Bartlett regarding Lower Road

Pondering transportation history. Required by the treaty of the Mexican–American War, a boundary commission led by John Russell Bartlett reached El Paso in November of 1850. After traveling for nearly a month over Upper Road, Bartlett suggested a faster way from San Antonio in his journal:

If it should be determined to make a great highway through Texas to El Paso, and thence to California, south of the Gila, neither of the present routes to El Paso should be adopted until a more complete exploration has been made. I was told at El Paso, by Mexicans who had traversed the district east of that town, that water could be found in the mountains that separate El Paso from the Pecos, between the routes not taken. Should such be the case, and no impediment exist, at least fifty miles of travel might be saved; and if water is not now found, it may as easily be obtained, by sinking wells, as on the northern route. The whole country, after the table-land north of San Antonio is reached, is well adapted to a wagon road or railway; and I doubt wheater any district of the same extent east of the Mississippi would require fewer embankments and excavations than across the table-land of Texas.1

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Travel back in time on San Antonio-El Paso Road

Explore a forgotten road. Plotted by the army during the California Gold Rush in 1849, San Antonio-El Paso Road stretched 600 miles over West Texas and allowed trade, supplies, and settlers to travel over the country of the Devils River and Trans-Pecos. It served as a mail route to San Diego and vanished when railroads reached El Paso in the early 1880s. Today it links historical sites: Casa Navarro, Landmark Inn, Fort Lancaster, Fort Davis, and Magoffin Home.

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