If you are new to Surprise, Arizona or if you have lived here your whole life there is probably something you can learn about the history of this great city. Here’s a summary about the history of Surprise, Arizona. A somewhat fun and exciting history in a short period of time!
The Fun & Eventful History of Surprise, Arizona!
In 1938 Flora Mae Statler bought what would become the town of Surprise, Arizona for about 35 cents per acre! Many of the original settlers to Surprise were migrant farm workers. El Mirage was created as a community for workers and originally farms dominated in the region.
The only reason that Surprise was able to pop up in what would otherwise be considered the desert was the creation of the Roosevelt Dam in 1911 and the Wadell Dam in 1927. Initially in 1882 the Arizona Canal was built and that brought water to the region which allowed Phoenix to spring up! Water is a necessity in all regions and it was crucial to the development of the entire region, Surprise, AZ included.
How the War Shaped Surprise, Arizona and the Surrounding Areas:
When WWII began and more importantly, when it ended, the region became populated by airmen returning from war. The Luke Air Force Base is a major economic force in the region and a big employer!
Thunderbird Field was transformed into the Thunderbird School of Global Management which is a top rated business school which is another large employer in the region.
What came next to Surprise, Arizona?
As more and more people came to the region to farm, work at the various businesses and the Air Force base there was one glaring problem…housing! The first housing developments were meant to provide people with an opportunity to own their own home which was something many people had never been able to do previously.
The more the region grew the more businesses moved to meet the needs of those people living and working in the area. Naturally housing needed to follow in order for there to be long term potential and survival of the region.
Sun City is one of the largest and most iconic housing communities in the world. When it opened in 1960 there were only 5 model homes to view, the first weekend the developers sold 237 houses! Sun City West and Sun City Grand followed soon after and now they have a combined population of more than 90,000 adults.
The future of the West Valley!
Of course we can’t look at the past happenings of this region without looking towards the future as well. There are so many great development projects happening in the region. Between sporting stadiums and casinos the region has seen nearly non-stop growth since development began all those years ago.
The Great Recession slowed things down a bit but not even that could stop the growth of this amazing region! I don’t expect the growth and popularity of this region to slow down anytime soon. If the history of Surprise, Arizona is any indication the future of this great city is very bright!