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Graham County is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Arizona. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 37,220, making it the third-least populous county in Arizona. Graham County was created on March 10, 1881 from portions of Apache County and Pima County. The county seat is Safford. The county was named after Mount Graham, a mountain located in Arizona's Pinaleno Mountains.
Graham County composes the Safford, AZ Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The county is home to several organizations including Eastern Arizona College and the Mount Graham International Observatory, which includes one of the world's largest and most powerful telescopes. Graham County is also home to the Arizona Salsa Trail and the annual Salsa Fest.
Graham County contains part of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.
Graham is named after Mount Graham.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
This area was used by the Indians from prehistoric times up to the present day. Indian burial grounds, village sites, and sacred sites abound in this area. This is a rich archeological area. In more current history, this area was the last safe haven of Geronimo, and the severe effort of the US Cavalry to imprison the Indian war leader and his band of fighters.
Another important point about this area is the resolution of the land by early pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about 1850. The Saints brought their faith, their irrigation, and their respect for the land and the people, and made this place their home. Within twenty years after the arrival of the first pioneers many other religions were also welcoming a growing population.
A third important part of the earlier history included another major group of Spanish settlers, from neighboring New Mexico. They made their homes a few miles north and east of Safford in what is today, Sanchez, and San Jose, Arizona. The area known as Sanchez was named after Lorenzo Sanchez who arrived in the valley sometime in 1879.
Graham County was recognized in 1881. The largest city, Safford, was incorporated in 1881. Safford is the namesake of Anson Pacely Killen Safford, an early Territorial Governor. The city dates back to 1873 and owes its establishment to Joshua Bailey and Edward D. Tuttle, who entered Arizona in 1862. Bailey picked the name for the town, establish its first store. Tuttle was a member of the Territorial Legislature and taught the first Safford School, an adobe structure which stood at the site of the present post office.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,641 square miles (12,020 km2), of which 4,623 square miles (11,970 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (0.4%) is water. The county has various mountain ranges including Mount Graham, which is the highest mountain in the Pinaleno Mountains.
Graham County's Pinale? and Galiuro mountain ranges offer myriad recreation opportunities. The county also contains most of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, which protects parts of the Gila River and Bonita Creek.
Bordering counties are as follows: