Like many cities, towns and states, Benson is no exception when it comes to honoring her fallen. To honor the women and men who bravely fought and gave their lives while in the armed forces/ service of the nation.
Locate right next to the railroad tracks on 4th street/ route 80 is a memorial that speaks of selfless sacrifice. Honor them by stopping at the memorial if you find yourself in Benson
This is one of the parks Arizona boasts of. Located in Benson, it is a system of wet caves. It was discovered by two young explorers in 1974 and remained private up until 1988 when the state of Arizona purchased it, turning it into a state park. Opened April through October, it offers visitors an adventure and a feast to the eyes. Because photographs are prohibited, you will not find many photos of the inside of the cave. This makes it more marketable to adventure seekers. You must book your tour in advance otherwise showing up unappointed will lead to disappointment.
I have toured Carlsbad Caverns, but I can not compare what I saw in Kartchner caverns with it. The trails were slippery due to the wetness of the cave, be sure to wear comfortable shoes with enough friction on the sole.
It is quite a tour, we were only able to sit in the big room for a brief moment.
The beautifully formed and unspoiled stalagmites and stalactites are exciting to see. I loved the soda straws, they were nothing like anything I had ever seen. The formations grow from all sides; top bottom and even sideways.
The visitor center/ information center is historic in itself. It is a great historic reminder of the town’s past. In its place once stood the Trans-america train depot; well the idea to build a Trans america rail system to connect the different states did not mature. During its peak, the town was called the ‘Hub’ city because of the connections it afforded through the railway line.
You have probably heard of the Dragoons if you live in Arizona, or visited the Southwest. The Dragoons are spectacular rock formations of the Texas Canyon in the small Dragoon Mountains. If you take Dragoon Road, exit 318 and head south to mile marker 1, you will get to the amazing Amerind. It is a unique Museum of the Native Americans dedicated to their cultures and traditions.
The museum was founded in 1937 by William Shirley Fulton; it is a non profit archaeological museum and serves as a research center as well. Inside are collections of native American baskets, jewelry, artifacts and pottery. I was amazed at how the baskets and pottery reminded me of rural Africa. They chronicle the life of the Native Americans from the past to present day.
One of the exhibits I particularly liked is the Native American art, and history. The beautiful showcase tells the story of a people with strong traditions and the need to preserve it at all costs. It is worth visiting if you find yourself this side of the world.
Adults - $8,
Seniors - $7,
Youth (ages 12-18) - $5
Children under 12 - FREE
Benson is a nice little town right off the Interstate and a great place to gas up, take a break, and sightsee in the area.
Facts about Benson ( a big retirement community also)
Founded in 1880
Elevation: 3,580 feet
Population: 5,164 (more in winter, less in summer)
10 hotels and motels
15 RV parks
10 fast food locations
45 miles from Tucson
156 miles from Phoenix
Highlights in the area include:
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Gammons Gulch Movie Set
Singing Wind Bookshop
Benson's Chamber of Commerce web site you will find access to maps of Benson and a self Walking Tour. I so enjoy this information and appreciate it. So if you have time explore here, you should.
One place that caught my eye was the Zearing Merchantile: It was built before the trun of the century during Beson's railroad era. The commerical building has a had several owners, serving mainly as a general mechandise store. As Max Treu Territorial Meat Co., it was used to supply meat to the miners. Listed on the National Register, the building has be restored and features a noteworthy interior.
Benson Visitor Center
249 East 4th Street
Benson, AZ 85602-6613
It reads: "In honor and memory of our men and women in our armed forces who rendered service to our country during wartime and peacetime at home and overseas. We must never forget those who gave their lives for our country."
It is located right on the Route 80 (4th Street) and next to the train track. Be careful!
Benson Visitor Center (Train Depot)
249 East 4th Street
Benson, AZ 85602-6613
As you already know, I really enjoy murals and will not hesitate to stop and get a photograph of one. Benson has many wonderful murals located just along the main Route 80 that is 4th Street.
Although this is just a replica of the train depot that once stood here, it was the beginning of the countries dream of transamerica travel. Benson was called "The Hub City" due to its transcontinental connections through its railroad line and when Route 80 was established. Now this lovely buidling serves as a reminder of Benson rich history and serves as a stopping point as a visitor center. These places are a wealth of information, so please take advantage of them.
Book your tour in advance. You have to telephone - no facility to book online. Be prepared to abandon your bags, cameras, jackets etc as they will not be allowed on the tour. Nice gift shop and exhibits in main building but to get the most from your visit you realy do need to take a tour, We did the Big Room - it is only open October 15th to April 15th. As cameras were not allowed you will have to research the website to get a flavour of these caverns - They are spectacular - a must see.
The Foothills Loop Trail is a 2.5 mile long trail rated moderate to difficult. The trail climbs the limestone hill north of the cave and descends into the wash that follows the fault between the Whetstone Block and the San Pedro Block. A short spur trail at the upper portion of the Foothills Loop Trail leads visitors to the scenic Mountain Viewpoint. In the first photo you can see the entrance to the cave.
Sometime around 500,000 year ago water started eroding the limestone in the hill before you and formed the caverns. They were discovered by a couple of hikers who slithered through a very small slit and discovered a gigantic cavern. The caverns were kept a secret for several years before plans were made to form a state park and open the caverns to the public.
Your first stop inside Kartchner Caverns State Park should be the exhibit center. They spent quite a bit of money to make it very informative and educational. This is also where you make resrvations to tour the Big Room (if it is between 15 October and 15 April) or the Rotunda Room (year round). Cost to see the Big Room is $12.95 (ages 7 to 13) and $22.95 (ages 14 and up), and cost for the Rotuinda Room is $9.95 (ages 7 to 13) and $18.95 (ages 14 and up), and free for children 6 and younger. Hours for the exhibition center are 7:30 AM to 6 PM daily except Christmas Day. They also have hiking trails, picnic facilities and 62 camping sites.
The last stop is the Smith/Beck House located at 425 Huachuca Street. It was built by A. G. and Mary Woodman Smith. Ms. Smith was the first woman banker in he state. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
The Redfield/Romine House, located at 146 E 6th Street is an example of the Colonial Revival Style popular during Benson's Railroad era. It was built for Leonard D. Redfield the first postmaster in Benson who was later elected mayor in 1925 when Benson was incorporated. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.