Benson was founded with the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880 and named after Judge William S. Benson. The demand for silver and gold led to early economic growth before agriculture, tourism and infrastructure, including a highway underpass, led to the development of modern Benson.
The city is served by I-10, Amtrak and Benson Area Transit. Benson Municipal Airport is located five miles from the city’s center. Benson is only 30 miles south of Tucson, a metropolitan area of 800,000 that is home to the University of Arizona. Sierra Vista, AZ, which features Fort Huachuca, provides additional retail and services with a population base of around 45,000. Fort Huachuca is one of the oldest Army forts in the country.
Major business includes Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Apache Nitrogen Products and Benson School District, which serves 1,300 students across several campuses. The World University and Cochise College provide additional educational opportunities for Cochise County, AZ students.
Benson Hospital has served patients in the San Pedro Valley since 1970 offering quality healthcare, medical innovation and the latest technologies. Canyon Vista Medical Center and Northern Cochise Community Hospital also provide healthcare.
Benson and the surrounding region feature a vast array of interesting attractions and destinations. The Benson Historic Walking Tour provides a glimpse of the town’s unique architecture, while Cochise’s Stronghold is located in the Coronado National Forest. Kartchner Caverns State Park offers camping, hiking and bird watching. San Pedro Valley Arts and Historical Society Museum displays exhibits of local culture.
Tombstone, Arizona, also in Cochise County, is a historic western city and popular tourist stop with approximately 450,000 visitors each year. East Allen Street is the center of Tombstone’s tourism, which includes the O.K. Corral, Bird Cage Theatre and Boot Hill Cemetery among others. Wilcox, Ariz., is the center of the local wine country hosting wine festivals which are among the best in the nation. Wilcox also features Rex Allen Days, one of the most popular rodeos in the state.
Benson and Cochise County are situated above the Sonoran Desert with most residential areas ranging in elevation between 4,000 and 5,000 feet. In Benson, the average high temperature is 79 degrees with an annual low averaging 39 degrees. Rainfall totals 13 inches yearly.