This photograph of Barney's Station was taken by William Abraham Bell in 1867. Bell and the expedition crew stopped at Barney Station on October 31, 1867 looking for water. From 1857-1861, it was a stop on the Butterfield Overland mail route that ran from Tennessee and Missouri over Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California, ending in San Francisco. It is located near the border of New Mexico and Arizona, near present-day Lordsburg, N. M. In the photograph, the station building is shown on the right side of the image with the flat, dry desert extending out to the left.
In 1867-1868, the Kansas Pacific Railway Company (originally known as the Union Pacific Railroad Eastern Division) organized an expedition to survey potential railroad routes from Kansas to California. There were two expedition parties sent through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California led by General William Jackson Palmer (1836-1909). Doctor and amateur photographer William Abraham Bell (1841-1921) and professional photographer Alexander Gardner (1821-1882) were appointed to photograph the expedition. Bell traveled primarily with the expedition along the 32nd parallel ending in San Diego. After the survey, Bell was a prominent businessman in the United States and Colorado. He built and operated the Denver and Rio Grande Railway with Palmer and was involved in many other coal, mining, and business ventures.