Willcox, Arizona

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Willcox
View of Dos Cabezas peaks from downtown Willcox
View of Dos Cabezas peaks from downtown Willcox
Location of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona
Location of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona
Willcox is located in the United States
Willcox
Willcox
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556Coordinates: 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556
CountryUnited States
StateArizona
CountyCochise
Founded1880
Incorporated1915
Government
 • MayorSam Lindsey
Area
 • Total6.28 sq mi (16.27 km2)
 • Land6.15 sq mi (15.92 km2)
 • Water0.13 sq mi (0.35 km2)
Elevation
4,167 ft (1,270 m)
Population
 • Total3,757
 • Estimate 
(2019)[3]
3,533
 • Density574.56/sq mi (221.85/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP Codes
85643-85644
Area code520 Exchange: 384
FIPS code04-83090
GNIS feature ID13808
WebsiteCity of Willcox

Willcox is a city in Cochise County, Arizona. The city is located in the Sulphur Springs Valley, a flat and sparsely populated drainage basin dotted with seasonal lakes. The city is surrounded by Arizona's most prominent mountain ranges, including the Pinaleño Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains.

6 of Arizona's 10 largest mountains are located within a 70-mile radius including Mount Graham (31 miles north) which is Arizona's most prominent mountain, Chiricahua Peak (42 miles southeast), Mount Lemmon (57 miles west), Miller Peak (65 miles southwest), Mica Mountain (41 miles east), and Mount Wrightson (70 miles southwest). Scores of birds including Sandhill Cranes winter in the area, with some migrating from as far away as Siberia. A very large dry lakebed, the Willcox Playa, is located 5 miles south of the city. It is the remnant of the Ice Age-era Lake Cochise.

Willcox's high desert climate gives it large diurnal temperature variation, making it ideal for wine cultivation.

History[edit]

Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad because of its position approximately halfway between El Paso, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox was a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.

Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Parts of the 1993 American neo-noir film Red Rock West starring Nicolas Cage, Lara Flynn Boyle, J. T. Walsh and Dennis Hopper were filmed in Willcox.[citation needed] A short film documentary called "Lonesome Willcox" released in 2018 documented the town's country music radio station KHIL.[citation needed]

Willcox became Arizona's second federally designated wine growing region in 2016.[4]

Geography[edit]

Willcox is located in northern Cochise County, in the Sulphur Springs Valley.[5] Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2), of which 6.1 square miles (15.9 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.13%, is water.

Notable Mountains[edit]

Mountain Height (base to peak) Rank (Arizona) Rank (US Lower 48) Miles from Willcox Peak Elevation Mountain Range
Mount Graham 6,340 1 20 30 10,720 Pinaleño Mountains
Mount Lemmon 5,177 3 54 56 9,157 Catalina Mountains
Chiricahua Peak 5,149 4 55 40 9,759 Chiricahua Mountains
Miller Peak 5,011 5 57 63 9,466 Huachuca Mountains
Mica Mountain 4,604 7 77 40 8,664 Rincon Mountains
Mount Wrightson 4,591 8 78 69 9,453 Santa Rita Mountains
Dos Cabezas Peaks 3,244 19 - 11 8,354 Dos Cabezas Mountains
Bassett Peak 3,133 23 - 30 7,663 Galiuro Mountains
Apache Peak 2,899 29 - 45 7,711 Whetstone Mountains
Mount Glenn 2,899 29 - 21 7,519 Dragoon Mountains

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Willcox, Arizona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
(27)
88
(31)
92
(33)
97
(36)
105
(41)
110
(43)
110
(43)
106
(41)
105
(41)
101
(38)
91
(33)
81
(27)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C) 61
(16)
65
(18)
71
(22)
79
(26)
88
(31)
96
(36)
96
(36)
93
(34)
90
(32)
80
(27)
70
(21)
60
(16)
79
(26)
Average low °F (°C) 28
(−2)
31
(−1)
35
(2)
40
(4)
49
(9)
57
(14)
65
(18)
64
(18)
57
(14)
44
(7)
33
(1)
27
(−3)
44
(7)
Record low °F (°C) −1
(−18)
2
(−17)
6
(−14)
9
(−13)
11
(−12)
27
(−3)
42
(6)
41
(5)
30
(−1)
15
(−9)
8
(−13)
−7
(−22)
−7
(−22)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.09
(28)
0.96
(24)
0.68
(17)
0.33
(8.4)
0.39
(9.9)
0.46
(12)
2.61
(66)
2.53
(64)
1.18
(30)
1.16
(29)
0.71
(18)
1.25
(32)
13.35
(338.3)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.9
(2.3)
0.9
(2.3)
0.7
(1.8)
0.2
(0.51)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.25)
1.5
(3.8)
4.3
(11)
Source: [6]

Willcox's high elevation gives it a milder climate than the nearby Arizona Sun Valley and Sonoran Desert. It also receives more rainfall than Tucson and Phoenix due to the summer monsoon rains.

