Nestled by itself amidst millions of acres of wild government land in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Ajo Arizona still has the feel of the Old West. It’s not the violent Old West of Earp and Holliday and Geronimo, but the more civilized West of early 20th century copper production, good worker relations, friendly Indians, an open border, and community cooperation.
Beginning in 1916, Ajo became a professionally-designed company town and a virtual self-sustaining colony. Along with the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, it received an overlay of corporate paternalism that lasted for over 60 years until the mine closed, and is evidenced by a sweet and non-competitive feel even today. Specifically planned to nurture worker happiness and productivity, Ajo was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 and is possibly the best unspoiled example of a benevolent company town left in the United States. We benefit daily from that noble tradition.
Life in Ajo is relaxed and varied: a person could rope steers in the arena on Sunday and practice yoga the next day at the Curley School Auditorium. Nature is never far away because the town is an oasis for migrating and resident birds, and nocturnal bats, javelinas and coyotes—who serenade us nightly. Add to these the photogenic architecture, the sense of history, and the opportunities for friendship afforded by the various clubs and organizations, and you have Ajo today, a unique and fascinating place to live.