Sierra Vista, Arizona

Sierra Vista is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census the population of the city was 43,888. The city is part of the Sierra Vista-Douglas Metropolitan Area, with a 2010 population of 131,346. Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army post, is located in the northwest part of the city.

Sierra Vista, which is Spanish for “Mountain Range View”, is located 75 miles southeast of Tucson and serves as the main commercial, cultural, and recreational hub of Cochise County.

Sierra Vista was incorporated in 1956 and has a population of over 43,000 today. The city is the economic and commercial center of Cochise County, and northern Sonora, Mexico. Sierra Vista annexed Fort Huachuca, a U.S. military base, one of the largest employers in Arizona, and the adjacent community, in 1971.

The proposed city council held a radio contest asking for names of the proposed town. Marie Pfister the city clerk asked her friend Nola Walker to store the suggestions. When the town was approved, they called Nola for the contest winner, but without counting the votes she told them her personal entry of “Sierra Vista” was the winner. On July 13, 2006, at a special ceremony during the city’s 50th anniversary, Nola was granted “clemency” for her misrepresentation of the vote.

In 1961 the town grew large enough to have the name changed to a city allowing the establishment of a community college. In 1973 Ethel Berger became the first female mayor in Arizona. In the 1970s the Art in the Park Festival was established by a committee of Army Wives, with its proceeds to benefit the Huachuca Arts Association and college scholarships.

Sierra Vista was the site of the first McDonald’s drive-thru, which opened in 1975. The owner, Dave Rich, drove the innovative approach to gain the business of the soldiers from nearby Fort Huachuca. At that time, soldiers were not allowed to wear their military fatigues off of the military base.

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