The Rich History Of Mesa AZ

Mesa is one of the top tourist destinations in the state of Arizona. The city is the third-largest in the state and by some accounts the largest suburban city in the United States. It’s located in Maricopa County and it has a population of more than half a million residents. Mesa is a social, cultural, and economic hub with lots of Wild West adventures, arts & cultural events, competitive sports, and fantastic cuisine. But Mesa AZ was not always like this. The city has experienced rapid growth and expansion in the 20th and 21st centuries. Let us take some time to trace the roots of this global tourist destination. 

Diversity In The City’s Origins 

The history of Mesa AZ points to diversity in its original and continued occupation. The early inhabitants of the region back then included Indians, Mormon migrants, American explorers, and Spanish expeditions. This created a diverse community and all these people played a role in the growth and development of Mesa AZ. the history of the city dates back more than two millennia when the Hohokam Indians occupied the land and created the irrigation canals that are still in use today.  

The First Settlers 

Before the 19th century, explorers and missionaries had already started to visit Arizona. The early explorers engaged in wars to create a way for the white occupation of the state of Arizona. That is how the first settlers managed to get into Salt River Valley. The first settlers left Idaho and Utah in 1877 and arrived about one year later in 1878. This group of migrants was called the First Mesa Company and they were Mormon settlers. The Second Mesa Company arrived in 1879.

Registration & Incorporation 

Mesa AZ was registered in 1878 and formally incorporated in 1883. By then the small town had a population of only 300 people. One of the most important figures in the growth and expansion of Mesa as a town in the late 1800s was Dr. A. J. Chandler, who went on to found a city bearing his name South of Mesa. Dr. Chandler enlarged the Mesa Canal in 1895 and built the first office complex in the city. He also started an electric power plant in Mesa AZ. All these utilities were bought back by the city in 1917.

Growth And Expansion After World War II

During the Second World War, Falcon Field Airport and Williams Air Force Base were built in Mesa AZ. After the war ended, many military families moved to the city and the population exploded in Mesa and the rest of Phoenix. There was massive industrial growth in the 1950s and 1960s although a huge portion of the population still relied directly or indirectly on agricultural production even in the 1960s. By the 1990s, Mesa AZ had transformed into an industrial and technological city with over 100 major corporations. 

Largest Suburban City

Mesa AZ has had unparalleled growth over the years in terms of population increase. From the 1930s until the 1990s, the population of the city grew by nearly 80% every decennial. The city’s population has continued to grow mainly due to the strong economic conditions, lovely weather, and attractive environment, which attracts more people to Mesa AZ every year. 


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