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.