The written history of the town dates back more than 200 years. When Father Francisco Garcés visited the area in 1776, he recorded that the Indians were cultivating crops. The town was named after Tuuvi, a Hopi leader. Chief Tuuvi converted to Mormonism circa 1870, and invited the Mormons to settle near Moenkopi.
Tuba City was founded by the Mormons in 1872. Tuba City drew Hopi, Navajo and Paiute Indians to the area because of its natural springs. In 1956, Tuba City became a uranium boomtown, as the regional office for the Rare Metals Corporation and the Atomic Energy Commission. The mill closed in 1966, and reclamation of the millsite and tailings pile was completed in 1990.