The Old County Jail was built in 1929 due to the rising crime rate from the manufacture and sale of bootleg whiskey in Cottonwood. It continued to serve as the county jail until 1960 then as the city jail until 1970. Currently it is the Visitor's Center and the trailhead for a trail that leads to the Verde River then Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Tuzigoot is Apache for crooked water. They were a prehistoric people called the Sinagua who built these pueblos and lived in them from around 1125 and 1400 CE. They benefitted from farming, good source of water, and trade. They were accomplished in sculpting stones and jewelry making. Many wonderful pieces have been discovered from excavation. This pueblo is one the most preserved structures and probably housed as many to 77 and 110 rooms. This structure has been preserved by beefing up the walls with new mortar. What I find so special about this structure is you can actually walk around it, touch it and explore the top floor of the pueblo. By actually seeing it in person gives a small glimpse in the everyday life of such wonderful people rich in culture.
$5.00 - 7 Days
$8.00 Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monuments - 7 Days
Tuzigoot National Monument is open From Memorial Day through Labor Day 8 AM- 6 PM
From Labor Day through Memorial Day 8 AM -5 PM
The Hotel Cottonwood was built in 1922 and is the oldest hotel in Cottonwood still standing. It still functions as a hotel, is in the heart of the Old Town, and specializes in extended stays with weekly and monthly rates. It is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is one of the best places in the area for camping, fishing, hiking and horseriding. It got its name when the Irey Family were looking for a ranch to buy in Arizona. They had seen quite a few possible ranches to buy, one of which had a dead horse by the road. When asked which ranch they wanted to buy the kids said "the one with the dead horse", and the ranch was named. In 1973, when Arizona obtained the ranch for a state park, maintaining the name was a condition of the sale. Dead Horse Ranch State Park is 1/2 mile from Old Town. If you want more information see my Dead Horse Ranch State Park Page.
Tuzigoot National Monument consists of the remains of a Southern Sinagua Pueblo built around the mid-1100s. It first consisted of a cluster of small rooms housing about 50 people and expanded until it peaked in the early 1300s with about 200 inhabitants. Tuzigoot has a nice, easy, interpretive trail around the ruins and a nice museum. Tuzigoot is only 1 1/2 miles from Cottonwood. If you want more information see my Tuzigoot National Monument Page.
Several families moved into this section of the Verde Valley in the mid 1800s. In 1877 a team of surveyors came to the area and reported several faring families living here. They called the settlement "Cottonwood" after the plentiful Cottonwood Trees along the Verde River. In 1917 the downtown area of Cottonwood formed. Most people living here at the time were indepent spirited people who did not like the restrictive structure of the nearby company mining towns of Clarkdale and Clemenceau. The town also had a large immigrant population because they sometimes encountered prejudice in the company towns. During prohibition, a lot of the businesses in the old downtown area were fronts for the production and sale of bootleg whiskey. Some of the citizens, concerned about the wilder more lawless crowd attracted by the bootleg whiskey petitioned for a jailhouse which was built in 1929. The Old Jail serves as the Visitor's Center today. Old Town Cottonwood today is full of art shops, trendy restaurants and some historical places.
This was a neat find while we strolled down the street. This building was once a jail built in 1929. It probably housed many wooley cowboys or miners after a long night of gambling and boozing it up...woo hoo! Now it houses The Old Town Association’s Visitor Center. It has the original two metal-enclosed cells that kept bad guys quiet “sardine style.” It was still in use till up 1970s, but found a new life being several businesses such as a court room and a boys’ and girls’ club. Now vistors can check out and get themselves some info of the area. It has a public restroom available too.
Open six days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Plus, there is a really neat Jail Trail just to the side of the building for you hikers that is a one-mile riparian area with many rare plants and endangered animals, such as the river otter and southern bald eagle. This trail connects with the Verde River Greenway, a six-mile reach of the Verde River, which adjoins many of the area’s sites, including Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Located right off main street on the Stop Cafe is a beautiful mural depicting some of Cottonwoods wonderful history.
Peaceful place to camp, hike or fish. We camped here for the weekend and enjoyed beautiful sunsets and a peaceful time fishing.