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Douglas, Arizona







Douglas, Arizona


Circa 1935


Douglas, named  after mining pioneer James Douglas, is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico and a history of mining.

The population was 14,312 at the 2000 census. According to 2008 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,316.


The city of Douglas was established in 1901 when the Phelps Dodge Company decided to locate a copper smelter on the banks of Whitewater Draw in southern Cochise County. With its close proximity to the border, relative lack of law enforcement, and the politically unstable conditions in Mexico, Douglas quickly gained a reputation as a wide open, "anything goes" town. The problem was brought under control through better municipal organization coupled with the efforts of Captain Tom Rynning and his Arizona Rangers. In 1902, Captain Rynning moved the headquarters of the Arizona Rangers to Douglas because the majority of the problems being encountered by his 30 man Ranger force were in this area. He later stated, "I've been in many a tough town in my day from Deadwood to Tombstone, but I've never met up with a harder formation than Douglas was when we made it the Arizona Rangers home corral there in 1902."


In 1915/1916, Douglas was the scene of bloody fighting involving the American and Mexican armies and Francisco "Pancho" Villa.

Douglas still maintains a reputation as an "anything goes" town where the illicit trafficking of illegal aliens and narcotics is concerned. On May 28, 1924, Congress passed the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924, officially establishing the U.S. Border Patrol for the purpose of securing the borders between inspection stations. They mandated that Douglas be one of the initial locations for posting the new personnel who were then called Border Patrol Inspectors rather than Agents. Prior to the establishment of the Patrol, Mounted Inspectors performed the double duties of manning the Douglas Port of Entry and "line riding" on horseback.


See also:
• Article ''Burning the Bodies of Dead Bandits at Columbus, N. M.'
US Border Station Douglas



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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022