Yes, the town translates into "table" from Spanish. All of my research implies that it sits on a plateau overlooking the Valley of the Sun, but after having lived there for a few years, I can honestly tell you that there is no visible evidence to support that from a layman's point of view. Mesa was founded as a Mormon settlement in 1878, and was incorporated in 1883. 1997 population was about 365,000, with tons of winter visitors there in the, well... winter. Mesa has a pretty strong economy of its own, with 13 Fortune 500 manufacturers located there. GM has their Desert Proving Grounds there, just north of Queen Creek, TRW manufactures air bags there (also a source of explosions to entertain the citizens just south in Queen Creek), and the former Williams Air Force Base is being redeveloped as Williams Gateway Airport, said to be a spaceport soon for reusable launch vehicles. Boeing manufactures an attack helicopter there (formerly McDonnell Douglas), and you can often see these guys floating around in brand new Apaches.
Mesa is a little unique in the valley in that they offer their own utilities to people who live there, including gas, water and electric in some areas in addition to the typical water/sewer/trash.
Mesa does not welcome smokers. If you smoke, you are better off going to some of the surrounding cities to go out and do what have you. I am a smoker, and when I lived there we used to go to Gilbert to go out and eat as much as possible. Even Superstition Springs Mall, one of the largest Malls in the southeast valley, does not have a smoking section meaning you would be banished outside. Something to consider when it is 120 degrees out and you are not used to the heat (but it's a dry heat!!!).
Things to Do:
Superstition Springs Mall:
Champlain Fighter Museum:
Arizona Temple Visitors Center: The Mormon church in Mesa offers free tours to the public free of charge daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Believe it or not, this is worth seeing even if you are not of the Mormon faith. The grounds are beautiful, the temple impressive, and the special occasions, like the Christmas display and the Easter display, are really something. 525 E. Main Street, just off of Mesa Drive. (480) 964-7164 for more info.
Arizona Wing of the Confederate Air Force: A museum dedicated to the aircraft of World War II. Home of the "Sentimental Journey," a B-17 that is airworthy and flies around the country every summer. The wing also maintains a Heinkel HE-111 decked out in Nazi Germany's battle colors, a B-25, a C-45, and a Grumman Guardian. All of the planes tour together (except the B-25, still being worked on) and it is really a sight to see them all thundering across the sky together. The aircraft are on display from late Fall to Spring every year, along with the full machine shop and a "PX" gift shop. There is also a museum there, and they are always looking for volunteer help. Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the corner of Greenfield and McKellips Roads. Follow the signs to Falcon Field, or call (480)924-1940.
Places to Eat:
The Landmark: Located in an old church. Great food, outstanding salad buffet, and fantastic cinnamon rolls. Park in the back, have a reservation, and plan on waiting anyway. It is worth it!
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� Copyright 1998 Q87 International & Vincent Davis. All rights reserved.
Last revised: October 30, 1998