Maricopa County, situated in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, is one of the oldest and most historic regions in Arizona. It was the sixth county to be ceded in the state, with parts of it being ceded in 1875 and 1881 to form Pinal and Gila Counties respectively. During the 1850s and 1860s, Maricopa Wells was an essential stagecoach relay station for Arizona's first organized semi-public transportation: the San Antonio and San Diego mail line and later, the Butterfield Overland Mail line. Maricopa has had three locations over the years, each playing a significant role in the growth and development of the Southwest. Located on the south bank of the Gila River, Maricopa Wells (Maricopa's first location) was a haven for thousands of immigrants who followed the southern route through Arizona to reach the California gold fields.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park, one of the largest in the Maricopa County Park System, is considered one of the most picturesque with its majestic mountain views. The Hohokam Indians, who evolved from the previous Cochise culture, and more immigrants from Mexico occupied much of Southern Arizona and Maricopa County from about 2000 years ago to 1450 A. D. Maricopa Wells stopped using the second part of her name in 1879 and moved her telegraph and post office eight miles directly south to connect with the South Pacific Railroad and serve as a crossing for two railroads. Maricopa is unique in that it is the only city in America that borders two Native American communities. It celebrates this cultural diversity by embracing American ingenuity and pioneering spirit that has been an integral part of its community for centuries.
Rich in history, natural beauty, and friendly people, Maricopa is an ideal place to raise a family, build a business, or simply enjoy the warm winter weather. The first county elections were held in 1871, when Tom Barnum was elected Maricopa County's first sheriff. Maricopa Wells's most prosperous period was in the 1870s when it provided water and food not only to travelers from east to west but also to those traveling north. Maricopa County, through its regional park system, encompasses considerable areas where many stories originated. It remained a permanent military post until 1890 and was the only fort within the current boundaries of Maricopa County. Visitors can watch an incredible desert sunset in a variety of bright colors in the night sky before it gently fades behind the rugged mountains of the west.