Camp marker along SR 82 worth a stop

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications

SR 82 Camp Crittenden MarkerWe don't know about you, but we can't get enough of highway historical markers. Over the years we've covered many of them on this blog, from the well-known to the more obscure

Today we are going to add one more to the pile. Sitting off of State Route 82, roughly 3 miles west of Sonoita, the sharp-eyed traveler can find the marker shown at right. Erected in 1968 by ADOT's predecessor, the Arizona Highway Department, this monument reminds travelers about Camp Crittenden, one of several Army outposts in southern Arizona established to protect settlers. The post was actually the second in the area, built to replace the nearby Fort Buchanan, which had been burned by Apaches in 1865 as part of the continuing war that kicked off several years earlier with the Bascom Affair, something commemorated by another marker we told you about recently.

The new outpost received its name in September 1867 in honor of Colonel Thomas Crittenden, who commanded the 5th Division of the Army of the Ohio during the Civil War's Battle of Shiloh. At some point it was also upgraded from a "camp" to a "fort." As prestigious as that was, the post was short-lived. In June 1873, the camp was officially closed. The only major highlight – which is also on the plaque – is that during the Apache Wars, Lieutenant H.B. Cushing was killed by a member of Cochise's Apache band while stationed there. 

Though the camp is long gone, this plaque is a good reminder that roads developed where they have to move people between important places. Camp Crittenden was one such destination, and its location, plus that of Fort Buchanan, probably played a role into why State Route 82 is where it is today. And that's at least worth a stop, wouldn't you agree?