“In 1874 soldiers from Camp Verde were stationed at an adobe house, but at that time there was no name for the present Cottonwood (where the house existed). As settlers moved in and the community developed, it took its name from a circle of sixteen large cottonwoods growing about one-quarter of a miles away from the Verde River. The place was unhealthful. Malaria and dysentry were severe problems as mosquitos rose in thick clouds from stagnant pools left by receding floods. Such quinine as was available sold at $4.00 an ounce and could be bought only when it was in surplus at Camp Verde. Nevertheless, by 1879, several families had settled there, including the Nichols, Van Deerens, Hawkins, and Strahans. It is a curious fact that each family had nine children. The adobe building formerly used by soldiers became a school house. Today Cottonwood is a thriving community. P.O. est March 6, 1879, William H. Michael pm”.
Cottonwood was founded in 1879. Charles D. Willard settled in the area, bringing with him a mechanic by the name of Neff. As other settlers came in, the area became a farming settlement until World War I. They found a market for their crops, hay and grain in Camp Verde and later in Jerome. Most farm operations included running some cattle.
Cottonwood and the Verde river area was overgrown with native grasses, cacti, mesquite, juniper and rabbit bush, furnishing excellent hunting for rabbits and quail. Between 1915-1917 Cottonwood began building their town. By March of 1917 Cottonwood began booming.
Cottonwood appealed to the more venturesome, those who wanted their own home and business. There was a certain reputation for lawlessness. Some who settled in Cottonwood were run out of the nearby company towns. Heavy bootlegging was abound, therefore attracting other non law abiding citizens as well as law abiding from other towns.
Cottonwood was known to have the best bootlegging booze within hundreds of miles, attracting citizens from Los Angeles, Phoenix and closer-to-home folks. According to statistics compiled for the State Directory in the late teens, Cottonwood was represented by 64 businessmen who operated 4 general mercantile stores, 5 stores handling dry goods, 3 restaurants, 1 barbershop, 1 movie picture theater, 1 amusement hall, 1 drugstore, bakery, confectionery, lumber yard, 2 garages, 2 blacksmiths, butcher shop, furniture store, 2 shoe shops, 7 pool halls, service station, ice plant, jewelry shop, 2 hotels, cleaning shop, root beer stand, novelty store and ice cream parlor. The AZ power had a temporary office. Cottonwood proper had 300 residents.
By 1920’s ~ There is not another town in the US that can boost of so many business houses for a population of about 1000. Cottonwood was called the ‘Biggest Little Town in Arizona’. Merchants were doing a fine business and being busy all the time.
Today, Cottonwood, Arizona is the place to go if you’re looking for something different. Located in Yavapai County, between Prescott and Sedona, Cottonwood is surrounded by jagged mountains on the south, east and west, and to the north by mesas and buttes. Named for the beautiful Cottonwood trees that grow along the Verde River, the town has grown from a small farming community to the Verde Valley’s population center.
The small town of Cottonwood is a quiet community with convenient shopping, hotels, and restaurants, and a picturesque Historic Old Town, complete with high sidewalks and false fronted buildings that lend to the old west atmosphere. Situated in the center of the Verde Valley, Cottonwood is the ideal spot to stay while visiting other area attractions. You will find so much to do in this part of central Arizona, such as visiting ancient Indian ruins, historic parks and landmarks and ghost towns.
The beautiful Verde River runs through Cottonwood, and the town is near the spectacular Oak Creek Canyon area. Enjoy the hiking trails, golfing, or camping as you watch the changing colors of the desert at twilight. It’s all here, and so much more, in Cottonwood, Arizona!
Cottonwood is an ideal place to base your travels to terrific attractions and outdoor spots. It is a small town that began as a farming town. Today Cottonwood has a population of 5,900. The town sits at an elevation of 3,314 feet. The climate is mild all year round. The low temperature in the winter is 30 degrees and the high temperature in the summer is 97 degrees. Cottonwood receives approximately 11 inches of rain a year and 4 inches of snow. Cottonwood is a trading center for the Verde Valley. There are numerous services and manufacturing facilities in town, along with a quaint Historic Old Town area. It is a pleasant, quiet little community serving a rich agricultural, livestock and mining district. There are some terrific attractions near Cottonwood. The Verde Canyon Railroad is a wonderful experience. Visitors will travel down the railroad lines viewing scenic spots and wildlife. This is a very popular attraction. Tuzigoot National Monument is an old Indian dwelling. There are two hiking trails that give visitors an up close look at the culture from long ago. The Clemenceau Heritage Museum is a neat place to visit to see a room of working model trains and to discover more about the Verde Valley’s past. Cottonwood has so many outdoor activities. Dead Horse Ranch State Park is so close to town. This park has a variety of things to offer its visitors. The park has camping, picnicking, fishing and horseback riding. The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area is a 26-mile canyon perfect for hiking. This canyon is one of the most breathtaking spots in the area.
Cottonwood is located in northern Arizona only 130 miles from Phoenix, 40 miles from Flagstaff, 8 miles from Jerome, 50 miles from Prescott, 20 miles from Camp Verde, 16 miles from Sedona and about 2 miles from Clarkdale. You can even make a day trip to the Grand Canyon from here.
Once in Cottonwood, there are many things to see and do. Why not check out the many unique shops in old town, or relax and have a bit to eat at one of our many restaurants, listen to some great music, explore the red rocks, hike, swim or just relax.
Once you have spent enough time shopping and relaxing in Cottonwood, why not check out one of the communities close to us to see what they have to offer. There is just about everything one could desire in the vicinity of Cottonwood, Arizona.