Wickenburg, Arizona: History Of a Wild West Town

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The local child sexual abuse attorney in Wickenburg, AZ has sponsored this article about the history of the wild-west town in hopes that residents and visitors alike learn something new about the area.

History of the Small Town of Wickenburg

Wickenburg is a small town located in Maricopa County, with a small portion sitting in Yavapai County.

Becoming Part of the USA

It wasn't until 1848 that Wickenburg became a part of the United States. This came about because of the 1848 treaty which also ended the Mexican-American War. There was a gold strike along the Colorado River which would end up driving prospectors across the state and eventually, settler Henry Wickenburg was one of the first pioneers to settle in the area. He discovered the Vulture Mine, which as of recent years has dug more than $30 million worth of gold. Silver, copper and gold would all be discovered in mines across the town.

By 1863, there were ranchers and farmers building along the Hassayampa River, and the town of Wickenburg was established. The town would become a supply point for mines and army posts thanks to its prime location in central Arizona.

Conflict With Yavapai Native Americans

The residents and the Yavapai Native American tribe were in conflict throughout the years during the American Civil War. When the war ended and troops returned to Wickenburg, the Yavapai were forced onto a reservation, where they continue to live today. Unfortunately, conflict continued between the Yavapai and the Americans living in the area. Many friendly chiefs were killed and eventually new negotiations were started between American General, George Crook and the surviving Yavapai warrior leaders.

These new negotiations reduced the size of the reservation, added a permanent Army garrison on the territory, a surrendering of firearms and be regulated by an Indian Police force picked by American officers.

Growth into the 1900s to Today

Even with the conflicts between the Americans and the Yavapai nation, the town held on. In addition to the Indian Wars, outlaws, mine closures, drought and even a disastrous flood threatened the town. The railroad was linked to the town in 1895, hoping to bring more commerce and visitors. Today, only freight trains continue on this line.

The town offers guest ranches, with as many as 14 operating at one time in the 1950s and 1960s. A Guest Ranch is geared towards visitors and tourism, where guests can relive the nostalgia of westward expansion. These are often referred to as a 'Dude Ranch,' and Wickenburg began calling itself the 'Dude Ranch Capital of the World.'

The town was officially incorporated in 1909.


As of the 2020 Census, the population has hit an all time high of 7,474 residents. As of the 2000 census, 91.8% of residents were white and 1.2% were Native American. Of the population in 2000, 11% identified as Hispanic or Latino of any race. The households were made up of just under 50% of married couples, and 20.5% of houses had children under the age of 18 living there. The median age of the town was 48 and for every 100 females, there are 89.1 males.

Things To Do in Wickenburg

For being a town of 26.52 square miles, there is much to do in Wickenburg. Some highlights include:

  • Downtown bronze statues - 6 large statues all uniquely colored and realistic representations of Wickenburg history
  • Wickenburg Art Center - home to a variety of art, photography, jewelry and more. There are also educational programs offered and open studio time
  • Desert Caballeros Western Museum - showcasing the art and history of the American West
  • Saguaro Theater - open since 1948, this theater shows classic films, western movies and new releases

There are also many outdoor activities for those seeking a sense of adventure. There are many different trails that offer new views of the town and surrounding desert areas. Off road tours are also available to take through the desert. Wickenburg also offers many walking tours including a historic tour, and legends and ghost tours. Vulture City is another area that offers tours and takes visitors back to the 1860s.

There are still three operating guest ranches, or dude ranches, that visitors can enjoy. Today, these are the Flying E Ranch, Kay El Bar Ranch and the Rancho de los Caballeros.

Continue reading about the Attractions and History of Yarnell, Arizona.

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If you or a loved one has been assaulted and are now seeing a Wickenburg child molestation attorney, do not hesitate to call our local law office. Our experienced team fights for victims rights and offer free consultations. Our phones are available 24/7.

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