Douglas, Arizona

Last updated
Lobby of Gadsden Hotel, Douglas
Cochise County Arizona Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Douglas Highlighted 0420050.svg
Location of Douglas in Cochise County, Arizona
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Location in the United States
Coordinates: 31°20′42″N109°32′29″W / 31.34500°N 109.54139°W / 31.34500; -109.54139 Coordinates: 31°20′42″N109°32′29″W / 31.34500°N 109.54139°W / 31.34500; -109.54139
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise
IncorporatedMay 15, 1905
   Mayor Robert Uribe
  Total9.99 sq mi (25.88 km2)
  Land9.99 sq mi (25.88 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
4,032 ft (1,229 m)
 (2010) [3]
(2019) [4]
  Density1,599.24/sq mi (617.47/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP codes
85607, 85608, 85655
Area code 520
FIPS code 04-20050
GNIS feature ID for the City of Douglas2410349 [2]

Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States that lies in the north-west to south-east running Sulpher Springs Valley. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico at Agua Prieta and a history of mining.


The population was 17,378 at the 2010 census. [3]


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 [5] and was incorporated in 1905. [6] 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.

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. [7]

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. [8]

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." [9] [10]

Douglas Arizona 1904 panorama.jpg
Panoramic view in 1904

In 1989, the Sinaloa Cartel dug a 300-foot (100 metre) tunnel between a house in Agua Prieta to a warehouse located in Douglas that it used to smuggle drugs across the international border. It was discovered in May, 1990. [11] [12] Following its discovery, the Cartel refocused their smuggling operations towards Tijuana and Otay Mesa, San Diego where it acquired a warehouse in 1992. Other tunnels would also later be built in Arizona including sites at Naco and Nogales.


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 (1721 °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 (1418 °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 (DUG), elevation: 4,098 feet (1,249 m), extremes 1948-2001
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)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA [13]


Historical population
1910 6,437
1920 9,91654.0%
1930 9,828−0.9%
1940 8,623−12.3%
1950 9,4429.5%
1960 11,92526.3%
1970 12,4624.5%
1980 13,0584.8%
1990 12,822−1.8%
2000 14,31211.6%
2010 17,37821.4%
Est. 201916,193 [4] −6.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [14]

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. [15]

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. [15]

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. [15]

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. [16]


Arts and culture

Chiricahua Mountains Chiricahua mtns-kmf.JPG
Chiricahua Mountains

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. A stained glass window mural by 5th generation Artisan Ralph Baker, who studied under Louis Comfort Tiffany, extends 42 feet (13 m) across the eastern wall of the massive mezzanine. The mural of the Southwest Desert is an adaptive work of art that changes colors and depths throughout the day and seasons including the sunrising on the horizon of the mural. An impressive oil painting by Audley Dean Nichols is just below the Tiffany-style 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.

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. [17] In November 2012, two gravestones were shattered in the Jewish cemetery in the town, in what seemed to be an anti-Semitic act. [18]


City management


The City of Douglas operates Douglas Rides, which provides local transportation. [19] The city also operates Cochice Connection, which provides connections between Douglas, Bisbee, and Sierra Vista. [20]


Public schools

The Douglas Unified School District is responsible for public education. Schools include: [21]

Private schools

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Cochise County, Arizona County in the Arizona, US

Cochise County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 131,346 at the 2010 census. The county seat is Bisbee.

Bisbee, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Bisbee is a city and the county seat of Cochise County in southeastern Arizona, United States. It is 92 miles (148 km) southeast of Tucson and 11 miles (18 km) north of the Mexican border. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 5,575.

Sierra Vista, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Sierra Vista is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census the population of the city was 43,888. The city is part of the Sierra Vista-Douglas Metropolitan Area, with a 2010 population of 131,346. Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army post, is located in the northwest part of the city.

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Agua Prieta City in Sonora, Mexico

Agua Prieta is a town in Agua Prieta Municipality in the northeastern corner of the Mexican state of Sonora. It stands on the Mexico–U.S. border, adjacent to the town of Douglas, Arizona. The municipality covers an area of 3,631.65 km2. In the 2010 census the town had a population of 79,138 people, making it the seventh-largest community in the state, and a literacy rate of 96.3%. 89% of the homes in the city have electricity, 94% have running water, and 86% are connected to the sewer system. The city's most important economic activities, in descending order, are industry, commerce and farming. The city is the location of the CFE Agua Prieta power plant.

Mule Mountains place

The Mule Mountains are a north/south running mountain range located in the south-central area of Cochise County, Arizona. The highest peak, Mount Ballard, rises to 7,500 ft (2,300 m). Prior to mining operations commencing there, the mountains were heavily forested with large Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir and other conifers, but these were all cut down for housing needs and to feed the ore smelting furnaces in Douglas, Arizona, approximately 20 miles due east. Now, the primary vegetation of the Mules consists of manzanita brush, juniper, lowland oaks and pines, and various grasses. To the east of the mountain range lies Sulphur Springs Valley, and the San Pedro River and Valley to the west.

George Warren (prospector) American prospector

George Warren worked as a prospector in the Tombstone and Bisbee, Arizona region during the late 19th century. He is credited with having located the body of copper ore, which later was known as the Copper Queen Mine, one of Arizona's most productive copper mines. Warren drank too much and bet his interest in the mine on a foot race against a horse and lost.

Warren Ballpark

Warren Ballpark is a baseball stadium located in Bisbee, Arizona. The ballpark was recently home to the Tucson Saguaros of the Pecos League and the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings of the independent Arizona–Mexico League The Stadium was built in 1909 by the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company as a recreation for the miners and their families, pre-dating the construction of Chicago's Wrigley Field by nearly five years. It is currently the home of Bisbee Killer Termites and Bisbee High School Pumas baseball and football teams.

