Now primarily a retirement community, Clarkdale was historically a mining town. This was where William A. Clark (one of the Copper Kings of Butte, Montana and a major investor in the United Verde Copper Mine in nearby Jerome) built the main smelter for the United Verde. Clarkdale was a planned community and was designed to be one of the most modern mining towns in the world. The town center was built in a Spanish Colonial style with the Clark Memorial Library and Clark Memorial Clubhouse as the centerpieces. The entire townsite is now on the National Register of Historic Places as the Clarkdale Historic District.
In 1935, the Phelps-Dodge Mining Corporation bought United Verde from the Clark family and ran the mine and the accompanying properties in a much different manner than the Clark's had. Things began to deteriorate.
Completely a company town, Clarkdale really fell on hard times when Phelps-Dodge shut the smelter down in 1950 and the copper mine in 1953. The property was bought and sold several times over the next few years with the management situation getting worse until the citizens incorporated the town in 1957. The construction of the Phoenix Cement plant in 1959 brought a little prosperity back to town and allowed Clarkdale to survive long enough to make the transition to being a retirement center. The Phoenix Cement plant was built to supply Portland cement for the construction of Glen Canyon Dam and is now owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Another feature of the modern local business-scape is the Verde Canyon Railroad, a heritage scenic railway that operates a passenger line between Drake, Perkinsville (a ghost town now) and Clarkdale. The Arizona Central Railroad operates on the same tracks and carries coal inbound to the Phoenix Cement plant, and cement and copper outbound to the junction with the BNSF line at Drake. The Verde Canyon line was originally built in 1912-1913 to service the copper mines at Jerome. Today, it is a beautiful, 38-mile run between 2 national forests (Prescott and Coconino) and beside one national wilderness area (Sycamore Canyon). In March of 2005, the Verde Canyon Railroad celebrated carrying its 1 millionth passenger since commencing passenger service in November, 1990.
Between 2000 and 2012 the population of Clarkdale rose more than 19%.
High School or Higher: 83.9%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 19.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 8.3%
Cost of Living Index for Clarkdale: 92.1
Median Household Income: $39,300
Median Home Value: $162,900
Median Resident Age: 50.1 Years
Construction, Lodging & Food Services, Health Care, Educational Services, Government, Waste Management Services, Arts & Entertainment, Finance & Insurance Services, Transportation Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 8.8%