Douglas, Arizona

City of Douglas, Arizona
—  City  —
Lobby of Gadsden Hotel, Douglas
Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 31°20′42″N 109°32′29″W / 31.345°N 109.54139°W / 31.345; -109.54139Coordinates: 31°20′42″N 109°32′29″W / 31.345°N 109.54139°W / 31.345; -109.54139
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise
Incorporated May 15, 1905
 - Type City
 - Mayor Dr Mike Gomez
 - Total 7.7 sq mi (20.0 km2)
 - Land 7.7 sq mi (20.0 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.6 km2)
Elevation 4,006 ft (1,221 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 20,316
 - Density 1,852.7/sq mi (715.3/km2)
Time zone MST (no DST) (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 85607, 85608, 85655
Area code 520
FIPS code

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 14,312 at the 2000 census. According to 2008 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,316.[2]



Douglas is located at 31°20′42″N 109°32′29″W / 31.345°N 109.54139°W / 31.345; -109.54139 (31.344911, -109.541376).[3]

Douglas stands on the U.S.-Mexico border, across from the city of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.


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 James Douglas. 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. A full report can be read in The Arizona Rangers by Bill ONeal pub, Eakin Press Austin Texas.

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.[4]


Douglas has experienced both residential and economic growth. Construction has been completed on a new call center called Advance Call Center Technologies (ACT). The facility is expected to create 700 new jobs for the city. Douglas has also seen construction on a new Carl's Jr., Aaron's Furniture, and a Best Western 69-room three-story hotel, which opened in the summer of 2009. The city has also approved the construction of a Hampton Inn hotel next to the Best Western.

There is also an approved new border entry with nine entrances, including for commercial trucks; construction is planned for 2012. Over the past four years, 5th Street has seen the opening of many new fast food restaurants and retail shops.

Rancho Perilla Estates

Schools in Douglas

Public elementary schools

  • + Clawson Elementary School/ Denise Cox (Principal)
  • - Joe Carlson Elementary School/ Cyndy Ortega (Principal)
  • + Faras Elementary School/ Claudia Leon (Principal)
  • - Sarah Marley Elementary School/ Claudia Leon (Principal)
  • + Stevenson Elementary School/ George Montano (Princiapl)

Public middle schools

  • - Paul Huber Middle School/ Andrea Overman (Principal) Jasper Lusby (Asst. Principal)
  • + Ray Borane Middle School/ Mary Good (Principal) Ana Samaniego (Asst. Principal)

Public high School

  • + Douglas High School/ Ralph Schneider (Principal) Randy Walker (Asst. Principal) Melissa Rodriguez (Asst. Principal)

Private schools

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

Schools with a - mark are under performing for the state of Arizona standards. Schools with a + mark are performing for the state of Arizona standards.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: / NWS

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, with both January and February averaging daily highs of 64°F (18°C). Lows typically settle just below the freezing mark (32°F/0°C) 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°F (32°C) and 100°F (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 lower 60s (near 15°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 19 inches (480 mm).

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


Also see Chiricahua National Monument

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 recognized as a National Historic Site. 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."[citation needed] 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.

  • 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.

Notable residents

  • Jay Dusard, contemporary photographer, 1981 Guggenheim award winner,[5] recipient of two book awards and a Pulitzer nomination.[6]
  • 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, (June 14, 1914 to December 13, 1963) who wrote "Ghost Riders in the Sky", and is in the Western Music Association Hall of Fame, was born and reared in Douglas.
  • Bill Meléndez, born José Cuauhtémoc Meléndez in Mexico in 1916, was educated in the public schools of Douglas as a child. A character animator, film producer and film director, he is best known for his work as the voice of Snoopy in the Charlie Brown series.
  • "Texas John" Slaughter, Cochise County Sheriff (1886–1896), rancher, gunfighter, cattleman, businessman, community leader in Douglas' early years, and a champion for Arizona's statehood. He and his wife Viola are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Douglas. His character was played by Tom Tryon in a Walt Disney Presents miniseries entitled Texas John Slaughter
  • Effie Anderson Smith, also known as Mrs. A.Y. Smith (1869–1955), an early Arizona Impressionist painter of desert landscapes around Cochise County, and especially of the Grand Canyon. Often referred to in newspaper and magazine articles of the period as the "Dean of Arizona Women Artists".
  • Thornton Wilder, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and novelist, once made Douglas his temporary home. He started his longest novel, The Eighth Day while living in Douglas. On his initial visit to the city, he stayed at the historic Gadsden Hotel.[citation needed]
  • Robert Krentz a Douglas area rancher who was murdered in 2010 by a suspected illegal immigrant. The murder of Krentz is credited for bringing about Arizona's SB1070 immigration law.
  • Hazel Carter World War II wife who wore an army uniform in attempts to join her husband.


Historical populations
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 20,316 42.0%

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 14,312 people, 4,526 households, and 3,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,852.7 people per square mile (715.8/km²). There were 5,186 housing units at an average density of 671.3 per square mile (259.4/km²). Hispanic 86.0%,Other race 31.8%, White Non-Hispanic 12.1%,Two or more races 2.9%, American Indian 1.3%. There were 4,526 households out of which 42.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 22.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.59.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 33.5% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,567, and the median income for a family was $22,425. Males had a median income of $25,320 versus $18,447 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,232. About 32.1% of families and 36.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.0% of those under age 18 and 21.7% of those age 65 or over.

Popular Culture



External links

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