Photo Credit: Marcella Martineau McCord Roe ("The History of Miramonte Arizona")
Mescal was originally established in 1881 as a railroad station on the El Paso & South Western Railroad. It was a part of the route from Tucson to Douglas. Most of the original homesteaders were Mormon refugees who were fleeing the Mexican Revolution, arriving on the land as early as 1912. A small community had developed around the Mescal station, and a post office was established in 1913. Southern Pacific Railroad leased the railway in the 1920's, and primarily used the railway to transport coal and coke (fuel) to the large smelter operations due to the growing demand for copper. The railroad was abandoned in 1959, and the station no longer exists today. However, you can still see the evidence of the abandoned tracks on Google Maps and you can explore parts of the tracks in person. Head north on Mescal Rd from the I-10. Just before the railroad tracks, on the right, there is a dirt lot where you can park and walk to the abandoned tracks.
Location of abandoned railroad tracks in Mescal, Arizona
Marion B. Nagle purchased 320 acres on January 16, 1919. The land today is known as the neighborhood 'Mescal Lakes'. Marion had built a lumber shack on the land, which is where his daughter, Marguerite, was born in 1916. According to Marguerite Naegle, she was "born in a tent that was built out of boards with a canvas". The shack was about a mile from the main road (US Highway 80), which is now the I-10. Their personal property consisted of 3 work horses, 1 milk cow, 3 swine, and a wagon. They grew fruit trees, garden vegetables, and grain. The Naegle children walked to school, which was also a church located about a mile south of the US Highway 80 (I-10).
Jay Six Cattle Ranch
"Jack" John G.F. Speiden, a stockbroker, opened the Jay Six Ranch in 1933. After the depression and Wall Street crash in 1929, Jack took a trip to Honduras and came home with a mysterious virus. He was told to head west into dry heat until he was healthy again. Jack opened the Jay Six Ranch in 1933. When he took possession of the ranch, it was carrying upwards of 1,000 head. In 1936 Jack needed an office built, and wanted some company from back east, so he put up an ad in the Boston Globe. The ad caught the attention of a man named Joe who had two teenage boys at home that were driving him crazy. Their names were Joe Jr. and John Kennedy (JFK). The brothers spent the summer of 1932 mending fences, herding cattle, and building an adobe office on the ranch for Speiden. In October 1957, the state condemned a section of the land to convert US Highway 80 into I-10.
Mescal Movie Set
The Mescal movie set was built in 1939 by Columbia Pictures, specifically for the movie "Arizona". Many other films followed, but the two western films that made Mescal famous were "Tombstone" (1993), and "The Quick and the Dead" (1995). By the 1960's, it had evolved into a western theme park for tourists. The movie set was purchased by Old Tucson Studios in 1969, and became their sister movie set. Some of the famous actors who performed here include John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Danny Glover, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Russell, and Val Kilmer. The Kartchner family purchased the movie set in 2021, and plan to bring it back to life. For more information, visit www.MescalMovieSet.com
Photo Credit: Google Maps
Based on our research, we believe the old Mescal station was located on the south side of the tracks where the tracks bend north. From I-10, head north on Mescal Rd. Turn left on W Train Track Rd and follow the road about 1/4 mile past the property on the left.
*Exact location unknown