Cottonwood in the Verde Valley: A Visitor's Mecca!
Tourism in Cottonwood: The Verde Valley - A Visitor's MeccaLimitless adventures await the tourist, in the Verde Valley. Nowhere else in Arizona will you experience the wide range of activities and experiences you will find in our area.Pre-Columbian Sinaguan sites, officer's quarters at a cavalry fort, a train excursion along the Verde River Canyon, a cowboy dinner show and a night at the casino may all be experienced in a single day.Jerome, sometimes nicknamed "The City in the Sky" was at one time the most talked about mining camp in America. Its population went from 15,000 in its heyday to a "ghost town" of under 50 people. The Douglas Mansion is Jerome's State Historic Park featuring the mining history of the area. The Gold King Mine displays early machinery of the mining era in Jerome.If bird watching is your thing, Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood has identified over 100 bird species in its immediate environs. It also has excellent camping and RV facilities, as well as a lagoon which is stocked with Rainbow trout from November through March. The Verde River which flows past Dead Horse and winds its way through the Verde Valley may be fished for catfish, bass and trout.For the shopper, many unique shops and galleries featuring art, antiques, jewelry, pottery and many additional items may be found in our Historic Old Town Cottonwood District, Clarkdale, Camp Verde Jerome and Sedona.For those who wish to experience eco-tourism, Red Rock State Park is the place with special programs focusing on wildlife, green meadows framed by native study, hiking, picnicking and bird watching.Twenty hiking trails have been identified for hiking enthusiasts, in the Oak Creek Canyon and West Sedona areas. Another eight are listed for the Cottonwood region. Magnificent views of Sedona's Red Rock country, and the forests and canyons of Mingus Mountain await the hiker. Mingus Mountain has been identified as one of the best spots for hang gliding and skydiving.The avid golfer will delight in the excellent golf courses located in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, Lake Montezuma and Cottonwood.The family may cool off after exploring the Sedona area at Slide Rock State Park which contains one of Oak Creek Canyon's most exciting features. A thirty-foot water slide worn in the rocks winding through the cool creek bed providing visitors a natural outdoor thrill.Regional Setting The Verde Valley includes about 714 square miles located in the geographic center of Arizona, about 100 miles north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Verde River runs through the valley from northwest to southeast and is augmented by flows from Sycamore Canyon, Oak Creek, Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek. The area is unsurpassed in its variety of physical beauty with the red rocks and Mogollon Rim to the north and east and the Black Hills and Mingus Mountain dominating the western and southern portions of the valley.The City of Cottonwood is located adjacent to the Verde River at elevations ranging from 3,300 feet to 3,900 feet above sea level and experiences a mild climate which, together with its proximity to an abundance of natural amenities such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Tuzigoot National Monument and the historic mining communities of Clarkdale and Jerome, continues to attract steady growth and tourism.Land Ownership Nearly 80% of the land in the Verde Valley is National Forest. The Coconino National Forest is generally located north and east of the Verde River while the Prescott National Forest is south and west of the River. The region includes 20 square miles of State Trust Land most of which is located along state highways between Cottonwood and Sedona and between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Only about 17% of the Verde Valley is privately owned.Early History As with other communities in the Verde Valley, the City shares a rich and lengthy history. The region has long been home to Native Americans, particularly the Sinaugua and later the Yavapai and Apache. The first Anglo settlers in the area farmed and provided goods for the soldiers at Camp Verde and for the miners in Jerome beginning in the late 1870's. William Clark and Jimmy Douglas developed major smelters and the mining communities of Clarkdale (1912) and Clemenceau (1917), respectively. Clemenceau, located near the intersection of Willard Street and Mingus Avenue was a complete company town with thousands of residents, a school and other community facilities. Today, few people recognize the size and complexity of the original "Smelter City".During this period, mining companies that closely regulated commerce, industry, employment and even housing opportunities administered Jerome, Clarkdale and Clemenceau.Old Town Cottonwood became a haven for those seeking to be free from the prejudice and regulation of nearby company towns. Main Street was created 1908 when Charles Stemmer and Alonzo Mason used a mule team to pull and drag through brush. The Mason Addition, Willard Addition, Hopkins Ranch No. 2 and other tracts were platted during the next decade coinciding with the development of Clemenceau on higher ground about one mile to the south.The Clemenceau smelter closed on December 31, 1936 with a great loss of jobs and disruption to the area's economy. The Cottonwood Women's Club organized to feed those in need and raised money to build the Cottonwood Civic Center (1939) with labor provided through the Works Progress Administration. The copper industry continue its decline culminating with the closure ofthe Phelps Dodge operation in the 1950's. Population plummeted in the region as the mining industry declined. Jerome's population declined from about 8,000 to nearly 0, while Clarkdale went from nearly 4,000 to several hundred.Recent History The City of Cottonwood incorporated in 1960. During this period area roads were improved , particularly the Highway 89A "Bypass" and SR 260 to serve the needs of the Phoenix Cement Plant located in Clarkdale. This facility supplied the cement for the Glen Canyon Dam project near Page. During the early 1970's about 4,500 lots were platted outside the Cottonwood City Limits by Ned Warren - the Queen Creek Land and Cattle Company. These lots, known as Verde Village, have limited infrastructure but have been built upon over time and few vacant parcels remain today. With road development and an increasingly large residential base, commercial development moved south from Old Town to SR89A intersections at Main Street and at SR260 during the 1970's and 1980's.Population Growth The Verde Valley has experienced significant population growth in recent years - 51% between 1990 and 2000.