A Brief History of Chino Valley

Chino Valley’s history began with the declaration of Arizona as a United States Territory on Feb. 24 1863. The Post of Fort Whipple, the site of the first Territorial government, was set up near Del Rio Springs on December  23, 1863. In May 1864 it moved closer to Prescott. Within months settlers homesteaded the land and the long story of farming and ranching in Chino Valley began.  In 1909 the Atchison, Topeka &Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey organization continued the faming tradition when they purchased the farm to supply the Fred Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe RR with milk, eggs, meat and produce.

 The coming of the railroad signaled a new era for Chino Valley.  Jerome Junction was created to provide a transfer point between the narrow gauge coming over from Jerome, AZ and the Sante Fe railroad going from Prescott to the main line at Ash Fork. The center of activity now moved there.  It became a major railroad junction complete with stockyards, Wells Fargo office, Post Office, school and a hotel. In May 1920 the railroad line from Jerome was moved further north.

 Jerome Junction remained a stop on the Sante Fe but most of the activity of the area moved west along Highway 89.  Many of the buildings were moved there too.  From 1920’s through the late1940’s most families were engaged in farming, ranching. Dairy farms took on a new impetus from the mid 1950’s through 1965.  The increasing costs for electricity and water for irrigating soon made it unprofitable for farmers to farm their land.  While the farm dollar decreased, the land values increased and many made the choice of selling their land for new homes and businesses.

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