Cottonwood and the rest of the Verde Valley have long been home to Native Americans, particularly the Sinagua and later the Yavapai and Apache. “The Cottonwoods” originated as a campground and stopover for travelers near one of the three main crossings of the Verde River. In the 1870s, a few hearty settlers began to sink more permanent roots.
Originally the area was a farming community supplying goods to the soldiers of Camp Verde and later to the miners in Jerome. The town developed a mercantile trade as mining activity in Jerome flourished. More businesses sprang up as Cottonwood evolved into the commercial hub of the Verde Valley.
Old Town Cottonwood is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must to visit.