Tortilla Flat - Stagecoach Stop
Courtesy of: Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat, AZ is located on Route 88, the Apache Trail. This section of Arizona's most scenic highway was also known as the "Sunset Route" from 1915 to 1932. Tortilla Flat is presumed to be Arizona's smallest official "community" having a U.S. Post Office and voter's precinct. Tortilla Flat has a population of 6.
Tortilla Falt - Apache Trail - Circa. 1947Going by available records Tortilla Flat got its start because of the road construction to Roosevelt Dam in 1904. There was a need for a stagecoach stop for freight haulers on their way to the construction site at Roosevelt Dam and Tortilla Flat served that purpose... a historical landmark was born. Shortly following the construction of the road, Roosevelt Dam became a big tourist attraction. At that point Tortilla Flat was a stage stop for tourists and mail carriers through the 1930s.
The name "Tortilla Flat" originated from the cowboys who used to drive cattle from Globe to Phoenix. While in Phoenix, rancher Mr. Cline, and his fellow cowboys celebrated their sale, and, having a little too much to drink, forgot to get supplies while they were in town. Which is how they ended up with only flour to make tortillas when they camped at the flat and were stranded.
Forest Service records show Tonto National Forest being established in 1905 as kind of a "package deal" with the Salt River Reclamation Project. The Forest Service was needed to manage the land and protect watershed for the dams because cattle grazing had denuded the land. The freight camp at Tortilla Flat, as well as the other camps along the road to the dam, were, therefore, on U.S. Forest Service land. Folks who decided to make Tortilla Flat their permanent residence kept up the lease on the land in later years whenever it came due.
Tortilla Flat continues to serve tourists and travelers on the historic Apache Trail so come and experience a 1915 Auto Tour with great food and friendly people!