In June 1983, Yuma County residents voted to split their county into two sections. The northern section of Yuma County became La Paz County. It was the last county established in Arizona. The county covers 4,430 square miles.
A general election was held to determine the location of the county seat and name of the county. Parker was chosen as the county seat and the name “La Paz” was selected.
The name La Paz has an interesting history behind it. La Paz was an early Arizona pioneer town situated along the Colorado River. The town came into being when gold was discovered on January 12, 1862. This proved to be an important day for Mexicans and Mexican American Catholics. It was the Feast of Our Lady of Peace. Thus, the name “La Paz” meaning, “the peace” in Spanish. During the 1860’s, La Paz was a booming town.
As a matter of fact, it was named the county seat of territorial Yuma County and it also came close to being named the capital of territorial Arizona. Unfortunately, hard times hit the town after the gold played out and La Paz became a ghost town. It seemed fitting to honor the town that contributed to the success of the state.
The county runs along the Colorado River near the middle of Arizona. It is the third smallest county in Arizona and has the lowest population density. The rugged landscape and the Colorado River attract thousands of tourists each year.
La Paz County offers many attractions. The Parker Strip stretches 17 miles along the Colorado River. Recreational lovers spend their time water skiing, boating, jet skiing, swimming and fishing. Alamo Lake State Park is to the east of Parker. This lake is known to be one of the best fishing spots in the state. Buckskin Mountain Colorado River State Park covers 1,600 acres. It is situated between two bluffs along the Colorado River, about 10 miles north of Parker.
Visitors will find hiking, fishing, a marina, picnicking and camping. The Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southern corner of the county. The refuge consists of backwater lakes, ponds and marshland. Fishing, birding and canoeing are popular pastimes. Another refuge, just to the north of Imperial is Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge offers some of the same activities of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.
La Paz enjoys the Colorado River’s water fun and the charm of its desert communities.
Wenden is in Western Arizona . It is in La Paz County. The town is located in McMullen Valley between the Harquahala and Harcuvar Mountains on U.S. Highway 60. Wenden is the most eastern community in La Paz County. It is 45 miles west of Wickenburgand 40 miles south of Alamo Lake State Park.
Wenden is known for being the “Gateway to Alamo Lake.” It is the last stop before heading up to Alamo Lake State Park. The town sits at an elevation of 1,870 feet. The southwest desert climate has a winter low Temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 105 degrees. Visitors to Wenden enjoy the many services the town offers, such as gas, food, camping and fishing supplies.
Otis E. Young established Wenden in 1905. He named the community Wendendale, in remembrance of his new hometown in Pennsylvania. Later, postal authorities shortened its name to Wenden.
The town began as a supply depot and freighting point for the many mines in the area. In 1907, Wells Fargo built a station for shipping gold.
Today, agriculture and tourism are the main economic contributors to Wenden.
The Alamo Lake State Park is a must see during a visit to Wenden. Visitors will find boating, camping and fishing at the park. Many believe that Alamo Lake has some of the best fishing in the state. It is easy to get to the state park, just head north out of town on Alamo Road. You will continue along the road, until you reach the lake.
Salome is in Western Arizona . It is in La Paz County. The town is located in the McMullen Valley between the Harquahala and Harcuvar Mountains on U.S. Highway 60.
Salome is known for being the new hometown of Arizona s first humorist Dick Wick Hall. He put the town on the map. The town sits at an elevation of 1,880 feet. The southwest desert climate has a winter low Temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 105 degrees. Salome is rich with history, beautiful desert landscape views and fresh air.
Dick Wick Hall and his brother Ernest arrived in Salome in1905. Hall established the Laughin Gas Service Station and Garage, along the old Phoenix to Los Angeles highway. Signs were displayed revealing jibes like Tickle lizzies carburetor with our laughing gas and Smile, you dont have to stay here but we do.
The name Salome came from Mrs. Salome Pratt, who one day had her shoes off and then decided to cross a piece of ground. She soon discovered the desert floor was too hot to handle and she proceeded to dance across the desert. This image has been immortalized with the phrase Salome where she danced Arizona .
Hall was an entrepreneur and many in town called him the Sage of Salome. He was a humorist that enjoyed poking fun at the hot desert town, desert heat and desert roads. Through the production of his newspaper, the Salome Sun, Hall is credited to have made Salome one of the best-known small towns in the1900s. He also is noted for the towns annual growth of 100% per year, with 19 people in 19 years.
