A History of Chandler, Arizona, 1912-1953

“A History of Chandler, Arizona, 1912-1953,” authored by Robert Conway Stevens, is an insightful academic work published by the University of Arizona Press in 1955. This book is a master’s thesis, presented to the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Arizona as part of the requirement for a Master of Arts degree. Over the course of 106 pages, Stevens embarks on a detailed exploration of the foundational years of Chandler, Arizona, from its establishment in 1912 up to 1953. This thesis was originally published in the University of Arizona Bulletin Series, Vo. XXV, No. 4, October, 1954, Social Science Bulletin, No. 25.

The work documents the political, social, and economic developments of Chandler and its surrounding areas, offering a deep dive into the region’s transformative years. A notable feature of this monograph is its initial survey, which sets the historical context by examining the activities of the Indian, Spanish, and early Anglo-American communities in the middle Gila Valley. Furthermore, Stevens examines the evolution of crucial irrigation systems that have been vital to the area’s agriculture.

Chandler, located in the southeastern part of the Salt River Valley and a pivotal part of Maricopa County, serves as the focal point of this study. The narrative details the city’s strategic position on major transport routes and highlights local landmarks such as the San Marcos Hotel and Williams Air Force Base. Stevens also portrays the intensive agricultural practices within the Chandler District, emphasizing the economic significance of crops like cotton and alfalfa, bolstered by the Salt River Project’s irrigation infrastructure.

Stevens prioritizes institutional histories over individual biographies, with the exception of Dr. Alexander J. Chandler, the town’s founder, whose contributions are thoroughly analyzed. The book relies heavily on primary sources such as local newspaper archives, town council minutes, and firsthand interviews, ensuring a rich and authentic recounting of Chandler’s history.

The structured layout of the book includes various chapters that chronologically address significant periods in Chandler’s development, from its economic and social foundations to the impact of the Great Depression and World War II, concluding with its post-war expansion. This detailed account is complemented by a series of illustrative materials that provide visual context to the narrative.

“A History of Chandler, Arizona, 1912-1953” serves as a comprehensive resource for understanding the multifaceted growth of this dynamic Arizona community, making it an invaluable addition to the fields of historical and regional studies.

A History of Chandler, Arizona, 1912-1953

Table of Contents

Introduction, p. 5
Acknowledgements, p. 6
The Middle Gila Valley, p. 7
The Chandler Ranch, p. 14
Economic and Social Foundations, 1912-1919, p. 25
Recession and Recovery, 1920-1929, p. 47
The Depression and the New Deal, p. 65
The War Years, 1941-1945, p. 77
Post-War Expansion, 1946-1953, p. 86
Appendices, p. 98
Bibliography, p. 102


Dr. A. J. Chandler, p. 4
Chandler Townsite, May 17, 1912, p. 27
The Townsite Office, May 17, 1912, p. 28
Advertisement Concerning the Sale of Chandler Ranch Lands, p. 29
Aerial Photograph of Chandler, November, 1953, p. 90
Patio of Famous San Marcos Hotel, Founded by Dr. A. J. Chandler, p. 95
Prices received and prices paid by farmers in the United States, 1910-1952, p. 48


Stevens, Robert Conway, A history of Chandler, Arizona, 1912-1953, Tucson : University of Arizona Press, 1955.
This thesis was originally published in the University of Arizona Bulletin Series, Vo. XXV, No. 4, October, 1954, Social Science Bulletin, No. 25.




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