is in the lower Verde Valley of central Arizona. The community, oldest
in the Verde Valley, was established in 1865 to protect settlers from
Indian raids. The town incorporated in 1986. Camp Verde, on the banks
of the Verde River at an elevation of 3,133 feet, is near the geographic
center of the state of Arizona.
The Verde Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas in Arizona. The
valley has many scenic State Parks, consisting of Ft. Verde State
Park in Camp Verde; Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood; Jerome
State Historic Park in Jerome; and Slide Rock and Red Rock State Parks
Also, there are several National Monuments in the area, consisting
of Montezuma's Well and Montezuma's Castle, both located near Camp
Verde. Tuzigoot National Monument is located near Cottonwood.
The Verde Valley is experiencing rapid growth. Many factors account
for this: the Valley's mild climate, scenic beauty,
clean air and water, slower pace and recreation offerings are enticing
many newcomers to the area. Projections indicate steady, manageable
growth in the future. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Camp Verde
has a population of 8,500.
and high school students attend Camp Verde Public Schools. School
bus service is provided at the ranch's entrance on Salt Mine Road.
The region is also the home of the Verde Campus of Yavapai Community
The Fort Verde
State Park in Camp Verde contains military artifacts, Indian relics
and articles used by the settlers and Indians. Four of the original
adobe for buildings still stand and are open to the public. The General
Crook Trail, beginning at the Park and winding north through the Mogollon
Rim to Fort Apache, is a scenic drive of unsurpassed beauty along
which can be seen the old mile markers on rocks and trees.
The first church built in the Verde Valley, Clear Creek Church, has
been restored and adjoins the Clear Creek Cemetery, where many pioneers
The Verde Valley is a sport paradise with fishing in the Verde River
and trout streams; and hunting for deer, elk, antelope, bear, quail,
dove, duck, geese, wild turkey and rabbit. Beasley Flats (located
south of the ranch on the Verde River), operated by the US Forest
Service, is now a major starting point for trips on the Verde River.
The second weekend of October each year, Camp Verde celebrates Fort
Verde Days with a parade, horse events, barbecue, calvary drills and
arts shows. Camp Verde residents also enjoy the cultural Verde Valley
Fair in May.
The average total
annual precipitation is 12.21 inches. Most rainfall occurs in the
summer months and the annual average temperature ranges from a low
of 45ºF to an annual average high of 79ºF.
in this geographical center of Arizona.
Archaeologists estimate that humans have been in the Verde Valley
for at least 11,000 years. The earliest inhabitants were Indians.
A skillful farming people, the Hohokam moved into the Valley around
A.D. 600. They were experts in irrigation procedures. The Sinagua
were pithouse dwellers and dry farmers who moved into the Valley around
1125. The villages at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot reached their
present size in the 1300s and were abandoned in the early 1400s by
the Sinaguan. The Yavapai were in the Valley when Captain Antonoio
de Espejo and his band of Spanish conquistadors took possession of
"great riches" in the Verde Valley in 1583.
Military occupation of the Verde Valley began in 1865 to protect settlers
farming along the Verde River -- Clear Creek junction, five miles
south of Camp Verde. Mining and farming disrupted the lives of the
Tonto Apache and the Yavapai. The late 1860s and early 1870s saw major
conflicts in the Valley. The first military post (1865) overlooked
the farms at West Clear Creek. The next post, Camp Lincoln, was located
one mile north of the Fort's present site, and was used from 1866-1871.
The present post was built during 1871-73. Camp Verde has been renamed
Fort Verde in 1879 to signify permanence. The post was abandoned in
1891. Local citizens began a museum in the administration building
in 1956 and donated several buildings to create Fort Verde State Historical
Park in 1970.
