05. Chandler Heights Road

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    Chandler Heights Road was named for being a major road leading into the Chandler Heights area. Chandler Heights Road runs east/west and is a smaller road located south of Ocotillo Road.

    The City of Chandler was born when Dr. Chandler, a veterinarian, obtained eighty acres from the government. Ten years later Chandler owned a 18,000 acre ranch. In May of 1912 a townsite office was opened and Chandler began selling land. By 1913 Chandler started to look more like a town, with businesses building stores and people building homes. But Dr. Chandler’s pride and joy had to have been the San Marcos Hotel which boasted Governor Hunt of Arizona and Vice President Marshall among its guests.

    Chandler Heights was also the brainchild of Dr. A.J. Chandler. He planned Chandler Heights to be developed into a farming community. In 1928, Chandler and his associates started the development of their new farming community. The Chandler Heights Citrus District was to be the home of the largest orange grove in Maricopa County. The location was perfect; it sat at the base of the San Tan Mountains which provided nourished land and great weather for the citrus trees. Five thousand acres were set aside as a tract for the citrus groves. The groves consisted of Valencia Orange, navel oranges and grapefruit trees.

    Since the town of Chandler Heights was located so far away from the main town of Chandler, Dr. Chandler thought a small community was necessary. He built the town with a Spanish Colonial plaza and stucco homes with red tile roofs. By 1931, the town of Chandler Heights had produced its first crop of fruit. Although the town was producing fruit, there were other events out of the hands of Dr. Chandler. The New York Stock market had crashed and the price of citrus plummeted. The farmers now had to produce and sell enough citrus to satisfy the banks and keep their land. Dr. Chandler was not doing much better; Chandler had mortgaged the San Marcos Hotel in order to pay for Chandler Heights and the San Marcos-in-the-Desert projects. Unfortunately Chandler’s San Marcos Hotel was foreclosed by the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company and the Chandler Improvement Company was put in receivership.

    The road that leads you into Chandler Heights was Hunt Highway that connected Phoenix and Tucson through Florence. The highway was described as, “an excellent highway all the way, part of it being cement-paved.” Chandler Heights road got its name because it was a major road leading into Chandler Heights.

    Chandler now has over 220,000 residents. I don’t think that Dr. Chandler would be disappointed one bit. Chandler Heights still exists today, but is not a large as initially hoped. The area still has the citrus groves and the small town feel. Chandler Heights plays a “significant role in the history and folklore of the area, and is treasured by its residents and neighbors.”

    By Danny Green & Joseph Holmes

     

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