Cochise County was named for the
renowned Apache chief in 1881, when
it was established during the 11th
Territorial Assembly. Archeological finds
date civilization along the San Pedro River to
9000-6000 B.C., when members of the Clovis
civilization inhabited the area.
Tombstone, one of the largest cities in
the western United States in 1881, was
designated the first county seat. Tombstone’s
silver mines flooded in 1887, devastating the
community, but the county seat stayed in
Tombstone, the "town too tough to die," until
1929 when Bisbee became the county seat.
Like Tombstone, Bisbee was a mining
town – site of the Copper Queen Mine and
famous Lavender Pit, discovered in 1877.
Mining continued there through much of the
20th century. Today Bisbee is a popular artist community and tourist destination.
Benson, founded in 1880, is on I-10 at the gateway to Kartchner Caverns State Park. Some 30
miles south are the thriving communities of Sierra Vista, by far the largest city in the county, and
Huachuca City. Both are economic neighbors of Fort Huachuca, one of the largest civilian employers in
southern Arizona. Fort Bowie, Coronado National Memorial and the Chiricahua National Monument are
national park facilities.
Cochise County also is an important agricultural area. With 6,219 square miles, Cochise is as big
as Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Once known as the Cattle Capital of the nation, Willcox is
the home of the largest weekly cattle auction in Arizona. Specialty crops and livestock, including exotic
animals, play an important role in the local economy. Douglas, once dependent upon mining and
agriculture, has developed a manufacturing base because of its location on the U.S.-Mexico border. All
of Cochise County has been designated as an Enterprise Zone, except the northeast section of the
Cochise is one of only three counties in Arizona without an Indian reservation. Individual and
corporate ownership account for 40 percent of the land; the state of Arizona, 35 percent; the U.S.