Named for its location on the bend of the Gila River, Gila Bend is an unusual community. It lies along a travel corridor used for centuries by American Indians, Catholic missionaries, American and French trappers, Spanish and Mexican settlers, military expeditions, and forty-niners.
Beginning in the 1870s as a stage station, the town soon evolved into an important railroad changeover point in the 1880s. When the national highway system developed in the 1920s, the town was perfectly situated to provide automobile services. But when the technology in these two travel industries changed, Gila Bend suffered an economic downturn, restricting its population to around 2,000 people, while the nearby Phoenix metropolitan area grew by millions.
In the 21st century, Gila Bend is on the cusp of a new era, as it is now the home to one of the world’s largest solar power projects.
Highlights of Gila Bend include:
• Trains, Planes and Doodle Bugs
• Gila Bourgeois
• Gila Building
• Gila Bend: Then and Now
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com.
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.
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With more than 7,500 local history titles published to date, Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Widely recognized sepia books feature hundreds of vintage historical images.