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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
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
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
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.