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Glendale, Arizona - Historical Timeline

  • 1877 – Irrigable valley land became open to homesteading by the federal government, as provided for under the Desert Lands Act.

  • 1883 – William J. Murphy undertook construction of the Arizona Canal.

  • 1885 – Arizona Canal completed.

  • 1886 – With the Arizona Canal finished, William Henry Bartlett started a 640 fruit farm now known as Sahuaro Ranch.

  • 1887 – William J. Murphy formed the Arizona Improvement Company and began buying controlling interests in all of the canals north of the Salt River.

  • 1888 – William J. Murphy constructed Grand Avenue on a straight diagonal from Phoenix to Peoria.  As early as 1888, Murphy had plans for Temperance town site and referred to it as Glendale.

  • 1892 – On February 27, the Temperance Colony of Glendale was officially founded when William J. Murphy, New England Land Company and Burgess A. Hadsell, a well-known colonizer for the German Reformed Church, complete a survey and plat of Glendale’s first residential area,  Hadsell’s Addition to Glendale.  The plat of the original Glendale town site came six months later, in November of 1892.  The plat encompassed some 36 blocks comprising one square mile at the intersection of sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Township 2N Range 2W.  A temperance clause prohibiting the sale, distribution, or manufacture of liquor on the premises was included in the deed to each lot.

  • 1892 – Glendale’s Post Office is established.  S. B. Stoner served as the first postmaster.  Nathan T. Franklin constructed the first two-story frame building on the north side of A Avenue (now Glenn Drive) known as the Oasis Hotel.

  • 1894 – J. B. Doner purchased lots south of the Oasis Hotel on A Avenue (now Glenn Drive) and constructed wood frame building for his carpentry shop.  He later operated his business as the Glendale Lumber and Supply Company.  Doner constructed many of Glendale’s earliest buildings including the Main House at Sahuaro Ranch in 1896.

William J. Murphy undertook construction of the Arizona Canal in 1883.  In 1885 with the job finished, he watched the first water flowing through the canal.  In 1888 Murphy built Grand Avenue on a straight diagonal from Phoenix to Peoria, Arizona.  It passed through the area about to become the town of Glendale and provided an important transportation link for all the northwest Salt River Valley.

  • 1895 - Glendale Grammar School (pictured above), on C Avenue (now Myrtle Avenue), was Glendale’s first major school building.  It was designed by J. R. Norton and built by J. B. Doner. The same year, Victor E. Messinger begins Glendale's first public library by donating 400 books from his personal collection.  For the next 20 years, the library is located in various buildings.  The Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railroad Depot is established along Grand Avenue.  A major flood inundates the Valley.  It washes out the Arizona Dam at the head gate of the Arizona Canal.  The population in Glendale is 300.

  • 1896 – H. L. Betz, a brick manufacturer, constructs the first two-story brick commercial building in Glendale on the corner of 1st Avenue (now 58th Drive) and Glendale Avenues.  The building is more commonly known as the Ryder Building.  Beginning in 1898, the H. W. Ryder Lumber Company occupied the building.

  • 1897 – A three year drought begins.

  • 1902 – The Glendale Culture Club (now known as the Glendale Woman’s Club) begins with Mrs. E. E. Jack serving as its first president. 

  • 1903 – Construction begins on the Arizona Sugar Company building.  The company was established by William J. Murphy and others, and financed by Michigan investors.  The company folded and the project was taken over by investors from Detroit and Murphy and they form the Southwestern Sugar and Land Company.

Three Sine Brothers’ hay wagons are lined up at Glendale’s Santa Fe Depot ready to load hay into a rail car in 1905.

  • 1905 – Postmaster Victor E. Messinger establishes Glendale’s first post office in a permanent structure.  It was located in a corner of the Ryder Building.

  • 1906 – Construction is underway for the Beet Sugar Factory (often called the Sugar Beet Factory) near Lateral 17 (now 52nd Avenue) and Glendale Avenue.  Unfortunately, production at the factory is short-lived.  The plant operates only sporadically for a decade.

  • 1907 – Louis M. Sands, originally from Michigan, arrives from Flagstaff, Arizona and purchases property from Herbert W. Hamilton.  Sands named the property Manistee Ranch.

  • 1908 – A water system is constructed by A. W. Bennett on his lots on 1st Avenue (now 58th Drive).  The system is sold to F. H. Sine in 1910.  Sine improved the system and included a storage tank and supply lines to serve the commercial center of town.  He sold the water system to the City in 1912.

  • 1909 – William J. Murphy donates land in downtown Glendale to become a park.  The first telephones are installed.  The Glendale State Bank is organized and located in the Gillett Building on Glendale Avenue (5825 W. Glendale Avenue).

  • 1910, June 18 – The Town of Glendale is incorporated.  A. W. Bennet is the first Mayor and Victor E. Messinger is the first Town Clerk.  The population within the corporate city limits is approximately 1,000.

  • 1910 – The Glendale Ice Company is established.  The Tonto (Roosevelt) Dam is completed.  This guaranteed an ample supply of water for agricultural purposes in the Salt River Valley and provided Glendale farmers the stability they need in the agricultural market.

