Douglas, on the Mexican border, is 118 miles southeast of Tucson, and is reached via Interstate 10 to U.S. 80. Across the border from Douglas is Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. The Janos Highway, the shortest route to Mexico City and Guadalajara by paved roads from the western United States, begins in Douglas. Douglas, at an elevation of 3,990 feet, was founded in 1901 as a site for a copper smelter and was incorporated in 1905. Originally, it was an annual round-up spot for ranchers. Agriculture and ranching are still important segments of the area's economy.
Because of its location on the U.S.-Mexico border, international commerce is an important part of the local economy. Douglas has three manufacturing plants; and Agua Prieta has 33, many of the latter operating under the twin-plant concept. Products include clothing, electronics, printing, auto parts, seatbelts, disposable garments, and plastic injection molding. All of Douglas is a designated Enterprise Zone. Contact the Arizona Department of Commerce for more information. It is estimated that 80 percent of personal income from Agua Prieta's twin plants is spent in Douglas. Serving shoppers from Agua Prieta and other parts of Mexico accounts for 47 percent of employment in Douglas. The lure of shopping and sight-seeing in “Old Mexico” and nearness to several outdoors recreation areas have made tourism and retirement significant to Douglas' economy. Brief visits to Agua Prieta, a city of about 100,000 residents, do not require visas or special documents.
In Douglas, the Southern Pacific Depot, Gadsden Hotel, Church Square, Library, Douglas Municipal Airport, Downtown Historical District and Sonoran District are nationally registered historic landmarks. Many points of interest are nearby, among them the historic John Slaughter Ranch, Agua Prieta, the frontier mining town of Tombstone, ghost towns of Charleston and Dos Cabezas, historic Old Fort Bowie, Fort Huachuca, Coronado National Memorial, Cochise Stronghold, Texas Canyon, San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, Chiricahua National Monument, Coronado National Forest, and Chiricahua Mountains for bird study and sports. Scenic drives include Bisbee and Cave Creek Canyon. Historic Arispe is a short drive into Sonora. Hunting and fishing areas, in both the U.S. and Mexico, are also nearby.