Douglas, Arizona

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Douglas, Arizona
Lobby of Gadsden Hotel, Douglas
Lobby of Gadsden Hotel, Douglas
Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona
Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona
Douglas, Arizona is located in USA
Douglas, Arizona
Douglas, Arizona
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 31°20′42″N 109°32′29″W / 31.34500°N 109.54139°W / 31.34500; -109.54139Coordinates: 31°20′42″N 109°32′29″W / 31.34500°N 109.54139°W / 31.34500; -109.54139
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise
Incorporated May 15, 1905
 • Type City
 • Mayor Daniel Ortega Jr.
 • Total 10.0 sq mi (25.9 km2)
 • Land 10.0 sq mi (25.9 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 4,006 ft (1,221 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 17,378
 • Estimate (2014)[2] 16,744
 • Density 1,754/sq mi (677.3/km2)
Time zone MST (no DST) (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 85607, 85608, 85655
Area code 520
FIPS code 04-20050

Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico and a history of mining.

The population was 17,378 at the 2010 census.[1]


Panoramic view in 1904

The Douglas area was first settled by the Spanish in the 18th century. Presidio de San Bernardino was established in 1776 and abandoned in 1780. It was located a few miles east of present-day Douglas. The United States Army established Camp San Bernardino in the latter half of the 19th century near the presidio, and in 1910 Camp Douglas was built next to the town.

Douglas was founded as an American smelter town, to treat the copper ores of nearby Bisbee, Arizona. The town is named after mining pioneer Dr. James Douglas[3] and was incorporated in 1905.[4] Two copper smelters operated at the site. The Calumet and Arizona Company Smelter was built in 1902. The Copper Queen operated in Douglas from 1904 until 1931, when the Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased the Calumet and Arizona Company and took over their smelter. The Calumet and Arizona smelter then became the Douglas Reduction Works. Douglas was the site of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation Douglas Reduction Works until its closure in 1987. The smoke stacks of the smelter were not taken down until January 13, 1991.

The town was a site of the Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983.

On June 23, 1926, missing evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was found collapsed near a road at the adjacent Mexican town of Agua Prieta. She was driven into Douglas and told a story of kidnap, torture and escape as she convalesced at Calumet Hospital. There, large crowds gathered, anxious to see the famous Canadian-American celebrity minister. She had earlier disappeared from a beach near Los Angeles and was believed drowned. For a period of several weeks, Douglas enjoyed a brisk tourist boom as police, reporters and others visited the town and the nearby desert to investigate her story. The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Mrs. McPherson put Douglas square on the map and the citizens here appear grateful that it was in Douglas she sought refuge."[5][6]

In 1916, the Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa threatened to attack Douglas, believing Americans responsible for his defeat at the Second Battle of Agua Prieta.[7]

The "Cowboys Home Saloon" was the location of the fatal shooting of bar owner Lorenzo "Lon" Bass. The accused was Arizona Ranger William W. Webb. The date was February 8, 1903.[8]


Douglas is located near the southeastern corner of Arizona on the U.S.-Mexico border, across from the city of Agua Prieta, Sonora.

U.S. Route 191 leads north from Douglas 69 miles (111 km) to Interstate 10 near Willcox. Arizona State Route 80 leads west 26 miles (42 km) to Bisbee and northeast 80 miles (130 km) to Interstate 10 in New Mexico.


Douglas has a semi-arid steppe climate, which is cooler and wetter than a typical arid climate classification. In the winter months, Douglas averages in the mid to upper 60s °F (17–21 °C), with both January and February averaging daily highs of 64 °F (18 °C). Lows typically settle just below the freezing mark on a majority of nights, but it is not uncommon to see temperatures tumble below 25 °F (−4 °C) on some winter nights.

On the other hand, in the summer months, highs average between 90 and 100 °F (32 and 38 °C), with the month of June being the hottest with an average daytime high of 97 °F (36 °C). Nighttime lows for the summer months remain in the upper 50s and mid 60s °F (14–18 °C) for the duration of the season. June and July typically see 6 inches (150 mm) or more of combined rainfall, which brings the average annual precipitation for Douglas to about 14 inches (360 mm).

Douglas' all-time highest recorded temperature is 111 °F (44 °C) which was reached in July, 1905. The all-time low temperature was −7 °F (−22 °C), which occurred in January 1913.

