P.T. Barnum may have been a more well known master of marketing, but he had nothing on A.J. Chandler. As the Arizona territory’s first veterinary surgeon in 1887, Chandler parlayed the profits from his practice know as the Chandler Ranch. in 1911, he divided the land into agricultural plots and advertised them for sale.
Knowing that wherever celebrities went, others were sure to follow, Chandler built the San Marcos Hotel. This lavish golf course resort became the popular getaway for such early starts as Errol Flynn, Gloria Swanson, Fred Astaire, Al Capone and Herbert Hoover. Together, agriculture and tourism built Chandler into a thriving community. While both remain important contributors to its economic base, the open land that once drew farmers and ranchers is not a magnet for high-tech manufacturing companies, including Intel Corp, Motorola and Microchip Technology.
In 1980, Chandler had close to 30,000 residents, it then grew to more than 235,500 by 2006. Now boosting 278,245 in 2021. Many who move to Chandler count affordable housing and it’s small town appeal among the main reasons for moving here.
Also located in the Southwest Valley is the town of Gilbert. The town has met the many challenges of preserving the small town atmosphere while promoting growth in science, technology, engineering and math related jobs. Gilbert is proud of a lifestyle that focuses on raising a family and quality education while offering 9.8 million square feet of retail and more than 700 acres of designated open space for recreation and entertainment, providing a quality of life that translates to a thriving and diverse community. Gilbert is home to any enviable downtown with locally-unique dining options and countless community centers.
The City of Mesa’s growth has been fueled by the three A’s. Affordability, amenities and the annual migration of “snow birds”, the winter weary retirees from the Midwest. Mesa’s shopping, recreational, educational and cultural amenities are some of the most extensive in the Valley. With more than 20 golf course and 47 parks within 122 miles, it serves as a playground for those snow birds. Mesa has an excellent school system and a varied economic base, which makes it a great place to raise a family.
Located in the southeast corner of Maricopa County, Queen Creek is one of Arizona’s best kept secrets. Just a 40 minute drive for Sky Harbor International Airport, Queen Creek has an exceptional climate, natural recreational areas and a rural lifestyle. This small rural town offers an 18 hole golf course, outdoor recreation, town hall and Superstition Mountain for hiking enthusiasts.
As Arizona’s sixth largest city, Tempe offers a quality of life that is unparalleled to any place in the country. The city has successfully blended the dynamics of a high-tech business center, the fun and excitement of a resort community and warmth and comfort of a residential neighborhood, and the small town atmosphere of a college community.
Tempe is ideally located in central Maricopa County, adjoining the cities of Scottsdale to the north, Mesa to the east, Chandler to the south and Phoenix to the west. Tempe’s strategic location is a boon to both businesses to residents who have convenient access to all areas of the Valley of the Sun.
Buckeye is the third fastest growing community in Maricopa County. Named for the home state of one of its early settlers, Buckeye is proud to b one of the most rural communities in the Phoenix metro area. Buckeye residents appreciate the hometown charm it has developed over its years. Many of those who leave Buckeye later return to raise their own families.
One of Arizona’s largest adult living developers, Del Webb introduced its fourth Sun City in north Buckeye. Sun City Festival covers 3,300 acres and added 7,200 homes to the area.
Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Tolleson
Located in one of the fasted growing areas in the Valley, the cities of Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Tolleson have undergone some major changes.
Gone are the cotton fields that once were the economic backbone of the area. Now, in their place are new residential communities, as well as businesses, both large and small, who have found the potential of the area exciting. Department stores, shopping centers, restaurants, auto dealerships, merchandising giants, home improvement emporiums, new hospitals, light industry and many others are tapping into a new vein of wealth in these communities.
The education community offers excellent opportunities. Estrella Mountain Community College, the Southwest Valley Skill Center and the Universal Technical Institute offer academic and vocational training.
Recreation is a big part of the Southwest Valley’s package. County parks such as Estrella Mountain Regional Park and nearby White Tank Regional Park offer hiking, biking and equestrian trails, picnic areas and other outdoor activities.
Although each city has its own personality, Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Tolleson have each been a strong contributor to making life in the Southeast Valley what it is today.