Marana, at an elevation of 2,055 feet and located one mile

north of Tucson, combines a pleasant rural community with a

bustling commercial expanse. Marana has long been a transportation

center for farming and ranching. Today, Marana blends its traditional

agricultural economy with residential, commercial and

industrial development.

 

The Marana area has been prime farmland for centuries.

Located where Brawley Wash joins the Santa Cruz River, Indians

used the dependable water supply to grow corn, beans, squash and

cotton. The Spanish came about 1700 and started the first cattle

ranches. “Modern” Marana began in 1881 with the railroad. Back

then the area was overgrown with dense mesquite thickets. Thus

the name Marana is derived from the Spanish word maraña, meaning

“impassable tangle” or “jungle.”

 

Incorporated in 1977, Marana has approximately 70-plus

square miles within its boundaries and is the main trade center and

community focus for a vast rural area covering approximately 500

square miles. Agriculture remains a major force in Marana's economy.

Irrigated farms grow a variety of crops and a large cotton gin pro-vides

employment. Marana has recently experienced an influx of

residential and commercial development. There are various reasons

for the influx of business: Marana is ideally located between

Phoenix and Tucson along Interstate 10 and the Union Pacific

Railroad, it does not impose property taxes, and it has a business-friendly

town government.

 

Cement production at a plant in Rillito in the Marana area sup-plies

a number of jobs. Some employment in mining is available

with the Silver bell district to the west and the San Manuel copper

mines and smelter to the east.

 

With the expansion of the town through annexation, more

commercial employment opportunities have been created. The

southern portion, adjacent to Tucson, is rapidly becoming the commercial

business district. The industrial park at Continental Ranch

has recently seen the addition of several organizations, including a

corporate regional headquarters and the local CBS affiliate.

Pinal Air Park (Evergreen), just north of Marana, built in World

War II was then called Marana Army Airfield. Today the repair and

servicing of aircraft, including retrofitting 747s, provides substantial

employment. Marana also accommodates Arizona's first privatized

correctional treatment facility, which employs more than 100.

 

Many other recreational opportunities are within an hour's drive of

Marana. Picacho Peak State Park, an early landmark and site of

Arizona's only Civil War battle, is 15 miles north. Its camping, picnic

areas and nature trails are noted for colorful spring wildflowers. In

the Santa Catalina Mountains is Catalina State Park, 20 miles east.

Saguaro National Monument (west portion) is a few miles south.

Within the monument is the world famous Arizona Sonora Desert

Museum with native wildlife exhibits. The Marana Chamber of

Commerce offers agricultural tours of Marana’s rich farmland. In

addition, Trico Cotton gin, Quality Aviation’s crop dusting operation,

and Marana Stockyards/Livestock Auction are a few of the

attractions also available for excursions. Other local attractions

include Biosphere II, Kitt Peak, Pima Air Museum, and the San

Xavier Mission.