The town of Douglas, Arizona was founded in 1905 as a copper smelting center. It sits directly on the border, across from Agua Prieta Sonora Mexico. For decades the two towns functioned as one.
As with most towns and cities in Southern Arizona it has a history of Native American, Mexican and European cultures.
The town very early on had an airport that attracted cross country flights, including Amelia Earhart who stopped by during a 1929 Women’s Air Derby.
It was known as the world’s first international airport since the runway crossed the border – not anymore.
The town has many historic buildings, including the former El Paso and Southwestern Railroad depot at the north end of town. It now serves as the police headquarters.
Completed in 1913 it is said to have an impressive interior, but sadly we were unable to see inside.
The Avenue Hotel consists of two buildings. The left one is made of adobe and dates from 1901. The one on the right is a 1915 brick building.
It is now a B & B.
The 1919 Grand Theater was the center of cultural events for Douglas. While it closed as a theater decades ago, it is in the process of being restored, albeit slowly. This is understandable given the significant cost for such a small town.
The Brophy Building was completed during the boom years in 1907. It was designed by famed El Paso architect Henry Trost.
It too is waiting for someone with the love, and money, to restore to it’s former glory.
This small building has had a varied history. Another Henry Trost building, it was completed in 1913 as the Airdome Theater.
It closed as a theater and became a Chevrolet dealership in the 1920s. The depression took out the dealership and it became a supermarket.
In the 1940s it became a USO canteen serving the thousands of soldiers from a nearby Army Air Corp training center. Later it became a real estate and insurance office. Today is still serves as a financial advisor’s office, and a copy center. They should call it the cat building as it seems to have had 9 lives.
Our final stop in Douglas is the Gadsden Hotel, which is featured in the next posting by itself.
Douglas is a pleasant little city with some interesting history.