Discovering Safford, Arizona: A Journey Through Its Vibrant History & Cultural Riches

Sprung from the rich soil of the Gila Valley, the city of Safford, Arizona, is an alluring oasis that carries an irresistible charm. Founded in 1874 by Joshua Eaton Bailey, Hiram Kennedy, and Edward Tuttle, these pioneering souls ventured from Gila Bend, exchanging a life of shattered dreams to one full of potential in this newfound paradise. Their legacy lives on today as a testament to the city’s resilient and dynamic spirit.

Safford carries the name of the influential Arizona Territorial Governor Anson P. K. Safford, a fitting tribute to this sanctuary that was incorporated in 1901 and later honored with city status in 1955.

Once a fertile gem nurtured by the Gila River, the city’s rich, verdant landscapes served as the lifeblood of a thriving agricultural community. Farmers coaxed a bounty of crops from the earth, including plush cotton, golden wheat, resilient corn, and an assortment of vibrant vegetables. Safford’s bustling life also echoed with the mooing of cattle and bleating of sheep, as it became a crucial hub for the livestock industry.

In the twilight of the 19th century, Safford stood proudly as an essential stop on the historic Butterfield Overland Mail route. Its strategic location allowed the city to offer indispensable support to miners exploring the neighboring terrains, whilst also housing prominent military forts like Fort Thomas and Fort Apache.

As the decades rolled on, Safford’s charm only intensified. It emerged as a buzzing hive of commercial and industrial activity, with sectors such as copper mining, furniture manufacturing, and food processing bolstering its economy and character.

Today, Safford is the crown jewel of Graham County, pulsating as a regional powerhouse with an inspiring tapestry of businesses, industries, and educational hubs. The city’s inviting ambiance, temperate climate, and stunning panoramas draw in visitors from around the globe, while its historical allure unfurls an enchanting narrative of resilience and growth.

A glance at the city’s journey:

  • In 1873, Safford was born from the visions of Joshua Eaton Bailey, Hiram Kennedy, and Edward Tuttle.
  • 1874 marked its official incorporation as a budding town.
  • By 1881, Graham County was created, with Safford standing proudly as its county seat.
  • The end of an era occurred in 1887, with the discontinuation of the Butterfield Overland Mail route.
  • Safford elevated to city status in 1901.
  • In 1912, Arizona was recognized as a state.
  • The Safford National Fish Hatchery, a result of the Civilian Conservation Corps, was constructed in 1934.
  • The title of the city transitioned from the Town of Safford to the City of Safford in 1955.
  • The birth of the Safford Unified School District occurred in 1970.
  • 1995 saw the dedication of the awe-inspiring Mount Graham International Observatory.
  • In 2000, the population of Safford crossed the significant milestone of 10,000.

More than just a city, Safford is a vibrant community brimming with a diverse population and multifaceted opportunities. Its bustling economic landscape is complemented by the serene beauty of nature, making it an enchanting destination that seamlessly weaves history, culture, and scenic charm into one unforgettable experience.