The historic Town of Clarkdale is located on the banks of the Verde River in the north central part of Arizona. It is a thriving community and is the gateway to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in the beautiful Verde Valley. Founded in 1912, Clarkdale is renowned as the first master-planned community in the State of Arizona.
Originally a “company town,” Clarkdale was founded by the United Verde Copper Company to provide housing and services for the employees of their copper smelter. The extensive smelter complex was located near the Verde River and processed copper ore that was brought down from the mines in Jerome from 1913-1953. Unlike other company towns of the period that grew haphazardly, Clarkdale was designed and built from a unified master plan. The main town site was located on a ridge overlooking the industrial smelter complex and was developed with residential homes, including upper and lower-income housing, a commercial area, an administrative center, schools, recreational and cultural facilities, and parks. They intended to include all the parts typically found in a small town within a comprehensive planned design. Today, the original town site of Clarkdale is recognized as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Clarkdale remains a model of good urban planning today. The estimated population in 2005 was 3,680. The original rail line that served the smelter is now host to a scenic excursion train, the Verde Canyon Railroad
, which allows travelers a four-hour round trip to view the protected ecosystem of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area and Verde River firsthand.