16. McQueen Road

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    McQueen Road runs north/south through Chandler and Mesa. The name McQueen comes from an old ranching family in the area. In the early 1900s, A.C. McQueen owned an eighty-acre ranch just south of Mesa on which he grew cantaloupes, a popular crop at the time. According to Earl Merrill in One Hundred Echoes from Mesa’s Past, A.C. had 200 men employed to gather the melon crop, which turned out to be 25,600 crates worth of melons. A.C. also grew almonds on his property.


    In 1900 however, there was a drought and A.C. McQueen, along with other landowners, dug wells on their property to try to tap into the artesian water. The McQueens did not strike water until after 1300 feet down. They used various methods to bring it to the surface and eventually the well succeeded. In October of 1900, A.C. leased land at Buckeye and put cattle on the land.


    A.C. McQueen was heavily involved in the Republican Party. McQueen was appointed inspector at the Republican Primary Election in 1900, and presided over the Republican Rally on November 2nd of that same year. He was also a member of the Woodmen Club.


    A.C.’s son, Donald T. McQueen was a member of the Bachelor’s Club of Mesa in 1907. Later in life, D.T. was a member of the Freemasons. In 1910, Merrill notes, D.T. saw ominous clouds in the sky. He was in the process of cutting alfalfa hay, and had barely finished cutting his twenty-five acres when over half an inch of rain fell. Luckily, his crop was safe from the water. Seven years later, he purchased 2000 sheep and brought 900 of his flock down to the Valley from Northern Arizona in September. The prices for wool and mutton were high, and no doubt D.T. enjoyed his earnings. That same year, his wife participated in a national food drive to help the war effort at home. She is only listed as Mrs. D.T. McQueen.


    Unfortunately, on the 29th of December 1917, D.T. managed to get himself involved in a car accident. An article on the subject in the Mesa Tribune says that it is a wonder he “is not a mangled corpse at the present time.” That must have been some accident. However, the newspaper reports, D.T. only suffered a scratch on his left eyelid. It is stated in the article that D.T. was driving his Ford into town at about twenty miles per hour, when he hit a stump or some other such object, which in turn caused the car to roll over twice. Two men passing in a car spotted D.T. crawling out of his car and brought him to South Side Hospital, where his injuries were dressed. McQueen then returned home to recuperate.
    The Mesa Tribune for January 31, 1918 carried a small article about a transaction between D.T. McQueen and a Mr. Bert Wingar. D.T. sold his I.V. Cattle Ranch. The ranch was located just east of Fish Creek and stretched to the Four Peaks. It was said that the ranch in the Superstitions was one of the best properties around on which to raise cattle. Wingar got the land, the buildings, and all the cattle for $50,000. In October of 1918, Mrs. D.T. McQueen contributed her time to the Liberty Loan Drive in Mesa, which raised $158,000. No more mention of the McQueen Family is made in the newspaper after that.


    There is also a railroad junction called McQueen; it was a junction for the Chandler Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Phoenix line. Originally, the stop was called Chandler Junction. After the Chandler Junction was moved in 1927, it was renamed McQueen Junction.

    By Melanie Hartmann

     

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