When you visit Salome, you will find several paintings of Mrs. Salome Pratt dancing, along with drawings of the Salome Frog. Halls seven-year-old pet frog, which was desert bred and had never learned to swim, became almost as well known as its owner. A clever poem was written describing the life of Salome Frog.
Although Hall passed away in 1926, his stories and characters have lived on. Visitors will clearly see upon entering town that his humor continues.
Many people come to Salome for the many RV parks, airpark and new business section.
The Alamo Lake State Park is a must see during a visit to Salome. Visitors will find boating, camping and fishing at the park. Many believe that Alamo Lake has some of the best fishing in the state. It is easy to get to the state park. You will head east out of town, until you come to Alamo Road. Here you will turn left and head north up to the lake.
Great Arizona Outback Chili Cookoff and Poker Run February
Best Dam Bike Tour November
Annual Fiddlers Jamboree and Flea Market
Dick Wick Hall Days Celebration October
Quartzsite is in Western Arizona . It is in La Paz County. The town is located in the Mohave Desert at the junction of Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 95, near the Colorado River.
the Kofa and Plomosa Mountains are on the town’s eastern and southern edge. Phoenix is 125 miles to the east, Parker 35 miles to the northwest, Yuma 80 miles to the south and Blythe/Colorado River is 20 miles to the west. Quartzsite is sometimes referred to as “A Rockhounder’s Paradise.” This town is a magnet to those interested in rocks, gems and minerals, along with those wanting to escape the winter’s cold. Today Quartzsite has a population of 2,000, but this number dramatically increases to nearly a million during the winter season. The town sits at an elevation of 880 feet. The southwest desert climate has a winter low Temperature of 35 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 110 degrees. The town is a winter haven for rockhounds and RV’ers. Visitors appreciate the sunshine and quiet living Quartzsite affords. Community Features:
Quartzsite offers several attractions. The Tyson’s Well Stage Stop Museum is housed in the original adobe building constructed in 1856. The adobe stage station was built by Charles Tyson and was the catalyst in the establishment of Quartzsite. The museum has numerous pieces of mining equipment on display, along with interesting photographs and information about the town’s colorful history. Visitors should check ahead for days and hours of the museum. The pyramid-shaped Hi Jolly Monument symbolizes a unique piece of Arizona history. Hadji Ali was an Arab camel driver, who took part in an experiment. In the 1850′s, the U.S. War Department decided to conduct an experiment using camels as beasts of burden in the Arizona desert.
The experiment failed but the memory of Hadji, known by many as “Hi Jolly,” still remains. The monument is located on the west side of town. The Bouse Fisherman Intaglio or geoglyph can be found along Plomosa Road near Bouse. The geoglyph is a large figure created by Indians long ago. It is believed that individuals removed the dark desert pavement stones and dug into the lighter colored soil to make the geoglyph. The figure is an enormous human shape with outstretched arms. The story that revolves around the human shape says that the God, Kumastamo shoved a spear into the ground to make the Colorado River flow. An interpretive sign and plaque mark the intaglio. Visitors are asked to take care when visiting the site. You can get to the intaglio by taking State Highway 95 north out of town, until you get to the turn off for Plomosa Road. Take Plomosa Road northeast for about 5 miles, you will need to be on the lookout for a parking lot on the north side of road. Then follow the trail to the site.
There are numerous outdoor activities near Quartzsite. The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is the new home of bighorn sheep. The Kofa Mountains hold a tight gorge, called Palm Canyon. This canyon has Arizona ‘s only stand of native palms. The hike to the palms is steep, but well worth it. The Imperial National Wildlife Refuge stretches 31 miles along the Colorado River. It is great for fishing, bird watching, canoeing and boating, but please check where these activities are permitted.
Hobby Craft and Gem Show January
Annual Pow Wow
Festival in the Desert February
The town of Picture Rock was one of the first in the area. It was located just south of where Quartzsite is today. Unfortunately, the town was flooded.
In 1856, Charles Tyson constructed an adobe building and named it Fort Tyson. The fort was needed to protect the settlers from attacking Indians.
Later, it was called Tyson Well Station. The stage stop was a way station, along the California/Arizonaline. It was the perfect spot to water and graze horses in route. Miners and freighters also used the station, after leaving the Colorado River port town of Ehrenburg. The Tyson Well Station post office was in operation from 1893 to 1895.
