The 58 square miles of land that was to become the city of Chandler was purchased by Dr. Alexander John Chandler in 1891. Dr. Chandler secured over 80 acres of land and proceeded to build irrigation canals in what was then an infrastructurally barren desert landscape.
Dr. Chandler then sought the help of architects to plan the structure of the town, businesses, homes, parks, etc. On May 17, 1912 he opened the Chandler townsite and invited people from across the nation to come to purchase property. Approximately 300 people came by train and purchased $50,000 in land that day. Terms of the land deeds were that land owners must build within one year. A year later there were businesses, homes, parks and a still growing, busy town.
Agriculture was still the largest business in town. There were cotton, grains and alfalfa farms, with cotton farms being the most common and profitable. Many farmers also raised cattle, sheep and even ostriches. Believe it or not, back then, ostrich feathers were a prized commodity for woman’s clothing and accessories and could cost as much as $250 a pound!
Today, the city holds annual Ostrich Festivals in remembrance of the role the ostrich farms played in the growth and wealth of the city.
In 1920 the Town of Chandler was voted for and incorporated. Although this was during the Great Depression, most of Chandler’s residents were not impacted. However, Dr. Chandler himself suffered economic adversity. He lost many investments during this period, but was still able to retire comfortably.
As Chandler was growing at an unexpected rate there were other trials that arose. The amount of vehicles versus road space led to accidents and difficult travel. In 1940, Route 87 was proposed. Residents were not happy but it was necessary for the safety of the community, as well as for the facilitation of goods and services.
Dr. Chandler passed away on May 8th of 1950. By this time, Chandler consisted of 3,800 residents. BY 1954 Chandler was no longer a “town” – it was promoted to a city! By 1980 resident numbers had grown to 30,000 and today the numbers have grown dramatically to 250,000 residents.
This fascinating history is only one of the reasons we’re delighted to call Chandler home.