Economy[edit]

Willcox's primary industries are agriculture, wine production, and tourism.

Major employers in Willcox include Coronado Farms LLP, NatureSweet greenhouse, Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Valley Telephone Cooperative, the Border Patrol, Safeway, Willcox Unified School District, and TravelCenters of America,[7]

The wine industry employs over 400 people in the region.The Agricultural Producers in the area employ many hundreds of workers as well. Circle K and Speedway employ around thirty people as well.

Wine country[edit]

The Willcox wine region produces 74 percent of the wine grapes grown in the state of Arizona.[8] Willcox is the largest-grape growing region in Arizona and grows more wine grapes than any other region in the state[9] and offers a wide variety of wines to choose from. Grape varietals grown include Petite Sirah, Malvasia Bianca, Sangiovese, Chenin blanc, Syrah, Colombard, Sauvignon blanc, Corvina, Merlot, Malbec, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre.

Arts, events, culture[edit]

Willcox has two festival seasons in the spring and fall.

Spring events include the Willcox Wine Country Spring Festival, which takes place the third weekend of May, and the Willcox West Fest in April.[10]

Fall events include Rex Allen Days, which is a multi-day event that takes place the first weekend in October, the Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival, which takes place the 3rd weekend of October, the Willcox Flyer Bike Ride, which takes place the first Saturday of September, and the BoulderDash 13k/30k, which takes place in mid-October.[10][11]

Winter festivals include the Christmas Light Parade and Craft Fair in December, and Wings Over Willcox Birding Festival which takes place over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.[10]

Rex Allen Days was started in 1951 to honor Rex Allen. The event includes the annual parade, rodeos, fairs, car show and more.[12]

Willcox Wine Country's two festivals are usually the third weekends of May and October. The event grows in size every year and includes live music and multiple arts and crafts vendors. Willcox Wine Festivals is listed as one of the top 10 wine festivals in North America.[13]

Willcox West Fest celebrates Willcox's cowboy culture which is still active today through generations of ranching families. The event consists of a rodeo and a chuck wagon cook-off and usually occurs in April.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890396
19101,632
1920905−44.5%
1930806−10.9%
19408849.7%
19501,26643.2%
19602,44192.8%
19702,5685.2%
19803,24326.3%
19903,122−3.7%
20003,73319.6%
20103,7570.6%
2019 (est.)3,533[3]−6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,733 people, 1,383 households, and 947 families residing in the city. The population density was 622.3 people per square mile (240.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.95% White, 0.70% Black or African American, 1.61% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 17.63% from other races, and 4.23% from two or more races. 41.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the city was $24,334. 21.6% of families and 27.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.6% of those under age 18 and 24.6% of those age 65 or over.[15]

Seventeen miles north of Willcox on what was once the York ranch, there are now miles of apple orchards and pistachio groves.

Media[edit]

KHIL "Classic Country" 1250 AM and 98.1 FM has served the region since 1958.

Further reading[edit]

Vernon B. Schultz, "Southwestern Town: The Story of Willcox, Arizona," The University of Arizona Press, 1964

Kathy Klump and Peta-Anne Tenney, "Willcox," Arcadia Publishing Library Editions, 2009

People[edit]

  • Rex Allen (1920–1999), film and television actor, singer and songwriter
  • Lilly McElroy (born 1980), photographer
  • Chalky Wright (1912–1957), boxing champion in International Boxing Hall of Fame
  • Tanya Tucker (born 1958), American country music artist, spent early childhood in Willcox, AZ
  • Ted DiBiase (born 1954), American former professional wrestler, manager, ordained minister and color commentator, moved to Willcox, Arizona to live with his grandparents
  • Vince Moreno, American country music artist and musician and stand-up comedian[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Ruelas, Richard. "Feds call Willcox unique Arizona wine region". azcentral.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Search Results - Circle K Willcox, Arizona- ReferenceUSA Current Businesses
  8. ^ "Wines of Wilcox". Wines of Wilcox. Wines of Wilcox. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ "About Wines of Willcox - Events and Adventures in Arizona Wine Country". willcoxwines.com. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  10. ^ a b c Visit Willcox https://visitwillcox.az.gov/faq. Retrieved 30 April 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ RocaMotion http://www.rocamotionevents.com/inaugural-boulder-dash-13k30k/. Retrieved 30 April 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Rodeo | Willcox | Rex Allen Days". radsite. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  13. ^ "15 Arizona wineries pour into Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival". Tucson Foodie. 2019-10-08. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. ^ "VINCE MORENO Music". www.vincemoreno.net. Retrieved 2019-10-11.

External links[edit]