Kearny is named after General Stephen W. Kearny, leader

of the “Army of the West” which explored along the Gila River

in 1849-1850. He set up base camp near a site that would later

bear his name.

 

Kearny was a planned community built in 1958 to house

workers from the nearby Kennecott Copper Company open-pit

mine and reduction plant. It was incorporated in 1959.

This Pinal County community, located along the Gila River

almost equidistant from Phoenix and Tucson, is at an elevation of

2,070 feet. Kearny is about 78 miles southeast of Phoenix and

80 miles northeast of Tucson.

 

To reach Kearny from Phoenix, follow Interstate 10 east to

state Highway 60, continue east on 60 to U.S. 60, east to

Superior, turn south on state Highway 177. From Tucson, follow

U.S. 89 to Oracle Junction, turn northeast on state Highway 77

to Winkelman, turn northwest on state Highway 177.

 

Today, American Smelting and Refining Company operates the

large open-pit copper mine, reduction plant and smelter near

Kearny. The mine, and the company's smelter in Hayden, provide

much of the employment for residents in Kearny. Most other

employment in Kearny is in the commercial and services sector.

 

Ray Mine, one of Arizona's largest open-pit copper mining operations,

is 11 miles north of Kearny. A viewpoint is open during

daylight hours. Hills and desert vegetation of the Pinal County

area provide varied opportunities for the rockhound, photographer,

historian, bird watcher, and botanist, as well as javalina,

deer and quail hunting. Along portions of the Gila River, activities

include fishing, walking trails and picnic tables with barbecue grills.

A 10-acre lake adjacent to the river opened in 1995.

 

State Highway 77, which is the route to Globe, the largest

town in this mountainous mining region, and state Highway 177

provide dramatic mountain and canyon scenery. The Dripping

Spring Mountains and Tortilla Mountains have numerous recreation

areas with camping and picnicking facilities.

 

A few miles west of nearby Superior is the Thompson

Southwest Arboretum, a 120-acre tract on the edge of Picketpost

Mountain. The arboretum is world famous for its great variety of

rare and beautiful flowers and plants, with special attention to

Southwestern flora.

 

Upstream from Kearny on the Gila River is Coolidge Dam, dedicated

by former President Calvin Coolidge in 1930. The dam, backing

up San Carlos Lake, is on the San Carlos Indian Reservation.

West of Kearny is Ashurst-Hayden Dam, which diverts irrigation

water stored behind Coolidge Dam to Pinal County farmland.