  • 1911 – A group of Russian Molokan immigrants arrive and start raising sugar beets.  The Molakan's ("milk drinkers") arrived from Los Angeles, California but originally came to America to avoid religious persecution in the early 1900s.  The Crystal open air picture show opens, followed soon after by The Rainbow Theatre.  The Phoenix Railway Company brings an interurban electric trolley to town.  The system is an extension of the Phoenix Street Railway System begun by William J. Murphy in 1887.  The railway system began in 1911 and operated until 1928 when financial difficulties forced it to shut down.  The telephone exchange now has 100 subscribers.

  • 1912 – Arizona becomes a state.  Glendale’s first newspaper, The Glendale News, is published by Fred C. Woodward and L. S. Yoder.  Glendale High School is built.  It cost $20,000.  A 20-ton ice plant is in place to service hundreds of railroad cars as the Valley farmers ship produce all over the country.  A new spark in town is the result of the city-owned electric light and power business.  Sine’s water system comes under the control of the City and is one of its major public works projects.  Glendale is tagged “The live wire town of the new state.”

  • 1913 – Cotton production reaches its peak during the economic boom of WWI.  William H. Bartlett sells Sahuaro Ranch to Bradshaw, Simmons and Foraker.  Peter Bradshaw and his wife bought and farmed the 320 acres facing Lateral 18 (now 59th Avenue).  It is now referred to as the Bradshaw Ranch.

  • 1915 – Otto R. Hansen, a Wisconsin investor, develops Catlin Court, an 80 acre tract of land within the City limits.

  • 1917 – Glendale’s “Flagpole Library” is built in the Town Park (now Murphy Park).  It was called the Flagpole Library for its 110-foot, single-piece wooden flagpole fashioned from an Oregon tree and shipped to Glendale on three flatbed railroad cars in 1911.  The Armour Canned Milk Company begins operations in Glendale.  The factory was closed in 1920 following the post war depression.

  • 1918 – The First National Bank of Glendale on 1st Avenue (6838 N. 58th Drive) is constructed.

  • 1919 – The Robert W. Cole Building is constructed on 2nd Avenue (7005 N. 58th Avenue).

  • 1920 – Glendale’s population reaches 2,727.

  • 1926 – Glendale’s second newspaper, The Saturday Shopper, later to become The Glendale Herald is established.  The Sine Building on Glendale Avenue (5747 W. Glendale Avenue) is constructed.

  • 1927 – The Glendale Chamber of Commerce is founded.  Lottie Sands Smith and her husband, Richard S. Smith, purchase the portion of the original Sahuaro Ranch which had belonged to Peter Bradshaw and restored its name of Sahuaro Ranch.

  • 1930 The Town of Glendale becomes the City of Glendale.  Population of Glendale is 3,700.

  • 1937 – Dial telephones arrive.

  • 1938 – Glendale’s second library building is constructed and located in City Park (now Murphy Park).

  • 1940 – Population of Glendale is 5,000.

Thunderbird Air Field

  • 1941 – Construction of Thunderbird Air Field and Luke Field begins.  Thunderbird Field was used for training Army Air Corp pilots in WWII.  School enrollment swells to over 3,000.

  • 1946 – Thunderbird Air Field becomes Thunderbird School of International Management.

  • 1950 – The City budget is ten times the $31,000 budget of 1940.

  • 1951 – Luke Field is reactivated as Luke Air Force Base.

  • 1960 – Approximately 16,000 people live in Glendale.  There are five elementary schools, four high schools, a paid fire department, a new sewer plant, a hospital and the beet sugar factory is now a Squirt bottling plant.

  • 1962 – The Richard Smith family sells 120 acres of Sahuaro Ranch to Glendale Community College.

  • 1965 – Glendale Community College opens its doors.

  • 1967 – The Richard Smith family sells an additional 40 acres of Sahuaro Ranch to Glendale Community College.

  • 1971 – Glendale builds a third library building located in Murphy Park.  It is named the Velma Teague Library in honor of Velma Teague who served Glendale as librarian for 30 years.

  • 1973 – The Glendale Arizona Historical Society is founded.

  • 1977 – Glendale’s newspaper, The Glendale Star, is first published.  The Smith family sells the remaining 160 acres of Sahuaro Ranch (80 acres to a developer and 80 acres, including all of the historic buildings, to the City of Glendale.

  • 1979 - A significant purchase was made by the City of Glendale for the citizens of Glendale.  The City of Glendale purchased   the Glen Lakes Golf Course in 1979.

  • 1987 – Glendale’s Main Library is constructed at 5959 W. Brown Street.

  • 1988 – Arizona State University/West Campus opens its doors.

  • 1999 – Glendale Civic Center opens.

  • 2001 – Veteran’s Memorial, “For Every Drop of Blood—For Every Life Devoted” by Joe Tyler is completed and placed on the lawn of the Glendale Public Library on Brown Street.

  • 2003 – Glendale Arena at Westgate City Center opens.  In 2006 the naming rights to the arena are sold to to be known as Arena.

  • 2006 – The University of Phoenix Stadium opens.  This is where the National Football Team, the Arizona Cardinals will play.

  • 2008 – Glendale hosts the XLII Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

  • 2009 – The spring training facility for the L.A. Dodgers & Chicago White Sox opens.

  • 2010 – Happy Birthday, Glendale, 100 Years Old!!

  • 2019 - THE City of Glendale sells the Glen Lakes Golf Course for $6.5 million to Towne Development Inc.

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