Cochise GPS coordinates: 32° 07' 00.02"N --109° 55' 04.58"W Cochise is located about 16 miles north of Pearce with easy access via HWY 191.
In 1880, a workforce of mostly Chinese laborers laid track from Tucson to New Mexico and brought life to Arizona towns like Benson, Willcox, Dragoon and Cochise. At its peak, the town of Cochise had a population of approximately 3,000 people. There are now less than 50 inhabitants.
Cochise served as a coal and water stop for the Southern Pacific railroad. Cattle from the Sulphur Springs Valley were driven to Cochise to be shipped off to market. Ore from the mines in Pearce and other areas was hauled into Cochise by wagon, and supplies were hauled back to the mining camps. Anyone wanting to go east or west on the train, boarded at Cochise.
Some of the railroad workers at the time were living in boxcars. In 1882, John Rath built a hotel, which was also used at a post office and express office. Now known as the Cochise Hotel, at the time, the Rath Hotel was cared for by Mary Cummings. You might know her better as Big Nose Kate—Doc Holiday’s girlfriend.
John J. Rath, now known as Cochise's town father, came to Cochise permanently in 1897 as the Southern Pacific Railroad agent, remaining as such until 1899. Upon being made postmaster and Wells Fargo express agent, he resigned his position with the railroad and while still retaining the latter named positions built up a large mercantile business.
The Historic Cochise Hotel is a must-see! Owner Phillip Gessert will be delighted to give you a tour, talk about the history of the hotel and Cochise, and maybe even teach you how to play Pharo! Reservations for viewing are suggested and admission is free--but donations are gladly accepted. You can contact Mr. Gessert at the Cochise Hotel to make your arrangements.
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