Visit Mesa – a city steeped in history

Arizona is definitely a wonderful place. The weather is almost perpetually sunny, the people are warm and welcoming, the communities with their carriage-house garage door styles and the sights are amazing.

However, if there is one thing that truly sets Arizona apart is the history of the city of Mesa in Maricopa County. Mesa is the hubbub of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metro. It was home 2,000 years ago to the Hohokam people who are also known as “All Used Up” or “The Departed Ones.” The Hohokam built the largest and most sophisticated canals in Mesa in the prehistorc New World. These canals were up to 90 feet wide, 10 feet deep and extend as far as 16 miles or 26 kilometers across the desert. These canels made possible the delivery of water over 110,000 acres or 459 square kilometers, allowing the transformation of the Sonoram Desert into an agricultural oasis. These canals that were constructed by the Hohokam are so good that they still continue to be in use up to this day.

Meanwhile, present-day Mesa came into being in the late 19th century, when U.S. Army troops subdued the Apache and started settlements. It was Mormon pioneer Daniel Webster Jones who started a Mormon settlement in the area, in the northern edge of Mesa. This settlement was called Jonesville. It was in 1883 when Fort Utah got the name of Lehi, upon the suggestion of Bigham Young, Jr.

At about the same time, the group of Francis Martin Pomeroy, Charles Crismon, George Warren Sirrine and Charles I. Robson arrived in the area and settled at the top of the mesa or tableland, from which the name of the city was derived. Like the Hohokam, they dug irrigation canals and had water flowing by April 1878. Meanwhile, in 1879, the second Mesa company arrived and settled to the west of where the first Mesa company settled, creating the settlement called Stringtown.

Mesa City officially became a townsite on July 17, 1878. The first school was built in the area in 1879. In 1883, it became an incorporated city with 300 inhabitants. When the Falcon Field and Williams Field opened in the 1940s, more military personnel moved into Mesa. Then with air conditioning and tourism, the population grew in the area as well as to the rest of Phoenix.

In the 1950s and 60s, aerospace companies started to settle in Mesa. By late 1960s, half of the residents of Mesa were fueling the agriculture industry. However, through the years, agriculture declined with the city’s suburban growth in track with the Phoenix metropolis.

Currently, Mesa is now the thirs-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 38th largest in the entire United States. As of 2010, it had a population of 439,041 people. It also has great facilities, thriving business industries and great communities. Currently, Mesa plays host to higher education facilities which includes the Polytechnic campus of the Arizona State University.