about 1996. The red

passenger cars were 1937 Pullman "Daylight Passenger Cars"

purchased from the Fort Bragg, California Tourist Train in the

early 1990s. The Daylight Passenger Cars originally ran from Los

Angeles to San Francisco from the late 1930s into the late 1950s.




Benson had it's own ore refining plant called Southwestern

Smelting and Refining Company. It started in 1881 and went out

of business in 1889 re-opened and closed several times until it

finally closed for good in 1914. It was located just below the

current day water tank.


Mule teams hauling copper ore from Bisbee to Benson at Mule

Pass in Bisbee. The mules continued to haul the ore to Fairbank

until the Arizona and Southeastern Railroad built track from

Bisbee to Fairbank in 1888.

This mural was painted of an 1880's prospector.

This mural was drawn from a 1903 photograph looking east from

the corner of 4th and San Pedro Streets. The buildings of the

Southwest Smelting plant can be seen in the distance.

Geronimo steam tractors were also used to haul copper ore and

supplies from Bisbee to Fairbank. They found the steam tractors

worked great until it rained. They would then go back to mules

until the rains stopped.