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Quartermaster Depot host historical event Jan. 29 & 30
YUMA, ARIZONA – This means war! Or more accurately, historically authentic facsimiles of Civil War battles staged by re-enactment groups from around the area.
The occasion is "Civil War Days," taking place Jan 29 & 30 at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park (201. N. 4th Avenue). And while there were no actual Civil War battles here, since the Quartermaster Depot was an active U.S. Army post during the period, it provides an authentic military setting that matches the period.
Sponsored by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, the primary organizers of Yuma's Civil War Days are Moody's Battery and Battery D 5th U.S., and the event is "recommended" by the American Civil War Society.
Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, with battles at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, and at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 per person, and includes a period minstrel show and access to all regular Quartermaster Depot exhibits and buildings. In addition, the participating re-enactment groups will set up authentic Civil War-style encampments within the 10-acre park.
"For twenty years beginning in 1864, the Quartermaster Depot was the vital lifeline for all the forts and military posts in the Southwest," said city historian Tina Clark. "So these re-enactments will be taking place on ground actually occupied by the Union army during the Civil War and surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in Arizona.
"This event provides a unique opportunity to experience 'living history' right in our community," Clark added. "We are delighted that we can offer a venue has real ties to the period and the modern-day facilities to facilitate the event."
During the Quartermaster Depot's early days, its warehouses on the high ground above the Colorado River held a six-month supply of clothing, food, ammunition and other goods for posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas – and were surrounded by as many as 900 mules and their teamsters.
With the coming of the railroad in 1877, the Depot's supply role faded and the Army closed it in 1883. But the site lived on as a telegraph and weather station, customs office – and the first home of the Bureau of Reclamation and the Yuma County Water Users Association. The site eventually became part of the Arizona state park system.
During summer of 2009, Arizona State Parks announced that the Quartermaster Depot would close in the fall because of cuts in the state budget. Instead, the City of Yuma stepped forward to lease the property, with the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area assuming responsibility for day-to-day operations. As part of the plan to "save" the Quartermaster Depot, Yuma Visitors Bureau also moved its Visitor Information Center into the entrance building, providing a daily presence to oversee the park. This has been a win-win, with VIC traffic doubling in the first year and park visitation tripling.
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is an independent nonprofit corporation governed by a local board of directors. It was among the first national heritage areas in the West to be officially designated by the U.S. Congress. The Heritage Area's master plan projects earned the Governor's Arizona Preservation Award in 2009. For more information, call 928-373-5198 or visit www.yumaheritage.com
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $577 million in 2009 and supported nearly 6,000 jobs. Travel spending in the county also generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes. For more information, call 928-376-0200 or visit www.visityuma.com.
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