The History of the City of Maricopa, AZ
The City of Maricopa has been one the fastest growing cities in the State of Arizona. Not to be confused with Maricopa County, the City of Maricopa is located about 20 minutes southwest of Chandler, AZ or 20 minutes west of Casa Grande.
Maricopa has been one the of the greatest foundations to help grow the southwest. Maricopa had multiple locations in the 1800s and was known as Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction at different times. From the beginning, Maricopa started as a beautiful watering hole for many of the postal route travelers and traders. During this time in the 1800s, Maricopa had multiple Arizona rivers (the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa) flowing through it that provided an oasis during this time.
Part of the Old West Postal Trail
Maricopa Wells was founded in 1846 and held a huge part in the postal route industry, the San Antonia-San Diego Mail line which was known as the Jackass Mail, or famously known later down the line as the Butterfield Overland Mail route. This amazing city held so much life during this era, being able to provide a watering hole and an abundance of food and supplies for all the travelers passing through. The best was yet to come as later they introduce the Railroads to the southwest.
Connecting the Railroads to the West Coast
Later down the road, Maricopaville ended up moving southwest from Maricopa Wells. After the move, Maricopa Wells and Phoenix came together and created the Terminus to and from Phoenix out of Maricopaville. Shortly after construction, the South Pacific Railroad was in the process of building a route to Yuma and Tucson from the Terminus. This huge railroad boom began Maricopa’s flourishing growth in becoming a major railroad junction for years to come.
This opportunity garnered much success economically for this tiny town by cutting down the travel time to and from Phoenix. Unfortunately, they found out due to many of the flooding issues during monsoon season, most if not all the railroads had to be reconstructed numerous times. These multiple reconstruction efforts redirected routes through Picacho. During the railroad boom, one of the newspaper articles even stated that “Maricopaville would be an ideal choice for the state capitol.”
Farming & Agriculture Comes to Town
Later, folks discovered that a lot of the desert area was great for farming and agriculture. In the 1960s many farmers experimented with many crops to see what would flourish most in our desert soil. Some common crops were: alfalfa, peas, melons, citrus, pecans and eventually cotton that is still grown as of today. During this time Cattle became the bread and butter to our little town and kept it going strong.
Maricopa Becomes a City
On October 15th, 2003 Maricopa became the 88th City to be incorporated in Arizona with a population of only 1700 people. The City soon grew to almost 50,000 after the huge real estate boom. However, after the market crashed in 2008, the town population soon crashed as well and many thought it would put a huge halt in the growth of this city but many were wrong.
Thanks to Harrahs Ak-chin Casino, they were able to provide numerous job opportunities for local folks. Not to mention the number of investors that purchased homes for rental investments and our Candian visitors purchasing second homes, we were able to keep Maricopa on the map through this difficult time.
Since the city became incorporated, the population boomed from 1700 people to once again topping 50,000… that’s 4,038% increase since 2003! It’s amazing how this beautiful city is still growing at a rapid pace and we continue to be very optimistic about the future that lays ahead.
Maricopa continues to grow. With new build homes going up throughout the city, we also have new businesses coming to town each year. Most recently, the long-awaited businesses in the Fry’s Marketplace have gone up and both Denny’s and IHOP have finally brought in some major restaurants to help with our growing needs.
The best thing about Maricopa is how we will continue to grow yet not be swallowed up by the Phoenix market due to the 15 miles of Gila River land between Maricopa and Chander. This will help ensure we keep our great Maricopa culture and history, alive for many years to come.