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Explore Historic Downtown Clarkdale

HISTORY OF CLARKDALE

EARLY HISTORY

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Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now Clarkdale was inhabited by early Indigenous peoples including the Southern Sinagua people. 

IMAGE CREDIT: Tuzigoot National Monument

Visit Tuzigoot National Monument in Clarkdale, the gem of Arizona
William A Clark the founder of Clarkdale

THE FOUNDING OF CLARKDALE

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In 1912, William A. Clark founded the town of Clarkdale as a model company town for his United Verde Copper Company Smelter and employees. 

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum

THE UNITED VERDE COPPER COMPANY

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The United Verde Copper Company’s Smelter was the main economic engine of Clarkdale. The company operated a large copper mine in the nearby town of Jerome and built a smelter in Clarkdale to process the copper ore. The smelter operated more than 45 years, providing jobs and economic growth for the town.  Clark died in 1925.  In 1929 copper prices fell sharply and continued to fall resulting in the complete shutdown of the mine and smelter in 1931.  In 1935 mining and smelting resumed and the United Verde was sold to the Phelps Dodge Corporation. 

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum

Clarkdale History as a booming copper town and the United Verde Copper Company
United Verde decline in Clarkdale Arizona

DECLINE OF THE UNITED VERDE

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In the late 1940s, the minable copper in Jerome began
to run out. Phelps Dodge closed the United Verde Copper Company mine and smelter in 1951 and many residents left the town to find work at other Phelps Dodge
holdings in Arizona.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum

REVIVAL OF CLARKDALE

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Clarkdale had been incorporated in 1957 and was on the rebound with the opening of the Phoenix Cement Plant which was built to supply cement for Northern Arizona’s Glen Canyon dam. The empty homes left behind by smelter workers were sold to retirees and a new generation of families employed by the cement plant and cement transport business.  Today, Clarkdale is known for the Verde Canyon Railroad, Tuzigoot National Monument, outdoor recreational opportunities, well-preserved historic homes and buildings, and small-Town charm.

IMAGE CREDIT: Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum

Downtown Clarkdale bring the past to life
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MODERN CLARKDALE

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Today, Clarkdale is a thriving community with a population of around 4,500 people. The town has a strong sense of history and community and is a popular destination for tourists. Despite its small size,
Clarkdale offers a wide range of attractions, including museums, schools, parks, recreational facilities,
and a scenic railway.

IMAGE CREDIT: Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum

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