Douglas, Arizona

The City of Douglas was established as a center for copper smelting operations, treating ores from nearby Bisbee. The city was named in honor of mining pioneer James Douglas. The Copper Queen smelter was built and operated by the Copper Queen Mining Company until that company was bought by Phelps Dodge early in World War I. The Calumet and Arizona Copper Company smelter was built in 1902 and operated by that company until the company was bought by Phelps Dodge in 1931. At that point, Phelps Dodge shut down the Copper Queen smelter. The Calumet and Arizona smelter was in operation until Phelps Dodge shut everything down in 1987, after the big Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983.

Before the copper mining operations began here, this was a settlement known as "Black Water," in honor of a dirty water hole that saw a lot of use anyway because of the general lack of any water sources in the area. Surveyors employed by the Douglas Improvement Company surveyed and platted the property starting in 1902, a bit before construction on the Calumet and Arizona Copper Company smelter began.

Today, Douglas is an up-and-coming retirement center with several planned new sub-divisions around town. Advanced Call Center Technologies just opened a new call center in Douglas that created about 700 new jobs. The federal government has approved the construction of a new 9-entrance border crossing, slated to begin in 2012. Just across the border is the Mexican city of Agua Prieta. Agua Prieta was founded to house smelter workers back in the early 1900's. Today, Agua Prieta is at least 4 times larger than Douglas.