The Old "Camp San Carlos"
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
This interesting unidentified photograph was produced from the photographic negatives of Thomas H. Bate, Jr., who was active as a photographer in Prescott and surrounding area in the early 1900s. Barry Goldwater who also interested in photography was instructed by Thomas Bate.
After much research in trying to pinpoint the location of this photograph, I have concluded that it is quite possibly Camp San Carlos--the clue being the word "San," in addition to the soldiers at the fore of the photo. The fellows behind the bars are curious to say the least. The photograph appears to be staged, but I am not certain. I have no earthly idea why this photo was taken, except perhaps to preserve a historic marker of Camp San Carlos. There is very little that remains today of Old Camp San Carlos. Bate did photograph subjects in Gila County, so it is quite possible that this is the San Carlos Camp before it was abandoned and swallowed by time.
Photo of Camp San Carlos, circa 1900 by Thomas H. Bate, ©2020 The Shady Victorian
Camp San Carlos was a Federal cavalry camp located on the west bank of the San Carlos River about one mile above its confluence with the Gila River. Later re-established as Post at San Carlos in 1882, a subpost of Fort Grant. Reverted again to Camp San Carlos in 1894. Later became the San Carlos Apache Indian Agency after it was abandoned by the Army. All remaining buildings were destroyed in 1930 before the creation of the Coolidge Dam (built in 1930) and the eventual impoundment of San Carlos Lake.
Company D, 7th U.S. Infantry was in garrison at Camp San Carlos when the order came to abandon the post in July 9, 1900. That order was closely followed another order dated July 25, 1900, requiring that a detachment of one noncommissioned officer and ten enlisted men stay behind to guard the remaining government property. This detachment was withdrawn on February 26, 1901 and the military camp was abandoned.