Near Parks in Coconino County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Beale Wagon Road
America’s Great Camel Experiment 1857-1858
In the summer of 1857 former Navy Lt. Edward F. Beale was chosen by the Buchanan Administration to develop a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico Territory (now Arizona) to the Colorado River along the 35th parallel. Secretary of War John B. Floyd also charged Beale with conducting a test to determine the suitability of camels for use by the U.S. Army in the deserts of the American Southwest. To this end, the army issued Beale 25 camels from its herd stationed at Camp Verde, Texas. Syrian and Egyptian camel drivers were hired. Beale was quite impressed with the exotic animals and claimed the experiment a resounding success. Compared to horses and mules the camel could carry a much larger load faster and over longer distances, go farther without water, and subsist on plants that other animals would not eat. With the advent of the Civil War many of the politicians and military men supporting the use of camels went south, and despite Beale’s glowing reports the army dropped the camel experiment.
By Frank Houdek, July 17, 2010
1. Beale Wagon Road Marker
Erected 2010 by Transierra Roisterous Alliance of Senior Humbugs (E Clampus Vitus) and the Williams Ranger District - Kaibab National Forest.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
20.667′ N, 111° 54.746′ W. Marker is near Parks, Arizona, in Coconino County. Marker is on Forest Service Road 100, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Google maps will give exact driving directions from the town of Williams. Driving time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Marker is in this post office area: Parks AZ 86018, United States of America.
By Frank Houdek, September 25, 2010
2. Beale Wagon Road Marker
Also see . . . Camels Arrive in Texas, Begin U.S. Army Experiment. One of the most interesting experiments undertaken by the U.S. Army involved the ugly, irascible camels. One the little-known footnotes of American history is really a fascinating story. (Submitted on October 16, 2011.)
Categories. • Military •
By Frank Houdek, September 24, 2010
3. Beale Wagon Road Marker
Due to the fire in the Forest in July, 2010 the plaque could not be erected until two months later. The two men pictured are Ken Berry on the left and Keith Dodds on the right after the plaque was erected on 09/24/2010. Members of TRASH and Lost Dutchman Chapter 5917+4 ECV.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2011, by Frank Houdek of Kingman, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,233 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 15, 2011, by Frank Houdek of Kingman, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.