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Willcox
City
View of Dos Cabezas peaks from downtown Willcox
View of Dos Cabezas peaks from downtown Willcox
Location of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona
Location of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona
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Coordinates: 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556Coordinates: 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise
Founded 1880
Incorporated 1915
Area
 • Total 6.28 sq mi (16.27 km2)
 • Land 6.15 sq mi (15.92 km2)
 • Water 0.13 sq mi (0.35 km2)
Elevation
4,167 ft (1,270 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,213
 • Density 522.52/sq mi (201.76/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP Codes
85643-85644
Area code 520 Exchange: 384
FIPS code 04-83090
GNIS feature ID 13808
Website City of Willcox

Willcox is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. The city is located in the Sulphur Springs Valley, a flat and sparsely populated drainage basin dotted with seasonal lakes. The city is surrounded by Arizona's most prominent mountain ranges, including the Pinaleño Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains. Willcox is located on the traditional, unceded homeland of the Chiricahua Apache people.

Six of Arizona's ten largest mountains are located within a 70-mile radius including Mount Graham (31 miles north), which is Arizona's most prominent mountain, Chiricahua Peak (42 miles southeast), Mount Lemmon (57 miles west), Miller Peak (65 miles southwest), Mica Mountain (41 miles west), and Mount Wrightson (70 miles southwest). Scores of birds, including sandhill cranes, winter in the area, with some migrating from as far away as Siberia. A very large dry lakebed, the Willcox Playa, is located five miles south of the city. It is the remnant of the Ice Age-era Lake Cochise.

Willcox's high desert climate gives it large diurnal temperature variation, making it ideal for wine cultivation.

History

Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox had the distinction of being a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.

Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Willcox was among the locations of 26 Men (1957–1959), another syndicated series that depicted true stories of the Arizona Rangers starring Tristram Coffin and Kelo Henderson.

Geography

Willcox is located in northern Cochise County at 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556 (32.255622, -109.835520) in the Sulphur Springs Valley. Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2), of which 6.1 square miles (15.9 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.13%, is water.

Climate

Climate data for Willcox, Arizona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
(27.2)
88
(31.1)
92
(33.3)
97
(36.1)
105
(40.6)
110
(43.3)
110
(43.3)
106
(41.1)
105
(40.6)
101
(38.3)
91
(32.8)
81
(27.2)
110
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 61
(16.1)
65
(18.3)
71
(21.7)
79
(26.1)
88
(31.1)
96
(35.6)
96
(35.6)
93
(33.9)
90
(32.2)
80
(26.7)
70
(21.1)
60
(15.6)
79
(26.1)
Average low °F (°C) 28
(-2.2)
31
(-0.6)
35
(1.7)
40
(4.4)
49
(9.4)
57
(13.9)
65
(18.3)
64
(17.8)
57
(13.9)
44
(6.7)
33
(0.6)
27
(-2.8)
44
(6.7)
Record low °F (°C) −1
(-18.3)
2
(-16.7)
6
(-14.4)
9
(-12.8)
11
(-11.7)
27
(-2.8)
42
(5.6)
41
(5)
30
(-1.1)
15
(-9.4)
8
(-13.3)
−7
(-21.7)
−7
(-21.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.09
(27.7)
0.96
(24.4)
0.68
(17.3)
0.33
(8.4)
0.39
(9.9)
0.46
(11.7)
2.61
(66.3)
2.53
(64.3)
1.18
(30)
1.16
(29.5)
0.71
(18)
1.25
(31.8)
13.35
(339.1)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0.90
(2.29)
0.90
(2.29)
0.70
(1.78)
0.20
(0.51)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.10
(0.25)
1.50
(3.81)
4.30
(10.92)

Willcox Wine Country

Willcox is home to Arizona's upcoming wine country. Grape varietals grown include Petit Sirah, Malvasia Bianca, Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Columbard, Sauvignon Blanc, Corvina, Merlot, Malbec, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre. The Willcox wine region produces 74% of the wine grapes grown in the state of Arizona.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 396
1910 1,632
1920 905 −44.5%
1930 806 −10.9%
1940 884 9.7%
1950 1,266 43.2%
1960 2,441 92.8%
1970 2,568 5.2%
1980 3,243 26.3%
1990 3,122 −3.7%
2000 3,733 19.6%
2010 3,757 0.6%
2020 3,213 −14.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,733 people, 1,383 households, and 947 families residing in the city. The population density was 622.3 people per square mile (240.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.0% White, 0.7% Black or African American, 1.6% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 17.6% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 41.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the city was $24,334. 21.6% of families and 27.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.6% of those under age 18 and 24.6% of those age 65 or over.

Seventeen miles north of Willcox on what was once the York ranch, there are now miles of apple orchards and pistachio groves.

Economy

Willcox's primary industries are agriculture, wine production, and tourism.

Major employers in Willcox include Riverview LLP, NatureSweet greenhouse, Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Valley Telephone Cooperative, the Border Patrol, Safeway, Willcox Unified School District, and TravelCenters of America,

The wine industry employs over 400 people in the region.The Agricultural Producers in the area employ many hundreds of workers as well. Circle K and Speedway employ around thirty people as well.

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