Welcome to historic Willcox,
Arizona. Although not a ghost town we are adding it to our site due to
it's history and importance in the development of Cochise County.
Above is shown a restored
1880 Southern Pacific Depot which is not the City Hall. Of the depots
built in Arizona by the Southern Pacific Railroad during the initial
construction phase of the southern transcontinental railroad, only the
Willcox depot remains.
The original two-story
portion of the depot was built during the winter of 1880-1881 in the
"stick" Victorian architectural style. The building's most
distinguishing architectural features are the ornamental brackets under the
roofs extended eaves. As you walk around the building, note how the
eave brackets were not fully replicated in the freight warehouse added
in 1895 or the one story waiting room added about 1915 on the east
end. The Station Master and his family lived in the second story
The depot was built of
redwood with exterior sheathing of six-inch shiplap brought in by
rail. Windows are six panes over six, with much of the original glass
intact. The bay window on the track side was added around 1910.
In its heyday, the Willcox
Depot served not only the Southern Pacific mainline but also the Arizona
Eastern Railroad that ran from the present ghost town of Pearce through
Willcox to Globe. Willcox was also the terminus of the Mascot and
Western Railroad, a short line, serving the mines of Dos Cabezas. A
Wells Fargo office was added in 1885.
Willcox is has several old
buildings in the historic area of the town including The Willcox
Commercial. The Commercial is the oldest store in it's original
location in Arizona. The Commercial was established in 1880. The
actual building was built in the early 1880's. Important to the
Southern Pacific railroad in the early days with sending freight to Ft.
Grant, Ft. Bowie, and Globe. The Commercial is listed in the National
Register of Historic Places.
Among the many people it has
served are Geronimo (in the early days of the commercial), Rex Allen and
Tanya Tucker. One interesting story about Geronimo is that he had a
sweet tooth. He would buy sugar here but only in 1 lb. bags. He
knew what 1 lb. would feel like an he didn't trust the white clerks with any
other size containers. Still in business today the Commercial offers
everything that you need in western style clothing.
The Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy
Museum in located on Railroad Avenue. Rex Allen was born in Willcox in
1920 and raised here to young manhood. Stardom beckoned, and although
Rex found fame in music, movies and television, he never forgot his roots;
and the town never forgot him. Since 1951, Willcox has had an annual
Rex Allen Days celebration, with parades, rodeos, stage shows
During Rex Allen Days in 1989
Willcox opened the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum. The museum
is divided into tow parts. The first section illustrates the life
history of Rex Allen, starting with homesteading and ranch life in Willcox.
It follows him through radio days at WLS in Chicago; his wife and children,
movies, television and public appearances. Rex starred in 19 movies
for Republic Pictures between 1950 and 1954, and is considered the last of
the Silver Screen Cowboys.
The second half of the museum
contains the Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame which pays tribute to
respected individuals in the area's cattle industry. The Museum is
located in one of Willcox's oldest commercial buildings constructed in the
early 1890's of adobe, it was purchased in 1897 by Josef Schwertner and
operated as the Schley Saloon from 1897-1919. The facade of the
building has been restored to its original appearance.
In the park in front of the
Museum, there is a larger than life BRONZE of Rex. The Willcox-Rex Theater
next door was constructed in 1935, of art deco design. It was the
location of early Rex Allen Days' stage shows and was the location of Rex
Allen Jr.'s singing debut. The building has been restored and is now a
commercial movie theatre.
Rex Allen 1920-1999
Rex passed away n December 17, 1999 and at his request his ashes were
scattered in Railroad Avenue Park across from the Museum around the bronze
statue and the grave of his beloved horse KoKo.