Tolleson is a self-contained community, 10 miles west of
downtown Phoenix. Once dependent on agriculture, Tolleson today
has a strong commercial and industrial base. The city has a stable
population and a friendly reputation. A large percentage of the
population is of Hispanic origin. Tolleson measures about six square
miles and was incorporated in 1929.
W.G. Tolleson of South Carolina founded the town in 1912 on
the site of an old stage station known as Ten Mile Store. One day
he chartered a railroad train to bring potential buyers from Phoenix.
Town lots sold for $50 and Tolleson gave a $5 gold piece rebate to
all buyers who signed contracts. About 80 lots were sold during the
Tolleson, along a major transportation corridor, is served by
Arizona’s most modern highway, the Papago Freeway, which is a
segment of Interstate 10. The Outer Loop Freeway, Arizona 101,
will eventually connect to I-10 in Tolleson at 97th Avenue. The
mainline Southern Pacific Railroad and state Highway 85 also serve
Many businesses are found in Tolleson including Sunland Beef
and Smith Food and Drug, each with more than 500 employees.
Other major employers include Albertson’s, Reckitt & Coleman,
Borden Creamette (pasta), Bay State Milling (flour), Parker-Hannifin
(aerospace), SYSCO Foods, AutoZone, and WIN Cup. There are several
food packing plants and Snapple has a major manufacturing
facility under construction. Other area employers include Luke Air Force Base,
the largest jet fighter training base in the world, and Palo Verde Nuclear
Generating Station, which is 35 miles west of Tolleson.
Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) is just southwest of Tolleson.
Major auto races are held here each year including Skoal
Copperworld in January, Valvoline 200 with Indy cars in April,
Checker in October and NASCAR in November. Other entertainment
events are also held at PIR. Estrella Mountain Regional Park is nearby with more than
19,000 acres and an 18-hole golf course. Camping, hiking, horseback
riding and picnicking are available.
Desert Sky Pavilion is close to Tolleson featuring seating for 18,000, including 6,500 in the reserved section. Approximately 50 major shows are
scheduled there each year. Phoenix metropolitan area attractions include professional
football, baseball, hockey, and basketball; symphony and theater; many museums and a zoo. South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the world, is nearby in south Phoenix. The Gila River Indian Reservation is south of Tolleson at the confluence of the Gila and Salt Rivers. The Pima Indians have lived here for at least 2,000 years.