Benson, Arizona

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Benson, Arizona
City
Station in Benson
Station in Benson
Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona
Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona
Detailed map of Benson
Detailed map of Benson
Coordinates: 31°57′20″N 110°18′24″W / 31.95556°N 110.30667°W / 31.95556; -110.30667Coordinates: 31°57′20″N 110°18′24″W / 31.95556°N 110.30667°W / 31.95556; -110.30667
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise
Founded 1880
Government
 • Mayor Tony King
Area
 • Total 35.7 sq mi (92.5 km2)
 • Land 35.7 sq mi (92.5 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 3,586 ft (1,093 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 5,105
 • Density 138.2/sq mi (53.3/km2)
Time zone MST (no daylight saving time) (UTC-7)
ZIP code 85602
Area code 520
FIPS code 04-05770
Website http://www.cityofbenson.com/

Benson is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, in the United States, 45 miles east-southeast of Tucson. It was founded as a rail terminal for the area, and still serves as such. According to 2010 Census, the population of the city is 5,105.[2]

The city was founded in 1880 when the Southern Pacific Railroad came through. It was named after Judge William B. Benson, a friend of Charles Crocker, president of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Southern Pacific, coming overland from California, chose the Benson site to cross the San Pedro River. Benson then served as a rail junction point to obtain ore and refined metal by wagon, in turn shipping rail freight back to the mines at Tombstone, Fairbank, Contention and Bisbee. For example, the railhead in Benson was about 25 miles from Tombstone, and was the closest rail connection to it until 1882, when a feeder line was laid from Benson to Contention City.

The railhead in Benson was founded about a mile from an older traditional wagon depot, the San Pedro River Station, run since 1871 by William Ohnesorgen. In 1878 he had erected a toll bridge over which mining supplies were transported to the new mining camps such as Fairbank and Tombstone. Two years later this bridge marked the location of the railroad bridge that became the terminal site of Benson.

The city today is perhaps best known as the gateway to Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Jay Six Ranch[edit]

The 40,000 acres (160 km2) Jay Six cattle ranch was located just outside Benson. The ranch played host to political figures like the young brothers Joseph & Jack Kennedy, and to senior statesman Barry Goldwater. The Kennedy brothers (Joe age 21 and Jack age 19) were sent out to the ranch in the spring of 1936 so that the brothers could work as ranch hands, and so that Jack Kennedy could recuperate from a recent illness in the dry desert heat. It is reported that ranchman Jack Speiden worked both brothers "very hard".

Geography[edit]

Benson is located at 31°57′10″N 110°18′24″W / 31.95278°N 110.30667°W / 31.95278; -110.30667 (31.95288, -110.30677).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.7 square miles (92 km2), all land.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 4,711 people, 2,084 households, and 1,346 families residing in the city. The population density was 131.9 people per square mile (50.9/km²). There were 2,822 housing units at an average density of 79.0 per square mile (30.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.32% White or European American, 1.29% Native American, 0.72% Black or African American, 0.47% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 5.69% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.85% of the population.

There were 2,084 households out of which 18.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the city the population was 19.5% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,289, and the median income for a family was $36,364. Males had a median income of $34,013 versus $18,964 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,315. About 6.2% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 4,804
2010 5,105 6.3%
Sources:[5][4][6]

Climate[edit]

Similar to other desert plains areas of Arizona, Benson receives little rainfall and is relatively hot. Some snow occasionally falls in the winter.

Climate data for Benson, Arizona (Elevation 3,671ft)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 85
(29)
88
(31)
95
(35)
102
(39)
107
(42)
116
(47)
112
(44)
113
(45)
108
(42)
103
(39)
93
(34)
84
(29)
116
(47)
Average high °F (°C) 63.0
(17.2)
66.4
(19.1)
72.3
(22.4)
79.2
(26.2)
87.8
(31)
96.6
(35.9)
96.4
(35.8)
93.5
(34.2)
91.1
(32.8)
83.0
(28.3)
71.7
(22.1)
63.1
(17.3)
80.3
(26.8)
Average low °F (°C) 28.8
(−1.8)
32.0
(0)
36.6
(2.6)
42.1
(5.6)
49.1
(9.5)
58.5
(14.7)
65.7
(18.7)
64.1
(17.8)
57.1
(13.9)
44.8
(7.1)
34.1
(1.2)
29.7
(−1.3)
45.2
(7.3)
Record low °F (°C) 5
(−15)
9
(−13)
13
(−11)
22
(−6)
22
(−6)
35
(2)
43
(6)
42
(6)
35
(2)
15
(−9)
9
(−13)
5
(−15)
5
(−15)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.68
(17.3)
0.74
(18.8)
0.51
(13)
0.23
(5.8)
0.10
(2.5)
0.37
(9.4)
2.69
(68.3)
2.79
(70.9)
1.32
(33.5)
0.62
(15.7)
0.57
(14.5)
0.71
(18)
11.34
(288)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0.6
(1.5)
0.6
(1.5)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.4
(1)
1.8
(4.6)
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center[7]

Transportation[edit]

Benson Airport is located 3 miles north west of the city.

Benson is served by Interstate 10 to the north, which travels directly to downtown Tucson.State Route 90 heads south from I 10.

It is also served by State Route 80, which has its western terminus at Interstate 10. It heads south east from the city.

Amtrak provides passenger rail service at 105 E. 4th Street; freight railroads serving Benson are the Union Pacific Railroad and the San Pedro and Southwestern Railroad.

Benson Area Transit (BAT) is a bus service that covers Benson, St. David, Dragoon and Mescal.

Education[edit]

The World University is located in Benson.

The Benson Unified School District is a K-12 public school serving the Benson area.

Cochise Community College has a branch located on Rte 90.

Media references[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]