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Yavapai County Arizona




The Yavapai County Courthouse is located at 120 South Street, Prescott, AZ 86303; phone: 928-771-3312.

Beginnings [1]

Yavapai County is located in north-central Arizona; it covers an area of land over 8,000 square miles, its boundaries stretching south to north reach from just north of the Phoenix Metro Area to approximately 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon. With Maricopa County adjacent to its southern border, Coconino County to its northern and northeastern boundaries, Mohave and La Paz Counties to the west, and Gila County to the southeast, Yavapai County encompasses a vast area of the state as well as a diverse physical and cultural landscape. Yavapai County has extremely varying topographies with low Sonoran Deserts at 1,700 ft. above sea level to mountain ranges with peaks at almost 8,000 ft. above sea level.

Yavapai County is one of Arizona's four original territorial counties, and Prescott, Yavapai County's County Seat, was the first territorial capitol in Arizona. However, Yavapai County's history extends long before territorial times. The area is believed to have been populated by indigenous peoples as early as 700 A.D. The Sinagua people from the north and east migrated to the Verde Valley about 400 years later and much of the evidence of this ancient civilization can be found in the Tuzigoot ruins, Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. By the late 1500's the Yavapai People were contacted by early Spanish explorers. The County was named for the Yavapai Indians.

Yavapai County was established by the Arizona Territorial Government in 1864, with 85,000 square miles, it stretched from New Mexico to Mohave County and from the Gila River to Utah. The territorial capitol was established in Prescott from 1864 to 1867 and again from 1877 to 1899. With the construction of Forts Whipple and Verde in the 1860's, miners migrated into the mountains of southern and western Yavapai County. In the 1870's, large copper deposits were discovered at Jerome and smelters were constructed, resulting in the early development of the Jerome-Verde Valley area.

With the end of the Indian wars in the 1880's, as well as the construction of a railroad across Northern Arizona, Yavapai County's population began to grow. The existence of grasslands attracted farming and ranching to the Verde Valley, Chino Valley and Peeples Valley. During this period and beyond the turn-of-the-century, successful mining, farming and ranching in the Jerome-Verde Valley area and the southwestern mountain regions meant expansion for the County's cultural amenities, housing and population.

By 1910, the County had a population of approximately 16,000 people. It rose rapidly to over 24,000 by 1920 and remained somewhat constant for the next 40 years. The 1970 U.S. Census showed a population of nearly 37,000, which reflected the beginning of new, rapid migrations to the County that continued through the end of the 20th Century. During the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was counted at 165,000. The most recent Census in 2010 showed us that Yavapai County experienced another period of growth with a population of 211,033.

  1. Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan, September 2012, www.yavapai.us, accessed February, 2013.
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