The historical story of Mesa, Arizona includes continuous growth, a diverse town, Mormon migrations, a diverse town, Spanish explorers, and mysterious Indians. Families and Individuals made some critical contributions for the established of Mesa.
The history of Mesa dates back to the Hohokam Indian tribe some two thousand years ago. The Hohokam Indians, whose translates to the Departed Ones, constructed the original canal system that is currently being used and that spread more the 125 miles. From the Explorers, that included Coronado, and missionaries 1500's through the 1600's, included Marcos de Niza and Father Kino arrived in Arizona, although not is currently known as Mesa. During the 1700', a lesser known explorer named Estevanico, or Estevan, was searching for the city of gold. Until the late 1800's, the United States Army troops fought against the Apache Indian tribe. This opened the way for white pioneer settlement. Some other explorers that included Kit Carson arrived in the Valley of the Salt River.
In 1877, the First Mesa Company, which consisted of some 85 members, left Idaho and Utah. The leaders of the company were men named Robson, Sirrine, Pomeroy, and Crismon, some of whom were polygamous. The leaders of the Mesa Company reached Utahville, as Jonesville or Lehi at it was known at that time in 1878. Although the members elected to remain where they were, a man named Daniel Webster Jones invited them stay. They immediately started working on the original Hohokam canals and marking off land. In 1878, a man named Theodore Sirrine went to Florence on order to register what is currently known as the Town Center. Since the Post Office used many different names for the settlement, there has always been some confusion about early names for Mesa. However, the community town itself has always been known as Mesa City. At first the Postal authorities didn't even consider Mesa as the name of the community, because it was believed that it would be confused with Mesaville that was located on the San Pedro River. Hayden's Ferry was the first name of the Post Office. In 1881, This Post Office was operated by a woman named Fannie Macdonald. The Post Office was renamed to Zenos in 1886. Finally, the Post Office Department permitted the use of the name of Mesa City in 1889.
A man named Dr. A. Chandler, who later established a settle that bore his name. In 1895, Dr. Chandler used some heavy machinery to enlarge the Mesa Canal. He also constructed the first complex of offices in Mesa, on the northwestern corner of MacDonald and Main streets. He was also the first air cooling system that was evaporative in Arizona. In addition, Dr. Chandler started an electricity generating facility. In 1917, the community of Mesa bought the utility company, and became one of the only communities in Arizona to own a utility. Until the 1960's, the earning from this utility allowed to pay for capital expenditures without having to use bonds. The utility also provided the shared funding that permitted service projects and construction to be implemented during the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which was implemented during the Great Depression. Some of these improvements included a modern city library, city hall that had increased library hours, park facilities, a recreation department, the first hospital that wasn't converted for a home, curbs in the Town Center, sidewalks, and paved streets.
Long before the Mormons arrived, a man named Tohono O'odham from the tribe of the Pima Indians, and possibly descendants of the Hohokam, were living in the Valley. They were very friendly with Daniel Webster Jones. A woman named Anna Moore Shaw has written A Pima Past, which describes the social life and culture and social life of Tohono O'odham. In 1905, the McPherson family was the first African-Americans to arrive in the area. A man named Dr. James Livingston, who was an African American arrived in the region and was a veterinarian. Some of the other African-Americans who arrived prior to 1920 were the Ferguson, McKelvy, Hall, Moore, and the Kemp families.
The Japanese and Chinese immigrants were business owners and farmers in Mesa. The majority of them arrived in approximately 1910. The man who was the mayor of Mesa Between 1992 and 1996, was named Willie Wong, as well as being the first Asian-American mayor of a major community, The Homs, Yees, and Lees, were some of the other Chinese families in Mesa by 1900. The early Japanese included the Nishida, Sugino, Okazaki, Ishikawa, and the Ikeda, families. By the early 1890's, the Hispanics were in the region. The Mendoza, Garcia, Aros Castro, and Candelaria, and Aros families also settled in the area.
In 1941, Williams Air Force base and Falcon Field Airport were constructed in order provide training for WW II pilots, Williams Air Force base was utilized for United States pilots, while Falcon Field was utilized for the British Royal Air Force. Following the end of the war, several military families, that included a man named John J Rhodes, later became the minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, and resided in Mesa.
Air conditioning came into more common use and tourism also began as a major force in the late 1940's. The decade of the industry and brought more Industry and commerce to Mesa, including some of the early aerospace companies. However, until 1960, over 50% of the residents earned their living indirectly or directly from cotton, citrus, and farming. Between the 1960's and the 1990's there were considerably more high-tech companies, and there are currently more than 1oo of these high-tech companies. Between the 1980's, and the 1990's, the health facilities expanded, in order to service the larger population.
There are many different important historical structures in Mesa that still exist. Constructed in 1895, the Sirrine House is an attractive brick structure that is located at 160 North Center, and was rebuilt by the community of mesa as well as the Mesa Historical Society. Constructed in 1913, the previous Lehi School is the oldest standing schoolhouse in Mesa. Currently, the Mesa Historical Museum, which was the former elementary school, is located at Horne and Lehi Streets.
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