Black Canyon Community has been known by several names in the past, including Goddard, Canon, Black Canyon, and then Black Canyon City beginning in, 1966. It was a stage stop on the Phoenix to Prescott line and a Military stopover while traveling to Fort Whipple and Fort Verde during Territorial days. Below are pictures of Goddard remains and Thumb butte.
Black Canyon was a gateway to the upper plateaus and mountains. The Woolsey Trail in Black Canyon was named after King Woolsey, an early settler who is credited with bringing in the first wagon in the mid 1860’s. The best known trail was the Black Canyon wagon road and stage line. Beginning in the 1872’s, a stage stop on the Agua Fria River and Jack Swillings Ranch served the area. Stagecoach service between Phoenix and Prescott continued until 1917.
Jack Swilling was one of the more unusual characters in 19th century Arizona history: he was an Indian fighter, miner, rancher, farmer, developer, entrepreneur, and a hell-raiser. He came to Arizona from South Carolina during the Civil War (eventually working for both sides). During his trips as a courier, he encountered the abandoned canals and irrigation ditches left behind by the Hohokam along the Salt River, and eventually founded the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company–to re-open and use them to water the fertile soil in the area. In 1867, his company began to clear the ditches: this is, in effect, the founding of Phoenix. He eventually sold his interest, and began a mining career in the Bradshaws (in 1873/74). The ranch which he established in what is today Black Canyon City (BCC) had this home as his residence. Later, Swilling moved to Gillett (q.v.), but he kept the home until his death in 1878. Submitted by: Kurt Wenner Swillings Cabin Courtesy Kurt Wenner.
In the 1920’s, electricity was brought to Black Canyon City for the Kay Copper Mine, ( a tailing dump which can still be seen on a slope west of town.) Rock Springs Store (Rock Springs Cafe) supplied groceries and other goods to the mine and it’s many workers sometime in the 1920’s. The Kay Mine ceased operation in 1929.
By the 1960’s, land development and highway construction replaced most of the agricultural areas. Interstate 17 was completed during the 1960’s. BCC is the only town on I-17 with a business bypass. There are many destinations north on I-17, including Jerome, Prescott and Sedona. Flagstaff is only 100 miles north and is the end of I-17.