Maricopa is located 16 miles south of Interstate 10 in western

Pinal County. Over the course of the last 150 years, its location

has changed three times. It’s first site was Maricopa Wells, about 10

miles northwest of the present day Maricopa.

No matter what part of the Territory a traveler was headed, he had

to pass through Maricopa Wells. The community was a hub of mid

1850s activities – a trading center offering water, rest and repairs

for heavily laden stagecoaches passing through the Southwest. The

outbreak of the Civil War brought an end to the mail lines and the

building of a railroad a few miles south was the death knell for

Maricopa Wells.

 

Maricopaville, 3.5 miles west of present-day Maricopa, was born

when a junction was needed to connect the Southern Pacific

Railroad linking Yuma and Tucson with a branch line to Phoenix.

Touted as the “City of the Future", Maricopaville drew investors

from California and elsewhere. However, its prosperity was short-lived.

When Tempe wanted to be on the railroad line in 1887,

Maricopaville was moved to Maricopa’s current location.

Today, Maricopa, which is unincorporated, is quickly growing as

South Mountain residential developments brim over into its rich

agricultural valley.

 

Maricopa’s businesses and industries have traditionally been geared

toward farming and ranching with principal crops being cotton,

produce, citrus, cattle, barley, wheat and alfalfa. The economic

base of Maricopa has been diversifying through companies such as

Volkswagen and Nissan, both of which have proving grounds in the

area. Mobile Mini has supplied approximately 70 jobs in the area.

Additionally, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino with its 700 employees

contributes greatly to the economies of the Maricopa and Ak-Chin

communities.

 

The scenic Estrella Mountains offer desert picnic and rock hounding

areas and petroglyphs. The Estrella Sail port offers introductory and

aerobatic flights and barnstorming rides. Just north is Firebird

International Raceway, featuring three road-racing courses, a drag

strip, and a 120-acre private water-sport lake. Major spectator

motor sports are held on weekends through the year.

The Him-Dak Museum, located in the Ak-Chin Indian Community,

features more than 700 boxes of artifacts, including pottery, stone

tools, projectiles, stone jewelry, carved animal bones and baskets.

The nearby Francisco Grande Resort has an 18-hole golf course.

Other activities include horseback riding, quail/dove hunting, clogging

and cotton gin tours. Annual events include an antique car

show, Stanfield Friendship Days Parade, Maricopa Stagecoach Days

& Parade, fireworks and watermelon bust, and Maricopa

Agricultural Center Bar-B-Q and Air Show. Harrah’s Ak-Chin

Casino offers slot machines, bingo, live entertainment, and dining.