Experience stories of the true West from ancient civilizations to pioneer settlements and boom-to-bust mining towns.
From time immemorial, the Verde River and other perennial water sources have attracted people to Sedona Verde Valley.
People have been calling Sedona Verde Valley home since at least 9,000 B.C. Evidence has been found of the ancient Clovis culture, as well as the later Archaic people. Later, came the Sinagua and Hohokam peoples, and the present-day Yavapai and Apache, represented by the Yavapai-Apache Nation communities in Camp Verde, Rimrock and Clarkdale. These people chose their homes in relation to the rivers, creeks, and springs in the area resulting in one of the highest concentrations of archeological sites in the United States. The Anasazi, a Navajo term meaning “the ancient ones,” fished the rushing Oak Creek waters, farmed the land and tracked the valley’s plentiful hunting grounds.
Today, hundreds of early culture sites include cliff dwellings and pueblos built by the Southern Sinagua people between 1100 and 1425, and petroglyphs and pictograph attributed to the Sinaguan, Palatki and Honanki peoples.The cultural influence of the Yavapai-Apache Nation can be seen throughout the Sedona Verde Valley at local festivals and in the region’s fine arts and crafts that include traditional Yavapai-Apache baskets, pottery and wooden flutes.
The area’s boom-and-bust copper mining history is another fascinating story for visitors to explore. In 1880, excavators discovered rich copper reserves on Cleopatra Hill, beneath the present-day Town of Jerome. This discovery drew miners and investors from across the world. Jerome’s two copper mines made billions of dollars for East Coast investors during the 70 years they were in business.
When the last mine closed in 1953, residents abandoned Jerome, which was a ghost town until the 1970s when it became a haven for artists and artisans, inspiring new businesses, shops, and restaurants. Today, visitors can even take a ghost-town tour of the old mining town to explore the abandoned mining sites and listen to spooky folklore.
Founded in 1912, Clarkdale, originally a “company town”, was founded by the United Verde Copper Company to provide housing and services for the employees of their smelter. Copper’s history comes alive in stories depicted in Clarkdale’s array of museums and walking tours.
Today, approximately 75,000 people presently call Sedona Verde Valley home. This mix of longtime residents, retirees and young families supports the vibrant communities of Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, and Yavapai-Apache Nation. Each community has its own unique character representing the arts, agriculture and history making for a special experience for residents and visitors.