Colorado City

Colorado City, Arizona

Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the town was 4,607. At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.


Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913 by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway sect of the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that doomed Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next fifty years.

In January 2004, the local religious leader, Warren Jeffs, expelled a group of twenty men, including the mayor, and "gave" their wives and children to other men. Jeffs stated he was acting on the orders of God, while the men expelled claimed they were penalized for disagreeing with Jeffs. Observers state this is the most severe split to date within the community.

According to the Utah attorney general's office, this was not the first time Jeffs was accused for expelling men from the community; as many as four-hundred young men are estimated to have been expelled by Jeffs from 2001-2006. Most were removed for failing to follow Jeffs' rules, or for dating women without his permission. These expelled men and boys, many very naïve and sheltered, often wound up homeless and using drugs in nearby towns such as Hurricane, Utah. Most of the property in the town is owned by the United Effort Plan, the financial arm of the FLDS.

The Colorado City/Hildale, Utah area has the world's highest incidence of fumarase deficiency, an extremely rare genetic condition which causes severe mental retardation. Geneticists attribute this to the prevalence of cousin marriage between descendants of two of the town's founders, Joseph Smith Jessop and John Y. Barlow; at least half the double community's roughly 8,000 inhabitants are descended from one or both.

In 2007 the state authorities dismantled church ownership of Colorado City lands.


Colorado City is located at (36.989580, -112.978044).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27.2 km²), of which, 10.5 square miles (27.2 km²) of it is land and 0.100% is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,334 people, 444 households, and 417 families residing in the town. The population density was 317.3 people per square mile (122.5/km²). There were 457 housing units at an average density of 43.5/sq mi (16.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.85% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 0.09% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 1.77% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 2.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 444 households out of which 83.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 85.8% were married couples living together, 3.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.9% were non-families. 4.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 7.51 and the average family size was 7.58.

In the town the population was spread out with 60.4% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 20.2% from 25 to 44, 6.3% from 45 to 64, and 1.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 14 years. For every 100 females there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,826, and the median income for a family was $32,344. Males had a median income of $24,429 versus $22,969 for females. The per capita income for the town was $5,293. About 29.0% of families and 31.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.5% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over. The top 5 ethnic groups in Colorado City are: English - 53% · German - 5% · Swedish - 4% · British - 3% · Danish - 3%


Colorado City is a part of the Colorado City Unified School District. There is only one school, the Colorado City K-12 Public School, in Colorado City. Many FLDS-affiliated board members resigned due to the political takeover of the district.

The Arizona state government attempted to take over the district in 2005 due to mismanagement.

In addition to the district public school, there is a charter school, Masada Charter School, serving students in grades K-9. The charter school is outside of the Colorado City town limits in the community of Centennial Park.

Twin City

Colorado City is a twin city with Hildale, Utah, just over the Arizona-Utah border.


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