10 Strange Facts about the History of Maricopa, Arizona
Maricopa isn’t some sleepy suburb of Phoenix. Sure, it offers a slower pace and some peace and quiet away from the metropolitan center, but it has a long and interesting history. Whether you are looking into the past or evaluating its present, Maricopa has plenty of exciting things going on.
Here are 10 strange facts you may not know about the history of Maricopa, Arizona:
#1 – It is the Only City in the Country Bordered by Two Native American Communities
The Gila River Indian Community and the Ak-Chin Community both border Maricopa. You can learn more about both at the HuHuGam Heritage Cener and the Him Dak Eco Museum. You can view art and cultural artifacts, learn about history, and learn about their way of life.
#2 – It Had Just Over 1,000 Residents Less than Two Decades Ago
Maricopa only incorporated in 2003. When it became an official city, it had only 1,040 residents. In only two years, the population jumped to 15,934. The population has nearly tripled since then. Maricopa may still be a relatively small city, but it is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Also, Maricopa is one of the safest cities to buy a home in Arizona.
#3 – Maricopa Has Had Three Locations
The area we now know as Maricopa was not always Maricopa. The community started as Maricopa Wells, and it was located on the southern bank of the Gila River. It was known as an oasis in the desert thanks to the convergence of four water supplies: the Gila, Vekol, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa rivers. Around the end of the 19th century, the community moved eight miles south and became known as just Maricopa. Later, the community would move three miles east into its final location.
At times, Maricopa has also been known as Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction.
#4 – Maricopa Was a Waystation for Immigrants Going West
Many people went west to try to find their fortune during the Gold Rush. They often stopped in Maricopa along the way thanks to its abundant water supplies.
#5 – The City Was a Major Stagecoach and Trade Center
Later, Maricopa became a way station for several stagecoach and railroad lines. The town attracted many visitors because of its vibrant trade scene and water supply.
The stagecoach was the first semi-public transportation option in Arizona, and three stagecoach lines came through Maricopa and its relay station. At one point, nearly every resident of the community was employed by the stagecoach lines. Maricopa experienced one of the most prosperous periods of its history during the popularity of the stagecoach.
#6 – It Was a Boom Town in the 1870s
Boom towns were those that saw rapid growth in a short period of time. In the 1870s, Maricopa became known as a boom town as construction took place around the clock. Homes, banks, saloons, theaters, and more went up to try to keep pace with the growing population. There was even talk at one point that Maricopa could become the state capitol.
We can see some echoes of that time in present day. Maricopa is growing so quickly that it’s hard for businesses and government officials to keep up with providing all that residents need.
#7 – Maricopa is the Closest Railroad Stop to Phoenix
Maricopa maintains much of its railroad identity. Currently, it is the closest stop to Phoenix on the Amtrak Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle lines. Maricopa continues to be an important stop for tourists and travelers.
#8 – Multiple Buildings Were Destroyed by Fire
Maricopa Elementary School was burned to the ground in September 1953, leaving 400 children without a place to learn. A four-room wing had just been added onto the school two years earlier. Fire also destroyed the Maricopa Hotel in 1954 and the Headquarters Restaurant in 1956. Another school that was built in 1912 was also burned to the ground in 1956. In 1960, the 1884 Perry Williams-Dallas Smith home was destroyed by a fire.
We’re thinking that all those fire codes that we have now are justified. A lot of history went up in flames likely due to some unsafe construction. Today, Maricopa has some of the best schools around.
#9 – The Mormon Church Started in Maricopa in 1960
You would think that with Arizona being relatively close to Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would have had a strong presence throughout the state. Yet it took more than 100 years for the church to start offering services in Maricopa.
#10 – Dedicated Postmaster Dies in 1986
One of the pioneers of Maricopa, Fred Cole, died in 1986. He had been a dedicated postmaster and integral to the history of the city.
When you are shopping for homes in Maricopa, you are looking at much more than the real estate available. You are looking at a city that is rich in history. Talk to your Maricopa realtor to learn some other unknown gems about this wonderful city.
The Maricopa Real Estate Company is ready to help you find your dream home in Maricopa. Our realtors know this city inside and out, and they can help you find the perfect home to meet all your needs and wish list items. Contact us today to learn more about why you should move to Maricopa or to start your search.
The Maricopa Real Estate Company
21300 N John Wayne Parkway #101
Maricopa, AZ 85139