Founded in the spring of 1912, Chandler, Arizona began as the private property of a veterinary doctor, Dr. Alexander John Chandler. Dr. Chandler brought veterinary medicine to Arizona, being the first doctor in the territory to serve animals in a healing capacity. Upon his arrival to the area in 1891, he found 80 acres of land outside of the town of Mesa that was being sold by the government. He purchased it, intending to use it for his study of irrigation in the otherwise arid land. By trial and error, he did, indeed, develop a canal system, making the land usable for agricultural purposes.
By 1912, the Chandler land had ballooned to over 18,000 acres and Dr. Chandler developed a problem. According to the local laws, individual landowners could only be granted enough water shares to care for 160 acres. Dr. Chandler had thousands of acres of land that he was unable to productively employ. To solve this problem, Alexander Chandler decided to make his land available to other citizens and subdivided his acreage into a township. Because of his savvy advertising campaign, 300 people responded to his opportunity, totaling $50,000 in sales on the first day.
Dr. Chandler carefully planned the layout and look of his new city, using designs that were very unusual for his time. The city was plotted with a beautifully landscaped park in the middle, surrounded by businesses and homes. While the town's founding only welcomed three crude buildings, he built in a code that ensured that quick growth would take place. Upon purchase, each new owner had a year to complete the building of their home. His idea worked, as a year later, the desert was blossoming and Chandler had a beautiful hotel, as well as homes and flourishing businesses.
Less than a decade after the founding of Chandler, Arizona, the town was the home of more than 1,000 people.
The local economy was built around agriculture, growing essentials such as cotton, alfalfa and various grains. Because of this strong agricultural base, the Great Depression went largely unnoticed in the immediate area. In fact, the agricultural roots in Chandler saw the introduction of a municipal neighbor during World War I, as nearby Goodyear, Arizona sprung up, using Chandler's cotton to manufacturer tires that were desperately needed by the growing war effort.
During the 1930s and 1940s, great changes took place in the look and feel of Chandler, as new engineering was needed for the town's center to accommodate the influx of motorized vehicles. A highway and an air force base were added around this time, greatly changing the dynamics of the town.
The founder of Chandler, Arizona passed away in 1950, just in time to see the population surge to 3, 800 residents. Shortly after, the town was given a new designation as a city. To town continues to grow today, though the economic base is now a mix of agriculture, manufacturing and technology. Tourists favor the area for its family friendly events and true hometown feel. Chandler boasts a fully restored downtown area, as well as attractions such as a Center for the Arts and family festivals. Chandler residents promote environmentally friendly living through their green living workshops, as well as local and organic food in their state-of-the-art farmer's market.