Early Queen Creek

Downtown Queen Creek — the intersection of Ocotillo Road, which runs east-west, and Ellsworth Road, which runs north-south — as it was in 1972. (Courtesy of town of Queen Creek)

Downtown Queen Creek — the intersection of Ocotillo Road, which runs east-west, and Ellsworth Road, which runs north-south — as it was in 1972. (Courtesy of town of Queen Creek)

 
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 Fourth 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, a 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 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 POW camp in Queen Creek, and Philippine immigrants joined farm laborers in local fields.

Queen Creek in 2014 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 31,000 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.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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