History, scenic views, and a variety of activities make Willcox a fun summer getaway!
Originally called Maley, this town was renamed in honor of Gen. Orlando B. Willcox, who at one time presided over the U.S. Army’s Department of Arizona.
These days, Arizonans are far more likely to relate the town to its favorite son — the late Rex Allen, who made a number of movies as a singing cowboy in the 1950s. His legacy lives on at the Rex Allen Museum and Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame. Visitors to the museum can see memorabilia that tracks his career through its many stages, including radio, TV and film. Joined on screen by actors including Buddy Ebsen and Slim Pickens, Allen was popular for his clean-cut, all-American image, as well as his melodious voice. He lent his vocal chops to a number of projects, including the animated Charlotte’s Web, and Disney’s theme park attraction Carousel of Progress.
Film fans who want something more contemporary can visit Willcox Theater & Arts, located in a 1937 art deco building, which screens first-run flicks as well as classics.
If watching the latest installment of the Fast & Furious isn’t enough of a thrill, you can rev it up at Inde Motorsports Ranch. Whether you have aspirations of being a pro racer, or you simply want to know what icons like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman enjoyed about the sport, there are programs for you. And if you simply want to be a better driver in your own vehicle, they can accommodate that, too.
The entire Cochise County region is steeped in history, and you can experience it by heading to Fort Bowie and learning about the war between the Chiricahua Apaches and the U.S. Army, or tour the Faraway Ranch for a trip back into time. The historic property began as the homestead of Swedish settlers, and became a guest ranch back in 1917. A short drive from Willcox is the Amerind Foundation, a much-loved museum where Native American history and culture is on display. And most visitors to Willcox drop by the Old Pioneer Cemetery, located downtown. Among the gravesites is one for Warren Baxter Earp, the youngest of the Earp brothers. He was not present at the notorious Tombstone gunfight, but took part in Wyatt’s vengeance ride.
If you can tear yourself away from the physical beauty of the area — Chiricahua National Monument, Cochise Lake, the Playa — you may want to sample what some of the area wineries have produced. This month, the Peaches & Pinot Under the Stars event (July 16-18) offers a wonderful opportunity for dinners, breakfast at Apple Annie’s Orchard, wine tastings, outdoor adventures and tours. For more info, visit Eventbrite.com/e/weekendzona-peaches-pinot-under-the-stars-tickets-155710537409.
Another fun event this month is the Veraison Poker Run (July 24-25), which allows participants to travel to various wineries and locations, enjoy samplings, and collect cards to see who can come up with the best five-card hand. To learn the details, go to Willcoxwinecountry.org.