This town can claim the distinction of having moved three times over the last 150 years. First, under the name of Maricopa Wells, it was located about 10 miles northwest of its current location. No matter where in Arizona Territory a passenger was headed, he had to pass through Maricopa Wells. This community was the hub of 1850's territorial life, a trading post for water, rest, and repairs for the heavy stagecoaches trundling across the southwest. The Civil War brought an end to the mail lines and the building of the railroad a few miles south made Maricopa Wells useless. The town was moved to Maricopaville, 3 and 1/2 miles west of present day Maricopa and became a junction in the Southern Pacific rail line linking Yuma and Tucson to a branch line to Phoenix. Then called the "City of the Future," Maricopaville attracted investors from California and elsewhere. When Tempe became part of the line in 1887, the town was moved again to its present location. Today, it is about 16 miles south of I-10 in Pinal County, with a population of about 8500 in 1997.
This is primarily an agricultural community today, although some multinational corporations are coming in, notably Volkswagen and Nissan who both have desert proving grounds here. Next door, the Ak-Chin Indians have built a Harrah's Casino on their reservation.
Things to Do:
The Estrella Sailport: Offering barnstorming rides and aerobatic flights.
Firebird Raceway: Offers 3 road racing courses, an NHRA Drag Strip, and a private lake used for boat racing. There is some sort of racing almost every weekend, ranging from SCCA racing to IHRA drag boat racing. The Bob Bondourant School of Driving is also on the facility.
Places to Stay:
Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino:
Francisco Grande Resort:
� Copyright 1998 Q87 International & Vincent Davis. All rights reserved.
Last revised: October 30, 1998