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In the late 1800s what is now known as Glendale, Arizona, was all desert. William John Murphy, a native of New Hartford, New York, who resided in the town of Flagstaff in what was then known as the territory of Arizona, was in charge of building a 40-mile-long (64 km) Arizona Canal from Granite Reef to New River for the Arizona Canal Company. In 1885, he completed the canal, which would bring water to the desert land. Murphy was deep in debt, since he had agreed to be paid in Arizona Canal Company stock and bonds and land instead of cash.
William John Murphy - Founder of Glendale
In 1887, Murphy formed the Arizona Improvement Company. His objective was to sell the land and water rights south of the canal. Murphy raised capital from out of state sources in order to meet payroll and construction expenses. Murphy decided to refer to this land as "Glendale". In order to develop and interest potential investors and settlers in this new town, Murphy decided to provide a better way of access from Phoenix to Glendale and ending in the town of Peoria by building an 18-mile-long (29 km) diagonal road which he named Grand Avenue.
In 1891, Burgess Hadsell worked with Murphy to bring 70 Brethren and River Brethren families to Glendale to form a temperance colony. Soon settlers, attracted by the town's ban on alcoholic beverages, continued to arrive. In 1895, Murphy platted the original town site and amended the plat to include a town park and some business lots. It was bounded by Lamar Road on the south, 55th Avenue on the east, Myrtle Avenue on the north, and 59th Avenue on the west. The construction of a railroad from Prescott to Phoenix was made possible with an exchange of the right-of-way made by Murphy along Grand Avenue. The railroad allowed Glendale settlers to transport goods to the north and easily receive building materials.
The construction and commercial applications of the Beet Sugar Factory in 1906, also contributed to the growth of Glendale. Though the operations of the factory only lasted until 1913, it played an important role in the increase of immigrant and migrant settlers in the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.8 square miles (145 km2), of which, 55.7 square miles (144 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.13%) is water.
There were 79,114 households, out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 30.1% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,015, and the median income for a family was $51,162. Males had a median income of $35,901 versus $27,736 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,124. About 8.8% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
Downtown Glendale with Glendale Glitters around Christmas
The fountain area of the Westgate Entertainment District
Glendale is the site of two major sports venues: State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena. Both venues are part of the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District development plan, meant to spur growth in the sparsely inhabited Yucca district. Both venues are owned by the City of Glendale.
This 1917 Nash Fire Truck was the first motorized fire truck of the Glendale Fire Department. The truck was manufactured by the Nash Motors Company and is on exhibit at the Glendale Training Center located at 11330 W. Glendale Ave. in Glendale, Arizona.
The city of Glendale has a roughly average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 8.4 percent of Glendale households lacked a car, and increased slightly to 9 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Glendale averaged 1.72 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers with Martha McSally in 2020
There are numerous properties in the city of Glendale which are considered to be historical and have been included either in the National Register of Historic Places or the listings of the Glendale Arizona Historical Society. At the end of the article are some of these properties with a short description of the same.
Historical Glendale, Arizona (NRHP = National Register of Historic Places) (GAHS=Glendale Arizona Historical Society-listed)
Beet Sugar Factory Building, built in 1906 (NRHP)
Main mansion of the Manistee Ranch, built in 1897 (NRHP)
Main mansion in Sahuaro Ranch, built in 1886 (NRHP)
First National Bank of Glendale, built in 1906 (NRHP)
E.C. Bunch House, built in 1898 (NRHP)
George O'Dowdy Rental Cottage, built in 1926 (NRHP)
Glendale Woman's Club, structure built in 1912 (NRHP)
Jonas McNair House, built in 1897 (NRHP)
C.H. Tinker House, built 1913 (NRHP)
Glendale Grammar School One-Room Class Building, built in 1920 (NRHP)
Glendale High School Auditorium, built 1939 (NRHP)
Santa Fe Railroad Depot, built in 1895. The building serves as the offices of BNSF-MOW (Burlington Northern Santa Fe - Maintenance of Way) (GAHS)
Murphy Park. The turn of the century town clock (pictured) was dedicated in 1987 to the memory of Thelma Renick Heatwole (1912-1991), who covered life in the Glendale community for more than 40 years as a newspaper reporter. The park is located at 58th & Glendale Avenues and has a public library.
The Forney House, built in 1893, is the second oldest house in Glendale, Arizona. It is located at 7534 North 61st Avenue. The oldest house in Glendale is the Adobe house located in Saguaro Ranch.
The historic William John Murphy House was built in 1895 and is located at 7514 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, Arizona. Even though the house is not located in Glendale, it served as the residence of William J. Murphy who created the Arizona Improvement Company in 1887 and bought land in areas that would eventually become the towns of Peoria and Glendale. The house is listed as historic by the Phoenix Historic Property Register.
The historic Thunderbird Control Tower was built in 1941 and served as the Air Control Tower and Officers' quarters during the operation of the Thunderbird 1 Army Air Field, in Glendale. There American, British, Canadian and Chinese pilots trained during WWII. The air field was deactivated in 1945 and is now occupied by Arizona Christian University which is located southeast of the intersection of West Greenway Road & North 59th Avenue in Glendale, Arizona
Different view of the historic Thunderbird Control Tower. The tower and officer quarters were built in 1941 and served the Thunderbird 1 Army Air Field, in Glendale during WW II
The historic Thunderbird 1 Army Air Field Airplane Hangar was built in 1941