Climate data for Douglas Bisbee Airport, Arizona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Average high °F (°C) 62.2
Average low °F (°C) 29.4
Record low °F (°C) 6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.75
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.0 4.3 3.6 1.6 2.0 3.4 13.4 11.5 6.3 4.5 3.2 4.4 63.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.3 1
Source: NOAA [9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 6,437
1920 9,916 54.0%
1930 9,828 −0.9%
1940 8,623 −12.3%
1950 9,442 9.5%
1960 11,925 26.3%
1970 12,462 4.5%
1980 13,058 4.8%
1990 12,822 −1.8%
2000 14,312 11.6%
2010 17,378 21.4%
Est. 2014 16,744 [10] −3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
2014 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2010, there were 17,509 people, 4,986 households, and 3,662 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,750.9 people per square mile (676.0/km²). There were 5,652 housing units at an average density of 565.2 per square mile (218.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.2% white, 2.8% black or African-American, 1.7% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 24.2% some other race, and 2.6% two or more races. 82.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[12]

There were 4,986 households, out of which 45.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were headed by married couples living together, 24.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98, and the average family size was 3.56.[12]

In the city the age distribution of the population was 28.2% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.2 years. For every 100 females there were 120.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 127.4 males.[12]

For the period 2008-12, the estimated median annual income for a household in the city was $28,548, and the median income for a family was $33,117. Male full-time workers had a median income of $25,853 versus $31,222 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,376. About 25.1% of families and 30.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.8% of those under age 18 and 29.0% of those age 65 or over.[13]


Arts and culture[edit]

Douglas is home to the historic Gadsden Hotel, which opened in 1907. Named for the Gadsden Purchase, the stately five-story, 160-room hotel became a home away from home for cattlemen, ranchers, miners, and businessmen. The hotel was leveled by fire and rebuilt in 1929. The Gadsden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Gadsden's spacious main lobby is majestically set with a solid white Italian marble staircase and four soaring marble columns. An authentic Tiffany & Co. stained glass mural extends 42 feet (13 m) across one wall of the massive mezzanine. An impressive oil painting by Audley Jean Nichols is just below the Tiffany window. Vaulted stained glass skylights run the full length of the lobby.

The San Bernardino Ranch was originally established in Mexico and covered thousands of acres. The new US-Mexico border of the Gadsden Purchase sliced through the ranch, thus reducing its US size. It is still called San Bernardino Ranch today (2009), but is still affectionately called "Slaughter's Ranch" almost 100 years after the death of John Slaughter, the owner in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

"Centuries before the first white explorers discovered the land now called Arizona, this fertile valley region served as a major corridor for migrating Indians. In time, the grasses and streams attracted wandering Athabaskan peoples, the Apaches, who would prove so troublesome to Anglo-American pioneers. Next to arrive were the Spanish, in an imperial procession of conquistadors, missionaries, soldiers, colonists. Although Slaughter was born in Louisiana, his family moved to Texas when he was a baby where they were known for their huge cattle ranches. Slaughter became acquainted with the ways of the Indian growing up and became an excellent tracker and marksman which proved valuable in later life. Slaughter was small in stature but that did not deter him from becoming a man to be feared and respected by those on the side of the law—and by those who were not—when he was elected Sheriff of Cochise County in 1886. In 1822, an original Mexican land grant of 73,240 acres (296.4 km2) was sold to Ignacio Perez for 90 pesos plus fees. An earthquake in 1887 destroyed the original buildings which Slaughter had built for his in-laws. After his second term as sheriff, he moved to the ranch and the present house was built in 1893. 'Our future lay within it and it was beautiful.' Little did she realize the impact her husband and this ranch would have for generations to come. It became a beautiful oasis in the desert."[citation needed]

The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad depot was an important train station. It transported copper to large manufacturing concerns in the east. The depot is considered one of the finest examples of railway architecture of the early 20th century. The building is now used for the Douglas police station and is just one of 400 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in Douglas.

The Douglas Grand Theatre was built in 1919 and was the largest theater between Los Angeles and San Antonio. Ginger Rogers, Anna Pavlova and John Philip Sousa are some of the famous faces to have graced the theater's stage. It also housed a tea room, candy store and barbershop in its glory days. For several Halloweens the Grand Theater was used as a "Haunted House" attraction. Today (2009) the theater is undergoing reconstruction, using private donations of money, supplies and labor.


