Sierra Vista, AZ
School info: www.greatschools.org/arizona/sierra-vista/
Chamber of Commerce: www.sierravistachamber.org/
City of Sierra Vista: www.ci.sierra-vista.az.us/cms1/
Visitor Center: www.visitsierravista.com/
Sierra Vista is a thriving community that caters to retirees and of course, the US Army. The town is located at the foothills of the Huachuca Mtns next to the San Pedro River. The San Pedro Riparian area is on one of the main migratory routes for birds in North America. Hiking, biking and bird watching are absolutely fantastic in this area.
At the end of the Apache Wars, the protection of Fort Huachuca and the completion of the Southern Pacific and the El Paso & Southwestern railroads, the San Pedro Valley began to populate. Oliver Fry and his two oldest sons traveled from Texas on the railroad and settled on 320 acres just outside of Fort Huachuca around 1901.
The first business that opened just outside the east gate of Fort Huachuca was a saloon and house of ill repute owned by John and Ellen Reilly opened in 1892. In 1911, Margaret Carmichael bought the Reilly homestead and business. By 1913, Margaret Carmichael had leased the business back to the Reillys. Also in 1913, a group of dry land farmers settled in the local area and named their settlement Buena. Buena was located east of Garden Canyon on a railroad whistle-stop between Lewis Springs and Fort Huachuca. At this site were a post office and a school house that served children in Buena, Garden Canyon and outreaches of the local area.
By 1917, the Overton Post Office was established. This settlement's name comes from the Overton Mercantile and Investment Company, who took option on the Carmichael property with plans to develop a town site outside of Fort Huachuca. However, it is believed that the company was unable to persuade anyone to move to the area so when the option expired, the Carmichaels took back the property and a general mercantile store.
In 1918, the Carmichaels changed the name of the store and were the proprietors of the "Garden Canyon." Garden Canyon was also the name of the post office and Carmichael was the postmaster. In addition, the Carmichaels built a home across the street from Garden Canyon store, as well as 18 rock houses, on Garden Avenue. From 1927 to 1938, the Frys rented the Carmichael store.
In 1955, the first attempt to incorporate and rename the area was rejected, as Fry opposed both incorporating and renaming the town that bore his family name. In 1956, the ballot issue failed 76 to 61. People who owned land outside of Fry's property went forward with incorporation and renaming by petition on May 26, 1956, excluding the half-square-mile owned by Fry.
Sierra Vista was incorporated in 1956, and has a population over 49,000 today. The city is the economic and commercial center of Cochise County, and northern Sonora, Mexico. Sierra Vista annexed Fort Huachuca, a U.S. military base, one of the largest employers in Arizona, and the adjacent community, in 1971.
Mountains surround Sierra Vista. Miller Peak (9,440 feet or 2,877 meters) is the highest point. The Mule, Dragoon, Whetstone, and Huachuca Mountains are visible from town. The first McDonald's Drive-Thru opened here in January 24, 1975. It was designed to feed the large numbers of soldiers at the fort quickly. The original restaurant was demolished in May 1999, and replaced with a new McDonald's.
Fort Huachuca, AZ
Following the Gadsden Purchase, prospectors and ranchers began moving to the new southern portion of the Arizona Territory in increased numbers.
The Chiricahua Apache, who had battled fiercely against the Spanish and Mexicans in the area, posed a threat to Americans in the area. In February 1877, The United States Army decided a new installation was needed to counter the Chiricahua threat and to help secure the border with Mexico.
On March 3, 1877, Captain Samuel Marmaduke Whitside, accompanied by two companies of the 6th Cavalry, chose a site at the base of the Huachuca Mountains that offered sheltering hills and a perennial stream. In 1882, Camp Huachuca was redesignated a fort. General Nelson A. Miles controlled the Fort Huachuca as his headquarters and against Geronimo in 1886.
After the surrender of Geronimo in 1886, the Apache threat was essentially extinguished, but Fort Huachuca was kept open because of its strategic border position. In 1913, the base was home to the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 10th Cavalry Regiment for twenty years. It was used as a forward logistics and supply base during Pershing's failed Punitive Expedition of 1916-1917. In 1933, the 25th Infantry Regiment had replaced the 10th Cavalry for the Fort Huachuca.
During World War Two, the fort had an area of 71,253 Acres, and had quarters for 1,251 Officers and 24,437 enlisted soldiers. The 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions (Colored) were trained at Huachuca at that time. The post was essentially closed in the late 1940s, but was given a new lease on life with the arrival of the Signal Corps and the Electronics Proving Ground (EPG).
In 1967, Fort Huachuca became the headquarters of the U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command, which became the U.S. Army Communications Command in 1973; and U.S. Army Information Systems Command (USAAISC) in 1984. It is now known as the United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command. Fort Huachuca was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.