Heritage Reflects Ties To The Land
Agriculture and the bounty of the land continue to support the foundation upon which Queen Creek plans and builds its future. The fertile valley below the San Tan Mountains offered a safe haven for the early Indian communities and the homesteaders who farmed and ranched along Queen Creek Wash. Citrus, cotton, pecans, vegetables, and other crops still provide for area families, and the wash is a key element in the Town's plan for future recreational trails and open space.
By the time Arizona became a state in 1912, a true community had been formed in Queen Creek. Residents established traditions of neighborliness and rural fun. Some remember street dances, dips in local swimming holes, and sleeping under the stars during the summer. The general store, church, and post office served as community gathering places, a practice still alive today. Many of the Town's founding families still choose Queen Creek as their home. Their names- Ellsworth, Power, Sossaman, Hawes, Combs, and Schnepf- on area roads help keep Queen Creek's heritage alive. Town dances, picnics, and celebrations remain popular.
The Town's 4th of July celebration evokes fond memories for many residents. In 1946, local farmers Raymond and Thora Schnepf invited family and friends to celebrate the holiday with swimming, barbecue, and fireworks at their home. Raymond flew to Texas to purchase the fireworks, which were unavailable in Arizona. The event was later taken over by other community groups. Longtime residents also remember the switch at Rittenhouse and Ellsworth roads where they could flag down a train, called a dinky, which consisted of a engine and coach. After paying their fare, they could hop aboard for a ride into Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, or Tucson. Nearby, the Ellsworth family built housing for farm workers and a general store where workers used their script pay to shop for goods.
In the 1920s, Queen Creek experienced an influx of of immigrants who had moved from Mexico to work as miners in southern Arizona. They picked the local cotton crop by hand until the cotton gin came to Queen Creek during the 1920s. In the 1940s, former German prisoners of war from the P.O.W. camp in Queen Creek and Philippine immigrants joined farm laborers in local fields.
Today Queen Creek is preparing for new additions to its rich cultural diversity. The rapid expansion experienced by nearby cities in the 1980s continues today. The Town of approximately 24,000 citizens faces inevitable growth. It incorporated in 1989 to preserve the benefits of rural life while providing an avenue for managed change. Residents seek to preserve the Town's friendly, small town spirit while providing economic and recreational opportunities and a high quality of life.