The city of Benson was incorporated in 1924, approximately 40 years after the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad through southeastern Arizona. Benson was named for Judge William B. Benson of California, a friend of the president of the railroad.
Spanish missionaries arrived in the San Pedro valley near current-day Benson in 1539. The town itself was founded in 1880, a boom year for all of Cochise County. As silver, copper and gold flowed from the mines at Tombstone and bisbee, Benson was in the perfect position to transport the ore.
In the late 1850s, a stage station was built just north of present-day Benson to serve the Butterfield Trail Stage Line. By the end of the century, the Southern Pacific came to town, followed by an El Paso & Southwestern railroad line that ran from Benson to Tucson. The Sonoran Railroad from Guaymas, Mexico terminated in Benson. Almost all southwestern railroads led to Benson.
All this traffic naturally increased Benson's trade. Businesses sprung up to serve travelers and settlers. Although the Great Depression hurt Benson businesses, the town survived to become a the "Gateway to the Land of Cochise." Surrounded by natural and historical wonders such as the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Cochise Stronghold, Kartchner Caverns State Park 12 miles south and Texas Canyon, Benson offers train trips and stage coach rides once more.
Things To Do
The areas surrounding Benson offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Coronado National Forest and the San PedroRiparian National Conservation Area provide areas for hiking, camping, and picnicking. Kartchner Caverns State Park, which opened November12, 1999, will allows the public access to a spectacular, world -class cave that was only recently discovered.
Overland Stagecoach Days celebration is held annually, each October.