Benson (Zip Code 85602)
Elevation – 3,583 ft.
Population – 5,105
40 miles southeast of Tucson and 115 miles southeast of Phoenix.
Benson is located in the scenic and historic San Pedro Valley approximately 40 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona and 25 miles from the famous frontier town of Tombstone.
Located in the Arizona high desert region, the moderate climate of Benson has resulted in a growing popularity of this area as a retirement community and a destination for tourists and winter visitors. It’s close proximity to Tucson has made it an ideal area to live in and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, yet easily commute to Tucson for employment.
With favorable weather conditions year around, residents and visitors enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, birding, and stargazing to name a few. Benson is also the home of Kartchner Caverns State Park. Kartchner Caverns is a world class living cavern with spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations which have been growing for thousands of years and are still continuing to grow. It is a treat to tour this unique and special cave.
There are a wide variety of real estate offerings in this area, such as horse ranches, improved vacant land perfect for building the home of your dreams, manufactured homes, quaint historic homes for in-town living, custom built homes and contemporary homes in established subdivisions. The choice is yours!
History of Benson
Founded in 1880, Benson is located in the beautiful San Pedro River Valley. The town thrived for several reasons, when the Southern Pacific Railroad opened a rail line, it became a railroad town, shipping goods to Tombstone and Bisbee to the south. The town’s growth continued due to its location. It was located on the historic Butterfield Overland Mail route, which was a stagecoach route responsible for transporting mail between east and west coasts of the United States.
The San Pedro River Valley’s history may be best known as the home of the Apache chief Cochise and the Apache leader Geronimo. For generations, the San Pedro River Valley was the home of the Apaches. In an effort to resist white colonization, the Apache uprising began in 1861 and didn’t end until 1886. Cochise, chief of the Apache, along with 200 followers eluded capture for more than 10 years by hiding out in the Dragoon Mountains near Benson and St. David. Cochise surrendered in 1871 then escaped resisting the transfer of his people to the Tularosa Reservation in New Mexico. He surrendered again when the Chiricahua Reservation was finally established in southeast Arizona and died in 1874. Today, the southeastern most county of Arizona, including Benson and St. David, bears his name. Geronimo, Bedonkohe Apache leader of the Chiricahua Apache, led his people’s defense of their homeland against the U.S. military after Cochise died. Battles continued until 1886 when Geronimo surrendered. He died in 1909 in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
Benson is a growing community known for having friendly residents and offering an easy going lifestyle. It has seen an 8.4% increase in population from 2000 to 2010. As an incorporated municipality, Benson has a Mayor and City Council Members. Benson has a 22 bed hospital with 24 hour emergency service and an 8,175 ft. public library. Benson’s Municipal Airport (E-95) was named “2000 Airport of the Year” by the Arizona Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division. The airport became operational in 1999 and is a full service general aviation airport. The airport is located three miles northwest of the City.
Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Benson Unified School District, Benson Hospital, Safeway and Wal-Mart are the major employers. The St. David Unified School District and Apache Nitrogen Products, located in St. David are also major employers in this area. St. David is located 7 miles from Benson. Many of the residents commute to Tucson or Sierra Vista for employment, both are within an easy driving distance from Benson.
Benson Unified School District serves approximately 1,000 students, primary through high school. Both elementary and the high school have achieved an above average level of performance by the Arizona Department of Education.
Cochise College-Benson Center opened in 2000 and has two computer labs, a virtual library, classrooms that together can accommodate up to 200, and a science lab/art room. The center serves students with traditional college courses, adult education, and personal interest classes.
The University of Arizona, Pima Community College and other higher education centers are located in Tucson.
Benson offers ideal weather! There is an 85% annual chance of sunshine. July’s high averages 95.4F and January’s low averages 28.7F. The average annual precipitation is 14.21 inches, most occurring during the monsoon season which begins early July and can last until late September.
I know this area extremely well. It would be my pleasure to introduce you to it and to answer any questions you may have about this special region.
Live your life – love your lifestyle – Arizona!
Resources: City of Benson, Cochise College, State of Arizona, Visit Cochise County