In 1891, Dr. Alexander John Chandler, the first veterinary surgeon in Arizona Territory, settled on a ranch south of Mesa, studying irrigation engineering. By 1900, he had acquired 18,000 acres (73 km2) of land, and began drawing up plans for a townsite on what was then known as the Chandler Ranch. The townsite office opened on May 17, 1912, the same year that Chandler High School was established. The townsite was bounded by Galveston Street on the north, Frye Road on the south, Hartford Street on the west, and Hamilton Street on the east. By 1913, a town center had become established, featuring the Hotel San Marcos, the first golf resort in the state.
Most of Chandler’s economy was successfully sustained during the Great Depression (a second San Marcos hotel was canceled due to the Depression however), but the cotton crash a few years later had a much deeper impact on the city’s residents. Later, the founding of Williams Air Force Base in 1941 led to a small surge in population, but Chandler still only held 3,800 people by 1950. By 1980, it had grown to 30,000, and it has since paced the Phoenix metropolitan area’s high rate of growth, with vast suburban residential areas swallowing former agricultural plots. Some of this growth was fueled by the establishment of manufacturing plants for communications and computing firms such as Microchip, Motorola and Intel.
Since the early 1990s, the City of Chandler has experienced exponential growth, ranking among the fastest-growing municipalities in the country. Indeed, nearly 100,000 homes dot the landscape today and the population has surged to more than 238,000 residents. The heart of Chandler remains its revitalized historic downtown, which includes the award-winning Chandler City Hall and a Center for the Arts. In 2010, Chandler was named as an All-America City, bestowed by the National Civic League. Chandler was the only Arizona winner for the 61st annual awards. In 2012, the city celebrated its 100th birthday. Centennial events were planned throughout the year.