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Graham County

Graham County

Graham County was founded in 1872 when a group of Mormon farmers migrated from Southern Utah, settled in the vicinity, and constructed the Montezuma Canal. A township was formed in 1881 by the 11th Territorial Legislature and was named in honor of A.P.K. Safford, Third Territorial Governor of Arizona.

Safford Township

Safford was created from parts of Apache and Pima Counties. The Legislature broke their tradition of naming Arizona counties after local Indian tribes when they named the new county, “Graham”, after the highest peak in the area, 10,713-foot Mount Graham.

On the Old West Highway (US 70), set against the Gila River and majestic Mount Graham, the region has presented farmers with rich soil and tillable land since the Mogollon groups first settled here. The early white settlers, Mormon farmers, found the same benefits from the Gila River Valley and quickly established four small towns to support their growing populations.

The neighboring towns of Solomonville, Safford, Thatcher, and Pima became agricultural centers. Cattlemen quickly followed, but farming remained king. Cotton is presently the primary choice of valley farmers with record crops coming regularly. Although cotton prices are not exceptional, many fabric producers agree that Gila Valley cotton is second only to Egyptian.

Although Pima and Solomonville never flourished, both Safford and Thatcher are modern rural communities with approximately 15,000 residents each. The exceptional climate helps lure visitors, offering a wealth of recreational possibilities.