Arizona has a strong Native American presence: Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the country. Native American culture and traditions continue to play an important role in the state's history and identity.
Graham County, located in the southeastern part of Arizona, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Apache and Gila River tribes, who lived off the land and left behind a cultural legacy that is still celebrated today.

In the late 1800s, European settlers began to arrive in Graham County. They were attracted to the region because of its fertile valleys and abundant natural resources. The discovery of copper in the area led to the establishment of mining towns, such as Clifton and Morenci, which thrived during the early 20th century.

The county played a prominent role in the development of the western frontier. It was a crossroads for pioneers, explorers, and traders traveling between Tucson and the town of Safford. The completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the late 1800s further facilitated transportation and commerce in the region.

Throughout its history, Graham County has faced various challenges, including conflicts with Native American tribes, droughts, and economic downturns. However, the county has remained resilient and continues to evolve. Today, it is known for its diverse economy, which includes agriculture, mining, tourism, and education. The county remains a testament to the endurance and spirit of the people who have called it home throughout the years.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Graham County, Arizona.

  • Graham County was established on March 10, 1881
  • In 1882, the town of Safford was designated as the county seat
  • In the late 1800s, mining became an important industry in the county
  • In 1912, Graham County experienced a major flood, resulting in damage to infrastructure and loss of life
  • During the early 20th century, agriculture became a significant economic activity in the county
  • In the 1950s, the construction of the Coolidge Dam provided water for irrigation and further fueled agriculture
  • The Mount Graham International Observatory was established in 1988, bringing scientific research and tourism to the area
  • In recent years, Graham County has focused on promoting tourism, preserving natural resources, and supporting local businesses