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brown adobe walls of camp naco


Looking for an adventure on the US-Mexico border? Look no further than Naco, Arizona, the southernmost community of Bisbee and home to a rich history of frontier life and cross-border conflict. As part of our Big Jeep Tours, we'll take you to explore the border town of Naco, which was formed by the Phelps Dodge Corporation in 1898.

The Opiata Indians and Nahua Indians who settled in the Naco area in the early 1800s called the prickly pear cactus "Naco," which gives the town its name. In Mexican culture, ripe prickly pears or "Nopale" are a favorite cuisine, and the red, ripe prickly pear fruit or purple fruits on top of the Nopal pads are called "red tuna fruit" in the Spanish language, which make a mean margarita or prickly pear cocktail.

On the Mexican side, Naco Sonora is infamous for rivaling Tombstone with drunken debauchery, random crime, and gunfights in the wild west. On the American side, Congress opened the US port of entry in 1902, and the current Pueblo Revival Design building was constructed in 1936, resembling architecture from Santa Fe, NM.

Camp Naco, also called Fort Naco or Fort Newell, started in Naco AZ in 1910 and was manned by buffalo soldiers from the 92nd infantry division from Fort Huachuca AZ. The purpose of Camp Naco was to protect the US-Mexico border and the American spectators from the Mexican Revolutionary War. Cochise County, Arizona citizens often traveled to Naco and watched the transpiring war from railcars and boxcars along the southern border.

Buffalo Soldiers were on high alert due to continued fighting across the US-Mexico border, including the Battle of Naco in 1913 and the later Siege of Naco in 1915 in Sonora Mexico. The troop strength varied at Camp Naco from 50 to 5000 soldiers. When the threat of the Mexican Revolutionary War was over, the camp was closed in 1923. In 1935, it was reoccupied by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which stayed until 1937.

Naco Arizona is home to the first foreign aerial bomber in American history. Patrick Murphy was an Irish-American mercenary who was hired by the Mexican rebel fighters to fly his biplane over the Escobar Rebellion in Naco Sonora and drop homemade bombs on the Mexican government soldiers. Drunk and hungover, Murphy and his helper lit the fuses on the bombs with the cigarettes they were smoking and promptly missed most of the targets. Several bombs never detonated. One bomb went through the roof of Newton's Garage in Naco AZ and blew up the car of a Mexican General who stored it in the garage for safekeeping. Another bomb landed in the Naco Mercantile on the American side. Murphy was shot down by Mexican soldiers and scampered back into America where he was captured and sent to prison for a few days in Nogales, AZ.

If you're interested in paleontology, heavy monsoon rains in the Green Bush Draw in 1952 uncovered prehistoric mammoth bones. Additionally, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were frequent visitors to Naco, AZ, because they had a rancher friend in Naco Sonora. In fact, Ronald Reagan's back injury from falling off a horse happened at the ranch in Naco MX.

Experience the fascinating history of Naco, Arizona, on our Big Jeep Tours, as we take you on a journey through frontier life and cross-border conflicts in this border town. Don't miss out on the chance to see a unique part of Arizona's history!

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