Then town’s population dropped. The railroad reached Yuma and cross state travel diminished. But that didn’t shut down the town completely. The Ingersoll Mill began stamp-milling gold from white quartz found nearby and the town began again.
In 1896, not far from Tyson Well, the town wanted to reestablish a post office. Due to postal regulations prohibiting the reusing of a name, the name Quartzsite was chosen. The name was created from the word “quartz” found in the area. However, the “s” in the word “Quartzsite” was added due to a spelling error.
Quartzsite was incorporated in 1989. Tourism is the major economic factor in town. There are over 70 different mobile new home and trailer parks in and around the area. These parks fill to capacity during the fall and winter months. People are drawn to town because of the numerous gem, mineral and swap meet shows spread out from October through March. It is estimeated that nearly a million visitors flock to Quartzsite each year.
Alamo Lake State Park is a part of a 4,900-acre park, which sits at an elevation of 1.100 feet. It is located on the Bill Williams River about 30 miles before it empties into the Colorado River. “Alamo” means cottonwood in Spanish and the lake definitely lives up to its name. There are cottonwoods even lurking under the waters of the lake. The Rawhide and Buckskin Mountains make a great backdrop to the lake. Alamo Lake is a transition area between the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts.
The lake waters cover the site of Alamo Crossing, which was a mining camp long ago. The camp had a supply store and a post office for prospectors. The post office eventually closed in 1918. The Army Corps of Engineers built Alamo Lake in 1968 as flood control and conservation dam. The dam rises 283 feet above the streambed and backs up a reservoir of water.
Visitors will want to stop in at the Visitor Center, before deciding on the many outdoor activities the lake has to offer. There is outstanding fishing, hiking, wildlife watching and camping. Swimming is not recommended, due to brush and trees making it hazardous. The Visitor Center also has information of wildlife and the geology of the area.
Even though the lake levels vary, fishing is ideal. The lake has large-mouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The marina store is well stocked for fishermen and boat rentals are available. There is also a boat-launching ramp. Many anglers say that this is one of the best fishing lakes in Arizona.
Those who come to view the wildlife won’t be disappointed. Quail, deer, coyote, burros, squirrels and bald eagles are just some of the animals that make Alamo Lake their home. Large flocks of birds visit the lake because it is the only permanent water for miles around. The bald eagles have a nesting site at the upper part of the lake. Nature lovers will appreciate the area’s representation of unique features of the Sonoran Desert.
Camping is available all year round. There are 250 campsites, which range from underdeveloped tent sites to full RV hook-ups. Campers will find restrooms with flush toilets, a dump station and hot showers. There are picnic shelters that make the camping experience fun. The cost for a nightly campsite ranges between $8.00 and $10.00 and RV hook-up sites are $15.00. No reservations are taken; all campsites are available on a first come first serve basis.
The Visitor Center has varying hours, so please call ahead to find out. The cost of admission to the park is $4.00 per vehicle and $1.00 per individual or bicycle. Visitors can also purchase three other forms of entrance passes for Arizona State Parks. Prices depend on length of stay. The 5-day visit pass is $15.00, the Limited Day-Use pass is $35.00 and the Unlimited Day-Use pass is $65.00. These passes do not include camping fees. For more information and prices for camping call 520-669-2088.
Those traveling from Salome will take U.S. Highway 60 northeast for a few miles. When you come to the turn off for Alamo Road turn left heading north. Continue along the road, until you reach the lake. You can get to Alamo Lake State Park from Wickenburg by taking State Highway 60 west out of town to the turn off for the lake. The road out to Alamo Lake is 38 miles paved. If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson take Interstate 17 north out of town. Once you have come to State Highway 74, just outside of Phoenix take it west. When State Highway 74 runs into State Highway 60, take it north to Wickenburg. You will continue through town following State Highway 60 on out heading west. Continue on State Highway 60 out to the turn off for the lake at the town of Wenden. If you are coming from Flagstaff and would like to take a scenic route to Wickenburg, you will take Highway 89A south out of town. You will pass through Sedona, Cottonwood and into Prescott. Once in Prescott take Highway 89 southwest out of town passing through Peeples Valley. When Highway 89 meets State Highway 93 take it south to Wickenburg. Once you are in Wickenburg, you will take State Highway 60 west out of town. You will continue on State Highway 60 out to the turn off for the lake.
