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Colorado City, Arizona

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Colorado City, Arizona httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

20°C, Wind W at 5 km/h, 18% Humidity

Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,821. At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.


Map of Colorado City, AZ 86021, USA

Colorado city arizona and hildale utah 2


Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913 by members of the Council of Friends, a breakaway group from the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Council of Friends membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next 50 years.

After the death of Joseph W. Musser, the community split into two groups: the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stayed in Short Creek, while the Apostolic United Brethren relocated to Bluffdale, Utah. The FLDS changed the name of the community to Colorado City (on the Arizona side of the border) and Hildale (on the Utah side) to eliminate any ties to the Short Creek raids.

In January 2004, the local FLDS fundamentalist leader, Warren Jeffs, expelled a group of 20 men, including the mayor, and gave their wives and children to other men. Jeffs, now a convicted sexual predator, stated he was acting on the orders of God, while the men expelled claimed they were penalized for disagreeing with Jeffs. Observers stated that this was the most severe split to date within the community other than the split between Colorado City and Centennial Park. According to the Utah attorney general's office, this was not the first time Jeffs was accused of expelling men from the community; as many as 400 young men are estimated to have been expelled by Jeffs from 2001–2006. Most were removed for failing to follow Jeffs' rules, or for dating women without his permission. Many of these expelled men and boys were very naïve and sheltered, often wound up homeless in nearby towns such as Hurricane, Utah and St. George, Utah. Jeffs was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list and eventually arrested on August 28, 2006.

Most of the property in the town was owned by the United Effort Plan, a real estate trust of the FLDS. In 2007 the state authorities began dismantling church ownership of Colorado City lands. The FLDS church retaliated and indoctrinated their followers against the state, believing they were being targeted because of their beliefs. The FLDS followers became further secluded as a result. Most of the remaining FLDS view their leader, Warren Jeffs, as a martyr.

On April 6, 2010, law enforcement officials in Mohave County, Arizona, and Washington County, Utah, served five search warrants seeking records from town officers. The warrants were served on government officials and departments, including the Town Manager, David Darger, as well as Colorado City's fire chief. As a result of the initial warrants, the Hildale-Colorado City Department of Public Safety was shut down, and emergency responders were prohibited from responding to calls without the approval of county officials. Firefighter Glen Jeffs indicated that the warrants referenced "misuse of funds."

In response to a civil rights lawsuit by the United States Justice Department alleging that the Colorado City government, including law enforcement, was taking orders from the FLDS Church, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced in July 2012 that he was allocating funding to allow the Mohave County Sheriff's Department to provide daily patrols in the town.

On March 20, 2014, a jury hearing the case of Cooke et al v. Colorado City, Town of et al ruled that the towns of Colorado City and Hildale had discriminated against Ronald and Jinjer Cooke because they were not members of the FLDS Church. The Cookes were awarded $5.2 million for "religious discrimination". The Cooke family moved to the Short Creek area in 2008 but were refused access to utilities by the towns of Colorado City and Hildale. As a result of the ruling, Arizona's Attorney General Tom Horne issued a press release stating that he "wants to eradicate discrimination in two polygamous towns" and believes that the court ruling will give him the tools to do it.

Geography and climate

Colorado City is located at 36°59′22″N 112°58′41″W (36.989580, -112.978044).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27 km2), of which 10.5 square miles (27 km2) is land and 0.100% is water.

Colorado City has the typical cool semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) of the interior Mountain West, with very warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters, typified by very large diurnal temperature ranges throughout most of the year. The hottest day on record has been July 5, 1985 with 108 °F (42 °C). Rainfall is lowest from April to June, but is never particularly high on average, though during strong extratropical low pressure systems, as much as 5 inches (130 mm) may occasionally fall during a month. The wettest year has been 1998 with 26.36 inches (669.5 mm), though only 2005 has otherwise received over 20 inches (508 mm), whilst the driest year since 1963 has been 2009 with 6.45 inches (163.8 mm). Snowfall is relatively light; the most in a month was in January 1982 with 29.0 inches (0.74 m) and that winter had the most for a year with 46.50 inches (1.181 m). The highest daily snow depth was however on February 2, 1979 with 13 inches (0.33 m).


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,334 people, 444 households, and 417 families residing in the town. The population density was 317.3 people per square mile (122.5/km²). There were 457 housing units at an average density of 43.5 per square mile (16.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.85% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 0.09% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 1.77% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.91% of the population.

Of the 444 households, 83.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 85.8% were married couples living together, 3.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.9% were non-families. 4.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 7.51 and the average family size was 7.58. Colorado City had the fourth-highest household size in the nation, based on the 2012 5-Year American Community Survey count of an average household size of 8.04 people by zip code tabulation area.

In the town, the population was spread out with 60.4% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 20.2% from 25 to 44, 6.3% from 45 to 64, and 1.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 14 years. For every 100 females there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,826, and the median income for a family was $32,344. Males had a median income of $24,429 versus $22,969 for females. The per capita income for the town was $5,293. About 29.0% of families and 31.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.5% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

The Colorado City/Hildale, Utah area has the world's highest incidence of fumarase deficiency, an extremely rare genetic condition which causes severe Intellectual disability. Geneticists attribute this to the prevalence of cousin marriage between descendants of two of the town's founders, Joseph Smith Jessop and John Y. Barlow; at least half the double community's roughly 8,000 inhabitants are descended from one or both.

Government and infrastructure

The United States Postal Service operates the Colorado City, AZ/Hildale, UT Post Office in Colorado City.


Colorado City is a part of the Colorado City Unified School District. There is only one school, the El Capitan School (formerly the Colorado City K–12 Public School), in Colorado City. Many FLDS-affiliated board members resigned due to the political takeover of the district.

The Arizona state government attempted to take over the district in 2005 due to mismanagement.

In addition to the district public school, there is a charter school, Masada Charter School, serving students in grades K-9. The charter school is outside of the Colorado City town limits in the community of Centennial Park.

The Mohave Community College North Mohave Campus is in Colorado City.

Notable people

  • Carolyn Jessop - author, social activist
  • Flora Jessop - author, social activist
  • Twin city

    Colorado City forms twin cities with adjoining Hildale, Utah, just over the Arizona–Utah border.


    Colorado City, Arizona Wikipedia

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