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In 1900, after the Phelps Dodge Company had acquired mines in Pilares and Nacozari, Mexico, representatives from the company were looking for a site for a new smelter. The site of the present day town of Douglas was selected, and the new town was named after Dr. James Douglas, then president of Phelps Dodge.

In 1904, the new smelter was blown in, and the town was incorporated the following year. Workers flocked to the new city, where more than 50% of Arizona's copper was processed in two smelters. Before World War I the monthly payroll was $500,000. The companion town of Agua Prieta in Mexico prospered with the export of copper from the Nacozari mines. After smelting operations ended in the 1980s, Douglas took on a new look. It now emphasizes its unique historical, architectural and cultural heritage. Proximity to outdoor recreation areas and the opportunities for convenient shopping and sightseeing in Old Mexico have made tourism and retirement living a growing factor in Douglas' economy.

Gadsden Hotel
11th St & G Ave.
(520) 364-4481
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this hotel was built in 1907. The lobby with its sweeping Italian marble staircase features Victorian chandeliers, authentic Tiffany vaulted skylights and a 42-foot stained glass mural.

Douglas-Williams Home
NE corner 10th St. & D Ave
Home of the Douglas Historical Society. Open 1-4, Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sat. (520) 364-7370

San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge
The San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, east of Douglas protects scarce aquatic and riparian habitats.

For more information about Douglas and the surrounding area, call the Douglas Visitors Center at (888) 315-9999. Information is subject to change. Call to confirm before planning to attend events.

Visitors Center

For information about Douglas and the surrounding area, call or visit the new Douglas Visitors Center. This brand new building is next to the once-bustling train depot, which houses the Douglas Police Department. The Visitor Center, built to match the architectural style of the old depot, provides literature about local and Arizona attractions, some copper memorabilia, and a fascinating time-line exhibit linking the history of Douglas to events in the U.S. and in the world. (888) 315-9999.

A guide to Douglas' historic buildings is available at the visitor center. Sites include the historic Railway Depot, Gadsden Hotel, Post Office, Douglas-Williams Home, Douglas Residential District and Sonoran Historical District.

Slaughter Ranch Museum
(520) 558-2474
Twenty miles east of Douglas, Texas John Slaughter's San Bernardino Ranch, now a National Historic Landmark, preserves an original Arizona ranch home and provides authentic displays of turn-of-the-century life in a lush pastoral setting.
From Douglas, take 15th Street east. It becomes Geronimo Trail. Continue east on this road approximately 15 miles. The museum is open to the public Wed-Sun 10 am-3 pm Admission $8/adult, children under 14 free

Cattle Baron or Cattle King?
"You've heard of old Ben Kirkman, the cattle king? His ranch run from the Nueces to the Rio Grande. In them days, as you know, there was cattle barons and cattle kings. The difference was this; when a cattleman went to San Antone and bought beer for the newspaper reporters and only give them the number of cattle he actually owned, they wrote him up for a baron. When he bought 'em champagne wine and added in the amount of cattle he had stole, they called him a king."

From "Law and Order" a story by O Henry, available in Wordsworth Classics: O Henry: 100 Selected Stories and many other editions and collections of short stories.