First established as the Empire Cattle Ranch by Edward and Walter Vail in the late 19th century, the town became the storage and loading facility for ore from the successful Helvetica Copper Mine. Today, Vail is home to the top-ranked University of Arizona Science and Technology Park, Raytheon, and many other businesses. Residents define their community as a place where each individual is important and has something valuable to contribute to others. Affordable housing, great schools, and an easy drive to jobs and cultural events in Tucson make Vail an attractive community for raising a family.
Vail's close location to Tucson provides many opportunities to enjoy cultural events and historical attractions. An outdoor lifestyle is the norm in Vail, and nearby places offer year round recreation. Mt. Lemmon is close and perfect for winter downhill skiing. The little-known Charron Vineyards is one of Southern Arizona’s oldest vineyards. Colossal Cave Mountain Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and certainly worth exploring. The cave, one of the largest dry caves in North America, was officially "discovered" in 1879, but artifacts and soot-blackened ceilings show it was used by prehistoric cultures.