History Of Gilbert

Gilbert, Arizona was the little farming town that nobody thought would grow. With a population of less than 2,000 people when the town was first founded, many were left wondering why the state of Arizona would bother with the tiny piece of land at all. Now, 97 years after Gilbert was declared an official town, it has proved them all wrong. With a population nearly 12 times its original size and an environment suitable for both the old and the young, Gilbert has proved time and time again that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Founded on July 6, 1920, Gilbert had humble beginnings as a small farmers’ town. The locals of the town owe their land to William “Bobby” Gilbert, who homesteaded 160 acres of land across Gilbert on June 10, 1898. A few years later, the Phoenix and Eastern Railroad bought a right-of-way across his property, aiming to build a railway that would reach from Phoenix to Kearny and hit every mining site along the Gila River. The creation of this railroad spurred a boom in Gilbert’s population and economy as workers settled down across the land and people began shipping assorted dairy products to other towns spread across Arizona. 

In 1910, around the time when Gilbert truly started to grow, there was no electricity, paved streets, or running water and toilets. Many locals built sleeping porches outside of their houses in order to get some rest, seeing as there was no ventilation within their residencies. Ayer’s Grocery Store opened its doors for the first time in 1910, and became the site for the first Post Office two years later. The Post Office was moved around regularly for many years until it finally settled on the eastern side of downtown Gilbert Road, where it still resides today. When the canal was established in 1904, alfalfa, cotton and dairy farms flocked to the square mile of and Gilbert had staked as its own. As a result of the extensive farming being down in the area, the small town quickly became known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World” when the farmers decided to begin supplying the U.S. Army with hay for their horses during World War I. 

Word spread throughout the United States over the years of Gilbert’s overall friendly environment to both outsiders and locals, drawing more and more people to move into the town. With a population of only 1,971 in 1970 to a population of an estimated 240,000 today, Gilbert has defied to expectations of anyone who every thought the humble farming town could ever have progressed so far in less than 50 years. The growth of the town hasn’t slowed down yet, with a population forecast of 330,000 in the next decade. Today, Gilbert offers both families and young adults alike a wide range of activities, from well-kept parks to fantastic restaurants to historical museums. Locals boast a fun and exciting time for all who visit this once tiny farming town, and are sure to welcome each newcomer with open arms.


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201 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 311B, Gilbert, AZ 85233

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Dr. Howard Fern, DC, FIAMA, CME
201 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 311B, Gilbert, AZ 85233
(480) 649-5869

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