Yuma History documentary premieres   Leave a comment

After nearly six months, a documentary on the history of Yuma, Arizona has been completed and delivered to the Arizona Historical Society.

During the production time Daniel Buckley made frequent visits to the southwestern Arizona town to shoot interviews with local historians and film the landscapes and sites where Yuma history unfolded.

A snippet from the 37-minute documentary “Yuma: Gateway to the West”

It is a fascinating and often unexpected story beginning with the Quechan tribe settling along the shores of the Colorado River in Yuma, carrying on through the arrival of the Spanish and the various waves of settlers and assorted characters that passed through or remained at what was called the Yuma Crossing.

Yuma was blessed geographically by being a place where a bend just past the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers resulted in a calmer section of water that could support relatively easy crossing.

Moreover the warm climate of the area made it an ideal 365-day-a-year point of passage in the journey from the east to west coasts of the United States.

From the mid-19th century to the early 20th, steamboats journeyed up the river from the Gulf of Mexico through Yuma, providing a major supply route. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1870s made Yuma an important link in the transcontinental rail system.

The arrival of dams in the early 20th century ensured the valley’s farming industry, which today is a multi billion dollar business, with Yuma providing 95 percent of the winter vegetable demands of the U.S.

Since the arrival of Fort Yuma in the mid 19th century, it has been an important military center, and remains so to this day through the U.S. Marine Air Station and the Yuma Proving Ground.

Tourists too find its warm winter climate and inviting population, along with its historic sites and easy access to California and the rest of Arizona, to be reason to stick around.

Then and now, Yuma remains the Gateway to the west.

The documentary premieres Saturday, February 9 at the Arizona Historical Society’s Yuma branch in the Sanguinetti House on Madison Avenue in downtown Yuma, debuting for the city’s Redondo Days, which celebrates Arizona farmer and territorial legislator Jose Maria Redondo. It will remain on view at the Sanguinetti House throughout the year.

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