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This is a town that has totally changed direction since the beginning... Chandler is south of Tempe, west of Queen Creek, north of the Gila River Indian Reservation and Maricopa, and east of Ahwatukee.
In 1891 Dr. Alexander John Chandler, the first veterinary surgeon in Arizona, bought 80 acres south of Mesa. By the beginning of the 1900's his holdings had grown to 18,000 acres, and he decided to draw up a town. With the help of planners and architects, he designed sites then known as Chandler Ranch. On May 17, 1912, he hosted 300 speculators, and sold $50,000 worth of land in one day. He then went one step further, and on November 22, 1913 he opened his resort called the Hotel San Marcos, but the town was built on agriculture. In May of 1920, the Town of Chandler was incorporated, then the primary crops were cotton, grains, and alfalfa. Livestock was raised, and someone got the idea to raise ostriches. Today, Chandler is known for its Ostrich Festival, and lots of people still think about ostriches when they think about Chandler. Unfortunately, the future of the festival is clouded, as the Chandler Chamber of Commerce will not fund it again next year. As the years passed, cotton became the biggest business of all here. During World War I, when long grain cotton was used to make tires and aircraft fabrics, Goodyear Tire Company leased 8000 acres south of town and built the town of Goodyear. In 1941, two months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Army decided to build a fighter training base here, and what is now Chandler Regional Airport was created. In May 1954, the Town became a City.
During the 1980's Chandler tripled in size, and today the population of Chandler tops 120,000. However the city has turned from agriculture to high technology. Motorola and Intel have 4 plants there, and if you are reading this with a computer using the Pentium II chip you have a chip made in Chandler right next to you. Many other high tech firms operate here, and just to make a point, I will quote a statistic from the Arizona Department of Commerce (I normally avoid stats like the Plague), "More than 75 percent of Chandlers 20,000 manufacturing employees are in high tech fields, compared to the national average of 15 percent." Can you see why Chandler tries to call itself the "Oasis of the Silicone Desert?" The San Marcos is still there, but it is now part of the Sheraton scope of operations.
Things to Do:
The Arizona Railway Museum: A must if you like railroads, kinda boring if you don't.
Places to Stay:
Sheraton San Marcos: Yes, this was Mr. Chandler's San Marcos. This is the most "Chandler" hotel in Chandler. A must place to stay, at some point. Prices start at $125.00. 1 San Marcos Place, Call (480)963-6655
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� Copyright 1998 Q87 International & Vincent Davis. All rights reserved.
Last revised: October 30, 1998