When the Butterfield Overland Stage Company was running its southern route through Texas and the New Mexico Territory, the station house at the crossing of the San Pedro River was one mile north of the present city of Benson. This set the tone for much of Benson's history as a transportation hub and a link between the east and both California and Mexico. Copper and silver from Bisbee and Tombstone were shipped out from the Southern Pacific Railroad station in Benson. In 1881 Benson became the terminus for the Sonoran Railroad from Guaymas, Mexico, allowing goods to be shipped via the Pacific Ocean rather then overland from the west coast.
In 1897, the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad linked Benson to Phoenix, and Benson continued as a major terminus until mining declined and the railroading was moved to Tucson. At this point Benson might have become a ghost town like many others, but the ranchers held on and the opening of the Apache Powder Company gave the economy a boost. Today Benson enjoys the benefits of being directly on an interstate highway and offers services and accommodations to many travelers as well as having a large winter population of retired people who enjoy the moderate climate and the friendly small town atmosphere.
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