Peoria, Arizona

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Ruins of a village built by Hohokam people about 1000 years ago at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Peoria, Arizona.

Peoria is a city in Maricopa and Yavapai counties in the US state of Arizona. Most of the city is in Maricopa County. The the northern part is in Yapavai County. It is a major suburb of Phoenix. It was named for Peoria, Illinois because that is where many of the early settlers came from.[1]

In the 2010 United States Census, 154,065 people lived in the city.[2] Peoria is the the ninth largest city in Arizona.[1] Peoria has a Mayor–council government; a mayor and six councilmen who are all elected.[1]

Native Americans[change | change source]

Small groups of hunter-gatherers called Paleo-Indians moved through what would later become Peoria.[3] Spear points found in Peoria date from 10,000–8,000 BC and show there was hunting activity here.[3] About 1500 BC, there was farming here which indicates that semi-nomadic peoples used the area.[3] From about 1–500 AD the peoples here settled into two areas. There were crops being raised here in the Peoria area during the spring and summer.[3] At other times they lived in the upland areas where they gathered seeds, cholla, and cactus fruits.[3]

There is evidence that the Hohokam lived here before 1150 AD.[3] They built their houses out of wattle and daub.[3] Later they used adobe and stone.[3] They vanished after about the mid-1400s.[3] They left almost no clues as to where they went or what happened to their civilization.[3] As late as the 1870s, small bands of Yavapai were farming small pieces of land in the area depending on surface runoff and springs for water.

European settlers[change | change source]

European and American explorers discovered gold in 1863 near Wickenburg, Arizona. This caused a conflict with the Yavapai in the area. Ranchers were attracted to the area because of the grasslands for cattle. Relations with the Yavapai turned to war over the land.[3] This was in part because the American Civil War caused the Army to leave the area.[4] When the army returned, the Yavapai were eventually removed to a reservation.[4]

For about 13 years, the area around what would become Peoria lay vacant.[4] In the late 1880s, four farming families moved to Peoria from Peoria, Illinois, naming the new town after the town they came from.[5] From that time Peoria steadily grew as a farming community. Peoria incorporated in 1954.[5]

Recreation[change | change source]

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a large recreational area that is in Peoria.[1] It serves the entire Phoenix area. Its main feature is the 10,000 acre (40 km² or 15.6 mi²) Lake Pleasant.[1] It is an artificial reservoir that has campgrounds, boating and fishing.[1]

Peoria also is home the Peoria Sports Complex.[1] It is the official spring training facility for the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres.[1] It has the Challenger Space Center and Canyon Raceway.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Peoria, Arizona". CityTownInfo.com. http://www.citytowninfo.com/places/arizona/peoria. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  2. "Peoria Arizona Population". CensusViewer.com. http://censusviewer.com/city/AZ/Peoria. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 City of Peoria, Historic Preservation Master Plan (Peoria: City of Peoria, Arizona, 2012), pp. 9-10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Early Days in Wickenburg and the Vulture Gold Mine". RareGoldNuggets.com. September 28, 2016. http://raregoldnuggets.com/blog/?p=3322. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "A Brief Look at Peoria Through the Years". City of Peoria, Arizona. https://www.peoriaaz.gov/NewSecondary.aspx?id=72774. Retrieved January 8, 2017.