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The Colorful Story of Redington Road
began as a rough trail; a trail leading east over a natural saddle,
between the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, through a pass
known as Cebadillo, and into the verdant San Pedro River Valley.
of years ago, it was probably used by the Sabaipari, a tribe of
about 2,000 who farmed the valley raising cotton, maize, wheat,
beans, and melons until driven out by Apaches. In later years,
it became a road, just as rough, but wider and more traveled as
hopeful miners and farmers, fleeing outlaws, and the peripatetic
Apaches, braved its dangers. Still later, it was a military road
and stage route as more farmers and ranchers settled in the valley.
others had tried to establish and hold farms and ranches in the
San Pedro Valley before, it was not until 1876 when a New Yorker
named H.T. Redfield ventured into the area that anyone had been
able to remain for long. Traveling alone, Redfield and his wife
found their homesite about 33 miles northeast of Tucson and were
later joined by their son. There they survived on a single bag
of corn and an occasional wild turkey until their first crop was
harvested. That first crop was good, the second was flooded out.
They lived in constant fear of the Apaches. Still they held on.
Soon other farmers and ranchers moved in and the settlement became
known as Redfield. When a post office was established there in
1879, authorities rejected the name of Redfield for the town.
The name Redington was suggested instead, and the old road became
known as Redington Road.
were sent out from Fort Lowell over Redington Road on frequent
missions to protect the residents from the Apaches, but the town
itself was wild and lawless despite its many solid citizens. Old
records show that there were more killings there in the late 1800s
than in any other community of its size in Southern Arizona. By
the mid-1880s, Apaches were no longer a problem, but the drunken
cowboys and desperate outlaws were.
a period of drought and hard times in the 1880s, many residents
gave up and left the valley. A newly-arrived Tucson resident,
William Henry Bayless, who also owned other ranches in the area,
began to buy up land at bargain prices and soon had enough to
establish the 200,000 acre Carlink Ranch.
Tucson was the main source of supplies for the valley, Redington
Road was often impassable. Travelers were forced to reach Tucson
either through Oracle (70 miles when passable) or through Benson
(100 miles). Gradually Redington Road fell into disuse despite
frequent requests from residents for repairs. At last, on October
9, 1932, the Arizona Daily Star carried an article which began,
"Tucson will be linked by a direct road through the mountains
to Redington within a few weeks. Monday morning, a group of men
who will be paid from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation funds
lent to Arizona will begin work reconditioning the old stage road
into the valley beyond the pass between the Rincon and Santa Catalina
on file in the library of the Arizona Historical Society add a
footnote to the story of Redington Road. In these letters, written
in October, 1996, a sharp-eyed citizen points out to authorities
that since the 1930's, the name Redington has been misspelled
on official maps and street signs. An extra "d" had
been added. Although the county engineer was reluctant to acknowledge
the mistake, higher authority prevailed and the correction was
made so that it will ever be: Redington Road.
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