The Douglas Jewish Cemetery was founded in 1904 near the Mexican border. It has nineteen recorded graves, and thirteen of the tombstones are not necessarily on the correct grave sites due to extensive vandalism. The cemetery was in use from 1912 to 1963. The cemetery was restored, re-fenced and cleaned in 1992 by students and numerous others. The cemetery is included in the State of Arizona of Historical Places.[14] In November 2012, two gravestones were shattered in the Jewish cemetery in the town, in what seemed to be an anti-Semitic act.[15]


City management[edit]

  • Mayor: Danny Ortega Jr. (2012–)
  • City Council:
    • Ward 1: Margaret Morales
    • Ward 2: Ken Nelson
    • Ward 3: Ben LaForge
    • Ward 4: Patricia Lopez
    • Ward 5: Luis Greer
    • Ward 6: Fernando Betancourt
  • City Manager: Carlos De La Torre
  • City Attorney: Juan P. Flores
  • Finance Manager: Luis Pedroza
  • City Clerk: Brenda Aguilar


The City of Douglas operates Douglas Rides.[16]


Public schools[edit]

The Douglas Unified School District is responsible for public education. Schools include:[17]

  • Clawson School
  • Douglas High School
  • Early Learning Center
  • Faras Elementary School
  • Joe Carlson Elementary School
  • Paul H. Huber Jr. High School
  • Sarah Marley School
  • Stevenson Elementary School

Private schools[edit]

  • CAS Elementary, Middle, and High School
  • Loretto Catholic School
  • Omega Alpha Academy K-12 Charter School

Notable people[edit]

  • Hazel Carter, World War I wife who wore an army uniform in attempts to join her husband
  • John D. Driggs, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Jay Dusard, contemporary photographer, 1981 Guggenheim award winner,[18] recipient of two book awards and a Pulitzer nomination[19]
  • Manny Farber, an iconoclastic stylist who achieved prominence first as film critic and later as a painter was born in Douglas in 1917
  • Western songwriter Stan Jones (1914-1963), in the Western Music Association Hall of Fame; born and reared in Douglas
  • Robert Krentz, rancher who was murdered in 2010 by a suspected illegal immigrant. His murder is credited for bringing about Arizona's SB1070 immigration law.
  • Lorna E. Lockwood, first female Chief Justice of a state supreme court
  • Bill Meléndez, born 1916, was educated in the public schools of Douglas. A character animator, film producer and film director, best known as the voice of Snoopy in the Charlie Brown series.
  • Mike Pagel, former NFL quarterback
  • Jack Lund Schofield, Nevada state legislator
  • "Texas John" Slaughter, Cochise County Sheriff (1841–1922), rancher, gunfighter, businessman, and a champion for Arizona's statehood
  • Effie Anderson Smith, also known as Mrs. A.Y. Smith (1869–1955), Impressionist painter of desert landscapes
  • Thornton Wilder, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist, made Douglas his temporary home. His initial visit to the city was caused by the breakdown of his car.[20]

Popular culture[edit]



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Profile for Douglas, Arizona". ePodunk. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "City of Douglas, Arizona". City of Douglas, Arizona. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ Kendal, Read, Staff Correspondent; Los Angeles Times; (June 23, 1926) pp 1,2,4
  6. ^ Lately, Thomas. The Vanishing Evangelist: The Aimee Semple McPherson Kidnapping Affair (Viking Press, 1959) p.60
  7. ^ McLynn, Frank (2001). Villa and Zapata. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 319. ISBN 0-7867-0895-6. 
  8. ^ A full report can be read in The Arizona Rangers by Bill O'Neal; Eakin Press, Austin, Texas.
  9. ^ "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Douglas city, Arizona (revision of 01-31-2013)". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (DO03): Douglas city, Arizona". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  14. ^ "DOUGLAS: Cochise County". International Jewish Cemetery Project. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jewish cemetery desecrated". CFCA. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Transit Services - Douglas Rides
  17. ^ "Douglas Unified District Schools". National Center for Educational Statistics. Retrieved July 2015. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Thornton Wilder's Desert Oasis July, 2009. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved Aug. 17, 2014

External links[edit]