The History of Chandler

Chandler, located in Maricopa County, Arizona, is a prominent suburb of the Phoenix, Arizona, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Interestingly, even a century back, it was a place that didn't really exist. We will take a look at the history of Chandler, AZ and its journey in the last century.

Foundation and History of Chandler, AZ

Dr Alexander John Chandler, who was the first veterinary surgeon for Arizona, bought around 80 acres of land in 1891 in the Salt River Valley. It was then just an arid desert. Using his knowledge of irrigation engineering, Dr Chandler built a canal system in the area.

Resizing and sale of ranches in Chandler, AZ

The size of his ranches rose to 18,000 acres by the turn of the century. The problem was that the rules then allowed every ranch owner to only get water to irrigate 160 acres.

As a result, Dr Chandler decided to hire planners and architects to work around the rules. He divided his ranch and advertised for the sale of his ranches, attracting a good 300 buyers.

At that time the town consisted of three wooden shacks -- a dining hall, the town-site office which was inaugurated on May 17, 1912, as well as the well known Morrison Grocery.

After the sale, within a year itself, businesses had sprung up along the west and south side of the park. Some of the places that were developed early included the Bank of Chandler and the Eastern Railroad depot. One could see Model T Fords plying on the graded dirt roads along with wagons and carts.

Vice President visits Chandler

Hotel San Marcos was inaugurated in a gala opening on November 22, 1913, and the occasion was graced by 500 guests including Vice President Thomas Marshall and Governor George P Hunt.

Agriculture with cotton, grains and alfalfa as the primary crop was the mainstay of the economy at that time. Farmers raised cattle, sheep and ostriches for their feathers which were sold for as much as $250 a pound.

During World War I the Goodyear Tire Company built the town of Goodyear on 8000 acres of leased land south of the town.


By 1920, the population of Chandler had risen to over 1,000 residents, and automobiles had become the mainstay of transportation.

It really wasn't the place that anyone could have imagined even three decades back then. With rapid development, residents felt the need to incorporate it as a town, and the first charter got drafted. It was then passed in May 1920, and had Dr Chandler as the first mayor.

The Tough Times

Everything went great, till the great economic depression started.

The cotton crash of 1920 had a great impact on the agriculture based economy while Dr Chandler saw his fortunes collapse during the Great Depression. The Bank of Chandler couldn't make it, and with it fell Dr. Chandler's wealth too. He lost the San Marcos to creditors.

After that, Dr. Chandler retired to live in a cottage on the grounds of the hotel.

In 1940, the state proposed to align Route 87 down Arizona Avenue and in October 1941 a fighter pilot training base began operations east of Chandler.

Dr Chandler passes away

During World War II, you had the town's population doubling and by 1950 – the year in which Dr Chandler passed away, it had reached 3,800. On May 24, 1954, Chandler became a city.

Chandler's borders have been expanding ever since, and its population too continues to grow. On the economic front while agriculture continues to be an important element, today Chandler is a manufacturing and electronics hub.

The city boasts of modern stores and the redesigned plaza named after Dr Chandler and parks, restaurants and retail centers - all that you would expect from Chandler, AZ.