Today the town of Stein‘s Pass is only a spot on Interstate
Highway 10, 19 miles southwest of Lordsburg. Only a few houses
are left. It used to be a mine and ranch trading center and a
stagecoach stop. In 1884 the Southern Pacific Railroad made it a
section crew terminal. For a time stagecoaches kept running in
from the Animas Valley.
The original Stein’s Pass is about nine miles north of the present
town of that name. There never was a town in the first Stein's
Pass just rocky peaks choking down on a narrow rutted road.
Here the Apaches repeatedly ambushed travelers.
Cochise with a big band massacred the Thompson party of six
white men, in this pass. Cochise later admitted that the six men
killed 45 Apaches in the three-day battle. In 1861 a small party
closing out the Butterfield Stage because of the Civil War, like-
Wise were slaughtered. Legend says that the Butterfield agent
had $28,000 in gold. Some believe it may still be buried in the
Many more fights took place in this pass before travel was
diverted through the town of Stein's Pass. But trouble followed
the new route. Twice train robbers held up trains at Stein's Pass.
In sight from here, across the purple-hazed sweep of the San
Simon Valley in Arizona is Apache Pass where Apaches engaged
the whites in other bloody fights. You can see, too, the jagged
Chiricahua Mountains, stronghold of Cochise and later haunted
by Black Jack, Curly Bill, Johnny Ringo and the Clanton gang.
A unique feature of Stein's Pass until only recent years was its
complete dependence on railroad tank cars for water. Because
well water here was too hard and brackish, the Southern Pacific
kept from one to several tank cars on a siding. Many old timers
remember seeing residents carrying water in buckets from the
spigots on the cars.