04. The Early Townsite

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    While the local newspapers proclaimed Chandler’s beautiful homes and clean living, in reality the early townsite was quite modest.  In this picture from 1912, the Land Sale office and the grocery store are visible.  The white-roofed buildings are tent houses, which served as temporary housing for people living and working around Chandler.  This photo was taken from approximately the intersection of Chicago and California Streets, looking northeast.  Railroad cars are visible on the far right side of the photo, transporting goods on the railroad tracks that are still located in downtown Chandler near Delaware Street.

    One of the first permanent buildings constructed in Chandler was located on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and San Marcos Place.  Its first occupant was the Bank of Chandler, which opened in February of 1913.  Originally capitalized at $100,000, the Bank received $8,000 of deposits the first day it was open for business.

    A couple of months later, the same corner had grown substantially.  A new two story building first housed the Chamber of Commerce.  Because fire had ravaged other communities during this time, it was an important selling point that each of these buildings was fire-proof.  The Chandler Improvement Company assured that the downtown business corridor would be completely fire-proof.

    While the sales of downtown properties were brisk during Chandler’s earliest days, building remained slow.  In this picture from 1913, the San Marcos and a few businesses appear surrounded by farm fields.  This photo was taken west of the intersection of Chicago and California Streets.   The Chandler Arizonan reported on September 12, 1912 that Chandler’s development was to mirror Pasadena, California.  “The whole plan is in line with the company’s intention to make Chandler the Pasadena of the Salt River Valley.  Pasadena is the most modern and beautiful of the American home cities.”


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