Jerome, sometimes nicknamed "The City in the Sky," was at
one time the most talked-about mining camp in America. It was a roaring
mining town. Jerome's modern history began in 1876. Three prospectors
staked claims on rich copper deposits, which they later sold to the
United Verde Copper Company in 1883. Eugene Jerome was the venture's
principal backer. A new owner, William A. Clark, brought in a narrow-gauge
railroad to reduce freight costs. By the early 20th century, the United
Verde was the largest producing copper mine in the Arizona Territory.
In 1912, James S. Douglas purchased and developed the Little Daisy
Mine. Copper production peaked in 1929. The population at that time
was 15,000. Loss of profits brought Jerome mining days to an end in
1953. By 1955, Jerome's population was less than 100, giving it the
title of "ghost town." It is now a veritable paradise for
artists, photographers and history buffs.
John James "Jim" Thompson squatted in Oak Creek Canyon in
1876, becoming its first permanent resident. Three years later, the
Abraham James family became the first settlers of the site which in
1902 was named Sedona. Ranching and farming were originally the base
of the region's economy. Due to its magnificent scenery, Sedona is
a popular attraction for visitors.
Cottonwood, named after the beautiful cottonwood trees along the Verde
River, was a farm settlement in the late 1870s and developed along
with the progress of Jerome, providing homes for the miners, smeltermen
and their families. Cottonwood was incorporated in 1960 and is the
business center of the Verde Valley.
Just two miles north of Cottonwood is the town of Clarkdale, which
was planned and built in the early 1900s to serve the employees and
management of the smelter company which smelted copper ore from one
of Jerome's mines. Most of the houses are original structures, and
its quiet, tree-lined streets make it a favorite choice of retirees.
Clarkdale was incorporated in 1957.
Verde Village is located south of the town limits of Cottonwood. It
is a large development of new housing with a comfortable suburban
feel and beautiful views. It was developed in 1970 and is not incorporated.
Bridgeport is also located east of the town limits along both sides
of the Verde River and is an area of farms and ranches that still
has a "rural atmosphere."
Medical Center (VVMC) is a 99-bed acute care facility and is equipped
with the latest modern technology. This new facility (opened December,
1998) includes a 10-bed critical care unit, a pediatrics division,
a trancare unit, and a Day-In-Day-Out Center for outpatient services,
as well as medical/surgical units and a birthing center. The medical
staff includes over 50 physicians, dentists, naturopaths, chiropractors,
optometrists and opthamologists. The facility also sponsors home health
care and respite/hospice programs.
Founded by Carrie Lawrence in 1930 in memory of her son, the facility
serves Cottonwood and the greater Verde Valley including Camp Verde
In December 1998, Verde Valley Medical Center opened a new $23,000,000
hospital in Cottonwood, reaffirming that it is the premier rural hospital
In addition, VVMC is currently building a $2,500,000 Medical Clinic
in Camp Verde at the Outpost Mall.
The Valley has
four public airports. Two of the airports, serving Cottonwood and
Sedona, are paved.
The Cottonwood Airport at 3,500 feet elevation is 4,250 feet in length
with a lighted and paved runway, fuel, mechanic service and UNICOM
122.7. It is a full-service airport with a paved taxiway and tie-down
areas, FBO, car rental, aircraft rental, parts and supplies.
The Sedona Airport is at 4,830 feet elevation with a lighted runway
of 5,135 feet in length, a paved taxiway and parking tie-down areas.
Sedona is also a published instrument approach airport with charter
service, car rental, taxi service and a restaurant on the field.
Camp Verde has a graveled landing strip located southeast of Camp
Verde. In the Verde Valley, the majority of the air traffic uses the
Cottonwood or Sedona airports.
With Camp Verde
having three exits on Interstate 17 and being located approximately
50 miles from Flagstaff on Interstate 40, insures that a substantial
market can be reached overnight, or on second morning delivery. Interstate
17 is the main route north from Phoenix to Flagstaff, where it meets
Interstate 40, The 1-17/Highway 260 intersection is one of the most
heavily used in the entire Verde Valley.