The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means “All Used Up” or “The Departed Ones”, built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World.
Mesa is part of the Phoenix-Mesa metro area with easy access throughout the area via multiple freeways, light rail, and a major bus system. In addition, Mesa has two airports – Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and Falcon Field Airport – and is minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Mesa and the Greater Phoenix area offer an array of amenities and attractions. From the performing arts to major sporting events to unique dining experiences, Mesa has something for everyone.
Mesa Arizona History
The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means “All Used Up” or “The Departed Ones”, built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet (27 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles (26 km) across the desert. By A.D. 1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres (450 km2), transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D. 1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.
After the disappearance of the Hohokam and before the arrival of the early settlers little is known, as explorers did not venture into this area. By the late 19th century near present-day Mesa, U.S. Army troops relocated the Apache, opening the way for settlement.
On July 17, 1878, Mesa City has registered as a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) townsite. The first school was built in 1879. In 1883, Mesa City was incorporated with a population of 300 people. Dr. A. J. Chandler, who would later go on to found the city of Chandler, worked on widening the Mesa Canal in 1895 to allow for enough flow to build a power plant. In 1917, the city of Mesa purchased this utility company. The revenues from the company provided enough for capital expenditures until the 1960s. During the Great Depression, WPA funds provided paved streets, a new hospital, a new town hall, and a library.
After the founding of the city, the elected official that most impacted the municipality was George Nicholas Goodman. He was mayor 5 different times. As mayor, he was directly involved in the process of acquiring land for both Falcon Field and Williams Field.
With the opening of Falcon Field and Williams Field in the early 1940s, more military personnel began to move into the Mesa area. With the advent of air conditioning and the rise of tourism, population growth exploded in Mesa as well as the rest of the Phoenix area. Industry—especially early aerospace companies—grew in the 1950s and 1960s. As late as 1960, half of the residents of Mesa made a living with agriculture, but this has declined substantially as Mesa’s suburban growth continued on track with the rest of the Phoenix metro area.
Popular Attractions in Grande Prairie
The Mesa Arts Center is a performing and visual arts complex in downtown Mesa, Arizona. At more than 210,000 square feet, the $95 million facilities, completed in 2005, is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the state. The Mesa Arts Center encompasses four performance venues, from the intimate 99-seat Farnsworth Studio Theater to the 1,600-seat Ikeda Theater. The center is also home to the Mesa Contemporary Arts, which houses five art galleries with 5,500 sq ft of exhibition space. The facility also features 14 unique visual and performing art classroom studios. Multi-use areas throughout the campus provide both indoor and outdoor gathering and presentation spaces.
The Rose Garden At MCC
The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College is not only a Mesa landmark but a centerpiece for the community, education, and innovative economic initiatives in the East Valley. Students, kindergarten through high school and community college through university, use the Rose Garden as botanical laboratories and study areas.
The Rose Garden at MCC is an excellent example of the unique and outstanding results that can be achieved through one of the Mesa Community College’s communities partnerships. The partnership between the Mesa-East Valley Rose Society and Mesa Community College has resulted in the largest public rose garden in the desert southwest and is the only significant public rose garden begun since 1974. The garden provides a beautiful setting for students and the public to enjoy our nation’s national flower – the Rose.
Mesa Arizona Temple
The Mesa Arizona Temple is the seventh operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located in the city of Mesa, Arizona, it is the first of six LDS temples built or planned in the state.
Mesa Amphitheatre is an outdoor concert venue with lawn seating located in Mesa, Arizona. It opened in 1979 and has a maximum capacity of 4,950 people. The amphitheater has kept its original design since its opening and has become a popular destination for small and big acts alike. Located in central Mesa, it has a tiered lawn large enough to attract popular events, yet intimate enough for everyone to have a good view of the stage.