Editor’s Note: Sun City was born in 1960. But long before that occurred there was another development plan for the area where Sun City is located. Few people today know of this part of the history of the area.
One hundred years ago, the Palmborg Colony disappeared from local maps as the land was sold to Goodyear’s Southwest Cotton subsidiary.
The sugar cane and other crops planned for the small farms gave way to fields of cotton eventually known as the Marinette Ranch.
In 1915, the Palmborg Colonization Company of Los Angeles had taken options on land in Marinette, owned by the Southwestern Sugar and Land Company. R.P. Davie was a principal in the company and founder of the “Orchard Town of Marinette.”
The colony was divided into small, 10-acre tracts, and the prospectus listed a great number of crops and animals that could be raised. The price per parcel was $1,400, which included part ownership in the pumping plant and canal system.
“Come where the climate will help you to be healthy and wealthy” was the developer’s lure, along with emphasis on growing crops year-round. Another promise — “Eat grapefruit and be healthy … Raise grapefruit and be wealthy!”
At the time, some 3,000 acres of Marinette were planted in sugar cane while most of the small farmers planted sugar beets instead.
A processing plant was built in Glendale and was the only one in the nation built to process both sugar beets and sugar cane. Apparently, the mill didn’t get enough crops to process profitably and changed ownership several times. In fact, it has been idle far longer than it was in operation.
The Palmborg Colony lasted barely five years and farmers were bought out as Mr. Davie sold his Marinette holdings to the Southwest Cotton Company in 1920.
Visit archive.org/details/palmborgcolony00palmrich to see the detailed promotional brochure distributed by the colonization company.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Allen is a local historian and author of a book detailing the history of Sun City West. He is a former president of the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum.