2011: ALL THE PEOPLE
Verde Valley population growth consistent, not excessive
The Yavapai County population grew 26 percent from 2000 to 2010, reaching 211,033. But, during the 10 years between census counts, the Verde Valley grew only half as fast as western Yavapai County. The Verde Valley jumped from 55,543 to 64,321 in 2010, a 16-prcent increase, between those milestones.
Arizona’s seniors are not spread evenly throughout the state. Retirement communities in the two largest counties aside, the oldest Arizonans, on average, are in La Paz County, Yavapai and Mohave counties, with median ages in the 45-plus range, come in second and third. Yavapai County’s population over 65 is now 23 percent.
Camp Verde. Incorporated in 1986, population figures show this town growing from 9,451 in 2000 to 10,873 in 2010.
It is the oldest community in the Verde Valley, having been established in 1865 to protect settlers from Indian raids, though it was not incorporated until 1987. 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 4,097, up from 3,422 in 2000, a 20-percent growth.
The town incorporated in 1957 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 3,592 in 2000 and is reached 3,739 by 2010, a growth of 40 percent. The rural community has a public school, Oak Creek Elementary, of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek District. A 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 11,265, 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. Today is a thriving commercial hub for the Verde Valley Riverfront Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park both offer access to the river, one of the state’s best riparian habitats.
Verde Village/ Bridgeport. The unincorporated, but neighboring Cottonwood communities, the population in 2000 was 10,610, and figures for 2010 are 13,486. The area, which is divided into number subdivision units, was first developed in 1970.
Jerome, On the side of Mingus Mountain at an elevation of 5,435, this old mining town boasts the Verde Valley’s coolest temperatures during summer. Once a booming mining town of 15,000, that served as the commercial, educational and medical center of the entire Verde Valley before the rich copper veins played out in 1953, Jerome became the world’s largest “Ghost City.”
The 2000 census set Jerome’s population at 329. Ten years later, the population has grown again to 444.
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. The 2010 population has grown to 4,706 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.
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. The Sedona area was the only community that lost population in the 2010 census. The count was 10,192 in 2000. Census estimated the population of the city at 11,220 in 2005, but the 2010 census declared 10,031 residents.
Despite the drop in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek to the south grew by 17 percent between the decades from 5,245 in 2000 to 6,147 in 2010.
The unincorporated Red Rock area had a 60-percent growth, totaling 551 residents.
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.