Bouse is in Western Arizona . It is in La Paz County. The town is located about halfway between Parker and Interstate 10 on State Highway 72. Parker is just 22 miles northwest of Bouse.
Bouse is a poplar retirement and visitor stop because of its mild winters. It is a place filled with natural beauty and history. The town sits at an elevation of 700 feet. The southwest desert climate has a winter low Temperature of 39 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 106 degrees. Clean air, outstanding weather, gorgeous desert views make Bouse appealing to both young growing families and those wanting to retiree.
In 1906, the town of Bouse was settled. The town was originally named Brayton. The name was chosen to honor John Brayton Martin, who was in charge of the Brayton Commercial Company for the Harquahala Mine.
There are two stories as to how the name was changed to Bouse. One story says that when the postal application was filed in 1907, the applicants name Thomas Bouse was used instead of Brayton. Another story says, that the old timers in town wanted the name to be changed to honor the old timer Tom Bouse, who was a trader and storekeeper in town during the early days.
Today Bouse is an incorporated town. Agriculture is a major economic source. The abundance of groundwater and large sections of undeveloped land make Bouse a perfect place to farm. Tourism is becoming another source of income for the town. Visitors come to see the spectacular desert views, visit the numerous attractions located nearby and enjoy the mild winters.
There are several attractions that you wont want to miss. Swansea was once a copper mining town. At one time, it had close to 1,000 people living in town. When the mine closed in 1924, it became a ghost town. Visitors can head northeast out of Bouse on a dirt road for approximately 30 miles to see the towns remains. The Black Mountain Museum is located just one mile south of Bouse, on State Highway 72. The museum is a combination museum/ghost town/trading post. It is an eclectic spot filled with old stuff ranging from vintage automobiles to Indian artifacts. It is one stop that will keep your eyes roaming for more.
Visitors should check hours and days, before heading out to the museum. Camp Bouse Ninth Tank Group Memorial can be seen in Bouse, along State Highway 72, across from the A and C Mercantile Company. The memorial honors those who attended the secret Army base, during World War II in Butler Valley about 20 miles east of Bouse. The Army trained men to use a new home tank designed for night warfare. The Bouse Fisherman Intaglio or geoglyph can be found along Plomosa Road near Bouse. The geoglyph is a large figure created by Indians long ago. It is believed that individuals removed the dark desert pavement stones and dug into the lighter colored soil to create the figure. The figure is an enormous human shape with outstretched arms. The story that revolves around the human shape says that the God, Kumastamo shoved a spear into the ground to make the Colorado River flow. An interpretive sign and plaque mark the intaglio. Visitors are asked to take care when visiting the site.
Founders Day November
Bouse Booster Christmas Bazaar December
Brenda is in Western Arizona. It is in La Paz County. The town is located on U.S. Highway 60, near where it connects to Interstate 10. Quartzsite is approximately 20 miles west of town.
Brenda is a great place to stop and rest before heading onto Interstate 10 or continuing on U.S. Highway 60. The town sits at an elevation of 1,353 feet. The southwest desert climate has a winter low temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high temperature of 105 degrees. The community offers beautiful scenery and many local legends.
If you look back in history, you will learn of a dispute over the town’s name.
John Ramsey discovered the Ramsey Mine in 1921. The mine is located about 10 miles south of where the town of Brenda is today.
Then in the 1930’s, Grover and Anna Spitznagel became homesteaders in the area. They built the Black Rock building. Those traveling through will find that the building is now a restaurant. The Spitznagel’s had twins, named Bruce and Brenda. Brenda was chosen for the name of the town.
Some say that half of the town was named Ramsey and the other half was named Brenda. Others say the town was named Ramsey. Or could it be that when Brenda got to be more popular than the mining town, the name Brenda stuck or was the town always named Brenda? It is hard to say which story is true, however today the name is Brenda.
From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, Brenda was a popular stopping place. It is believed that the Ramsey section of town had an unusual attraction for travelers. A petting zoo was on site, but little else is known about the zoo.
After the 1960’s, the town diminished in size. The Ramsey mine officially closed and Interstate 10 opened causing tourists to bypass town.
Recently, Brenda has become a growing community for RV’ers and for drivers along U.S. Highway 60.