Sonoita & Elgin
The settlements of Sonoita and Elgin were founded when the Santa Fe Railroad built an 88-mile-long line that ran the full length of Sonoita Creek, from Benson to Nogales, in 1882. Walking the elevated berm upon which the Railroad Trail is built is one of the many attractions of the area.
The Sonoita area’s 4,970 foot elevation, high rolling grasslands, surrounded by spectacular mountains and canyons, provide some of Arizona’s most beautiful weather and landscapes. Mount Wrightson, one of the tallest peaks in Arizona, dominates the horizon.
Filmmakers have chosen the charming old west atmosphere and beauty of the Sonoita area for several films including, “Oklahoma,” “Red River,” and more recently, “Tin Cup,” “The Young Guns,” “The Fantastiks,” “Broken Lance,” “Tom Horn” and television series such as, “The Young Riders” and “Gunsmoke.”
Sonoita, Arizona’s Wine Country, is home to several wineries that offer some of the best wines found outside of France. These vineyards represent a rapidly growing industry, which began some four decades in the Sonoita Valley. Each vineyard produces unique vintages which reflect the personalities and attitudes of their owners, from colorful picnic-style wine to serious award winning varietals.
Come visit Sierra Vista for it is here where you can lose yourself in the splendor of the magnificent Huachuca canyons; where you can watch Nature’s most wondrous creations, the tiny hummingbirds as they sip nectar from flowers; and where you can visit a historic military post with its roots deeply embedded into the decades of Indian wars.
It is here where you will find an attachment to the Old West with Fort Huachuca’s historic museum detailing the contribution of the Buffalo Soldiers and the era of the Apache Wars; where western songs and verse are performed at the Arizona Folklore Preserve by Arizona’s State Balladeer; where events are devoted to the preservation of the cowboy way of life and the heritage of the West; and where sunset trail rides lead into the mountains.
It is here also where evidence of prehistoric man has been preserved at the archaeological sites; where petroglyphs and pictographs depict the life of earlier man; where the Spanish explorer Coronado first entered the US; and where ghost town ruins reflect the futile hope of settlers to tame the arid land.
Today, Sierra Vista is a small city with big city amenities and a small town attitude. You will find affordable and charming lodging in one of our 1,100 hotel, motel and bed and breakfast rooms and a variety of ethnic and cultural choices for dining. A local 18-hole golf course lies in the shadows of the majestic mountains and the Aquatic Center provides hours of fun for the family in the wave pool and tube slide. Our night skies are an astral delight with bright stars seen from horizon to horizon, and for a closer look, our observatories will accommodate you.
In March 1877, Captain Samuel M. Whiteside and two companies of the 6th United States Cavalry established a camp at the mouth of Huachuca Canyon.
This isolated camp had two missions: protect settlers in the area and stop Apache raiding parties from escaping into Mexico.
In 1882, the camp became a permanent station and was designated a “Fort.”
Soldiers constructed buildings of wood, stone and adobe. By 1886, Fort Huachuca became the advance headquarters for General Nelson A. Miles’ campaign against Geronimo. Following Geronimo’s surrender in August 1886, the threat of Apache depredations in the area subsided, and many of the frontier posts were closed. Yet, Fort Huachuca remained active because of its strategic location near the Mexican border and its low incidence of sickness. In the decades that followed, troops at Fort Huachuca were used in operations against other renegade Indians, Mexican bandits and American outlaws.
The all black 24th Infantry was the first entire regiment stationed at the Fort.
The all black 10th Cavalry “Buffalo Soldiers” arrived in 1913, served in Pershing’s punitive expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916, and helped guard the U.S.-Mexican border until 1931. (Pershing had been a junior officer with the 10th in the Philippines. His respect for these dedicated, if segregated, soldiers earned him the name “Black Jack.”)
During World War II, the post population swelled to over 30,000 as two black Infantry Divisions, the 92nd and 93rd, trained here. With the departure of these units to the war zone, little activity remained, and at the end of the war the Post was declared surplus.
Shortly after the onset of the Korean War, Fort Huachuca was designated a training site for Engineer troops in the construction of military airfields. Libby Army Airfield resulted. At the end of the Korean War the Post once again fell into limbo.
In 1954, the Chief Signal Officer, United States Army, discovered southeastern Arizona ideal in area and climate for the testing of electronic and communications equipment. As a result, the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (EPG) reopened Fort Huachuca as an active Army Post. From that time on, the Post has steadily increased in importance as a vital contributor to the national defense.
Fort Huachuca was annexed by the City of Sierra Vista in 1972, and these two entities currently enjoy one of the most cordial relationships in the United States.