San Luis, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

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Bisbee Deportation strike-breaking event in Arizona

The Bisbee Deportation was the illegal kidnapping and deportation of about 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and citizen bystanders by 2,000 members of a deputized posse, who arrested these people beginning on July 12, 1917. The action was orchestrated by Phelps Dodge, the major mining company in the area, which provided lists of workers and others who were to be arrested in Bisbee, Arizona, to the Cochise County sheriff, Harry C. Wheeler. These workers were arrested and held at a local baseball park before being loaded onto cattle cars and deported 200 miles (320 km) to Tres Hermanas in New Mexico. The 16-hour journey was through desert without food and with little water. Once unloaded, the deportees, most without money or transportation, were warned against returning to Bisbee.

Copper mining in Arizona

Copper mining in Arizona, a state of the United States, has been a major industry since the 19th century. In 2007 Arizona was the leading copper-producing state in the US, producing 750 thousand metric tons of copper, worth a record $5.54 billion. Arizona's copper production was 60% of the total for the United States. Copper mining also produces gold and silver as byproducts. Byproduct molybdenum from copper mining makes Arizona the nation's second-largest producer of that metal. Although copper mineralization was found by the earliest Spanish explorers of Arizona, the territory was remote, and copper could seldom be profitably mined and shipped. Early Spanish, Mexican, and American prospectors searched for gold and silver, and ignored copper. It was not until the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876 that copper became broadly economic to mine and ship to market.

Harry C. Wheeler American lawman

Harry Cornwall Wheeler was an Arizona lawman who was the third captain of the Arizona Rangers, as well as the sheriff of Cochise County, serving from 1912 into 1918. He is known as the lead figure in the illegal mass kidnapping and deportation of some 1200 miners and family members, many of them immigrants, from Bisbee, Arizona to New Mexico in 1917. Beginning on July 12, 1917, he took total control of the town of Bisbee, controlling access and running kangaroo courts that deported numerous people.

The Rio San Bernardino, or San Bernardino River, begins in extreme southeastern Cochise County, Arizona, and is a tributary of the Bavispe River, in Sonora, Mexico.

Naco Municipality Municipality in Sonora, Mexico

Naco Municipality is a municipality in Sonora in northwestern Mexico.

San Bernardino Valley (Arizona) Valley in Arizona, United States

The San Bernardino Valley of Arizona is a 35-mi long (56 km) northeast-by-southwest trending valley in extreme southeast Cochise County, Arizona. The north end of the valley merges into the northwest-by-southeast trending San Simon Valley; both merge in western perimeter Hidaldgo County, New Mexico. The valley is an asymmetric graben.

Bisbee massacre

The Bisbee massacre occurred in Bisbee, Arizona on December 8, 1883 when five outlaw Cowboys robbed a general store. Believing the general store's safe contained a mining payroll of $7,000, they timed the robbery incorrectly and were only able to steal between $800 to $3,000, along with a gold watch and jewelry. During the robbery, members of the gang killed four people, including a lawman and a pregnant woman. Six men were convicted of the robbery and murders. John Heath, who was accused of organizing the robbery, was tried separately and sentenced to life in prison. The other five men were convicted of murder and sentenced to hang.

Whitewater Draw, originally Rio de Agua Prieta, [Spanish: river of dark water], is a tributary stream of the Rio de Agua Prieta in Cochise County, Arizona. It was called Blackwater Creek by Philip St. George Cooke when his command, the Mormon Battalion, camped at a spring on its course on December 5, 1846.

Camp Harry J. Jones

Camp Harry J. Jones was an encampment of the United States Army. Located near Douglas, Arizona, it was active during the Pancho Villa Expedition and World War I.


  1. "2018 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 1, 2019.
  2. 1 2 U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Douglas, Arizona
  3. 1 2 "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  4. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  5. "Profile for Douglas, Arizona". ePodunk. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  6. "City of Douglas, Arizona". City of Douglas, Arizona. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  7. A full report can be read in The Arizona Rangers by Bill O'Neal; Eakin Press, Austin, Texas.
  8. McLynn, Frank (2001). Villa and Zapata . New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p.  319. ISBN   0-7867-0895-6.
  9. Kendal, Read, Staff Correspondent; Los Angeles Times; (June 23, 1926) pp 1,2,4
  10. Lately, Thomas. The Vanishing Evangelist: The Aimee Semple McPherson Kidnapping Affair (Viking Press, 1959) p.60
  11. "Chapo's rise: From poor, abused to cartel kingpin". USA Today. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  12. Reel, Monte (3 August 2015). "Annals of Excavation: Underworld- How the Sinaloa Cartel digs its tunnels". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  13. "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  14. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  15. 1 2 3 "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. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  16. "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (DO03): Douglas city, Arizona". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  17. "DOUGLAS: Cochise County". International Jewish Cemetery Project. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  18. "Jewish cemetery desecrated". CFCA. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  19. "Public Transportation". Douglas, AZ. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  20. "Schedule | Douglas, AZ" . Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  21. "Search Results". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  22. Teicholz, Tom. "Doc on PBS: The life and fictions of Harold Humes", Huffington Post , May 25, 2011. Accessed December 10, 2018. "Harold L. Humes was born in 1926 in Douglas, Arizona. His father was a chemical engineer. The family moved to Princeton New Jersey where Humes attended high school and got the nickname 'Doc', based on the crazy scientist character 'Doc Huer' in the Buck Rogers comics."
  23. "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian". Retrieved 2016-08-27.