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Peoria City


Peoria City Hall is located at 8401 West Monroe Street, Peoria, AZ 85345; phone: 623-773-7000.

Most of the city is located in Maricopa County; a small portion crosses over into the Yavapai County. New River and Agua Fria River flow through Peoria.

Beginnings [1]

The prehistoric record of Peoria begins primarily with the Hohokam, the indigenous people who inhabited the Salt River Valley about AD 500-1450, although the area was inhabited as early as 10,000 B.C. The Hohokam created an elaborate irrigation system along the Salt River, the New River and the Agua Fria River before their population appears to have dwindled and disappeared.

Hundreds of years later, it would again be irrigation and the promise of plentiful water for farming, this time from the Arizona Canal, which would draw settlers to the area.

The modern-day City of Peoria began near the current intersection Peoria Avenue and Grand Avenue. The original town site was officially platted in 1897, and the early center of Peoria would begin to form on the south side of Grand Avenue where some of the earliest businesses and residences were constructed. However, most of Peoria's early settlers actually lived outside of the town, spread out on large tracts of agricultural land. The young town was well served by its location along Grand Avenue, as a railroad line soon paralleled this major roadway, allowing for goods and people to flow into the town, and for the agricultural products of the area to make their way to larger markets.

Despite its location near Grand Avenue and the Santa Fe railroad spur line, day-to-day living conditions in the Peoria area were harsh and the little town grew slowly. There was not a lot of money to invest in elaborate, professionally designed homes and businesses. As a result, most of the buildings constructed in the area at the turn of the century did not have high architectural value or the durability to withstand years of harsh Arizona summers. The majority of the commercial buildings in Peoria that did survive the first decade of the twentieth century were destroyed by a fire in 1917 that consumed the business district along Washington Street, east of present-day 83rd Avenue.

Unlike Peoria's early commercial buildings, most of its prominent dwellings from the same era were dispersed, built on farms scattered around the settlement away from the center of the community. Many have long since been torn down to make way for new development. Consequently, not many pre-World-War Two era homes have survived to form a significant architectural context. Today, what remains of Peoria's early heritage is contained in a small number of buildings and structures.

  1. City Council, Historic Preservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission, City of Peoria Historic Preservation Master Plan, 2012, www.peoriaz.gov, accessed December, 2014.
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