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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : living in the verde valley : living in the verde valley April 30, 2016

6/24/2010 1:00:00 PM
Verde Valley Population Estimates

Predictions in 2000 were for the combined population of Verde Valley communities to grow from slightly less than 50,000 to more than 51,000 by 2005. Now, estimates for the year 2011 are for a population of around 77,000.

Rapid growth is not a recent phenomenon in the Verde Valley. The combined population was 15,625 in 1980 and up to 22,428 in 1990.

Throughout the valley, the median age is higher than 44, with the low median of 41 in Cottonwood and the high of over 50 in Sedona. Those statistics mean Baby Boomers make up the largest segment of the valley’s population demographics.


Camp Verde, Incorporated in 1986, and population figures show this town growing from 9,451 in 2000 to 11,230 in 2006. Camp Verde’s population was 6,243 in 1990.

It is the oldest community in the Verde Valley, having been established in 1865 to protect settlers from Indian raids. The town sits near the geographic center of Arizona.

The Fort Verde Historic State Park displays military and American Indian artifacts. Four original adobe buildings are open to the public.

Clarkdale, current population is set at 3,715, up from 3,422 in 2000. The population in 1990 was 2,144.

The town incorporated in 1957 (it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007), although it was laid out as a company town in 1914. The Clarkdale smelter processed ore from Jerome until 1952. The town’s original smelter sites and clubhouse are now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

One of the Verde Valley’s most popular tourist attractions is the Verde River Canyon Railroad, a 19-mile, round-trip scenic tour between Clarkdale and Perkinsville.

Cornville-Page Springs, combined population was set at 3,500 in 2000 and is currently estimated at 3,940, a growth of more than 18 percent. The rural community has a public school, Oak Creek Elementary, which is in the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District. The mixed population includes farmers, artists, business owners, contractors and professionals. Famous ranches, like the former Dancing Apache, first drew people to the area. Though unincorporated, residents have formed the Cornville Community Association. Oak Creek flows through both communities, and the fish hatchery is in Page Springs.

Cottonwood, population is 11,638, up from 9,179 in 2000. Incorporated in 1960, the population in 1990 was less than 6,000.

At an elevation of 3,320 feet, Cottonwood sits on the banks of the Verde River where a circle of 16 cottonwood trees stood when the first settlers arrived. Riverfront Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park both offer access to the river, one of the state’s best riparian habitats.

Jerome, sitting on the side of Mingus Mountain at an elevation of 5,435, this old mining town boasts the coolest temperatures during summer of any Verde Valley community. The 2000 census set Jerome’s population at 329, and 2006 statistics showed that it had grown only to 330. But town officials make a good argument that the census got the numbers wrong. With 335 utility hookups on their records, officials estimate the population at 425. Growth is predicted for Jerome just as it is in the rest of the Verde Valley. Predictions say the population will hit 641 in 2005, and 721 in 2014.

Once a booming city that served as the commercial, educational and medical center of the entire Verde Valley, Jerome had a peak population of 15,000 people before it became the world’s largest “Ghost City” when the Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953.

Jerome Historic State Park features the former Douglas Mansion and is a museum of the area’s history. The Jerome Historical Society operates the Mine Museum, which exhibits ore collections and mining equipment.

Lake Montezuma/Rimrock/McGuireville, 2007 population figures show 3,735 people living in all three unincorporated communities, up from 3,344 in 2000.

Montezuma was named for the nearby famous Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well and Indian Ruins. Rimrock was named for a dude ranch located near the community, and McGuireville used to be called “The Station” due to a single service station operated by Eugene McGuire. The Rimrock post office, established in 1929, serves all three communities.

Nearby Montezuma Well features a large limestone sink. The waters from the prehistoric well were used as a source for irrigation canals.

The area sits on Beaver Creek and is often simply called the Beaver Creek area.

Sedona/Village of Oak Creek/Oak Creek Canyon, combined population for 2006 is 11,010, up from 10,192 in 2000. Sedona incorporated in 1988, and the Village of Oak Creek remains unincorporated.

Established in 1902, Sedona was named for Sedona Schnebly, an early settler and sister-in-law to the communities first Postmaster. Oak Creek Canyon provides one of the most scenic drives in the country between Sedona and Flagstaff. The legendary Red Rock Country, offering breathtaking vistas surrounds Sedona.

Verde Village, population in 2000 was 10,610, and figures for 2007 are estimated at 11,618 The unincorporated area is basically a suburb of Cottonwood. The area, which is divided into number subdivision units, was first developed in 1970.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Article comment by: Jeff Parker

I appreciate Mr. LaMaster’s advocacy. As taxpayers, we are hugely subsidizing Yavapai College. So, yes, taxpayers should see services they paid for delivered near where they live.

Having said that, teaching classes where student registrations are not supportive suggests it is better holding classes where they are supportive. If that is in Prescott, taxpayers will be more supportive of full classrooms. Blaming “cuts” for that does not seem realistic.

If “efficiency” is not a satisfying rationale for locating classes in Verde, then what is? Higher education can, and should, support the local economy providing skilled labor that is in demand. Let’s make the case for conducting training in Verde on that basis.

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