Douglas, named after mining pioneer James Douglas, is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Douglas
has a border crossing with Mexico and a history of mining.
population was 14,312 at the 2000 census. According to 2008 Census
Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,316.
The city of Douglas was established in 1901 when the Phelps Dodge
Company decided to locate a copper smelter on the banks of Whitewater
Draw in southern Cochise County. With its close proximity to the border,
relative lack of law enforcement, and the politically unstable
conditions in Mexico, Douglas quickly gained a reputation as a wide
open, "anything goes" town. The problem was brought under control
through better municipal organization coupled with the efforts of
Captain Tom Rynning and his Arizona Rangers. In 1902, Captain Rynning
moved the headquarters of the Arizona Rangers to Douglas because the
majority of the problems being encountered by his 30 man Ranger force
were in this area. He later stated, "I've been in many a tough town in
my day from Deadwood to Tombstone, but I've never met up with a harder
formation than Douglas was when we made it the Arizona Rangers home
corral there in 1902."
In 1915/1916, Douglas was the scene of bloody fighting involving the
American and Mexican armies and Francisco "Pancho" Villa.
Douglas still maintains a reputation as an
"anything goes" town where the illicit trafficking of illegal aliens and
narcotics is concerned. On May 28, 1924, Congress passed the Labor
Appropriation Act of 1924, officially establishing the U.S. Border
Patrol for the purpose of securing the borders between inspection
stations. They mandated that Douglas be one of the initial locations for
posting the new personnel who were then called Border Patrol Inspectors
rather than Agents. Prior to the establishment of the Patrol, Mounted
Inspectors performed the double duties of manning the Douglas Port of
Entry and "line riding" on horseback.
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