Surprise History

A look at back at Surprise's history on this week

By Independent Newsmedia
Posted 9/11/20

Here is a look at Surprise history through the years on this week, compiled from archives of Independent Newsmedia, Newspapers.com and the city of Surprise historical records:

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Surprise History

A look at back at Surprise's history on this week

Posted

Surprise Almanac

Here is a look at Surprise history through the years on this week, compiled from archives of Independent Newsmedia, Newspapers.com and the city of Surprise historical records:

1937

Dysart School opens for the school year with two new classrooms expected to be added this year to accommodate the area’s development. The school will have eight teachers for the school year, double the number from last year.

1962

A film about Biblical prophecies and nuclear holocausts called “Seconds to Midnight” is shown at the Arizona Camp Meeting and Bible Conference Grounds.

1969

Two members of Dysart’s state championship basketball team from March are killed in a head-on crash during a dust storm on Grand Avenue. Cousins Lonnie Dunbar and Chester Manning were killed in one of the cars.

1974

An Arizona Republic column on unique Arizona names gets picked up on newswires, giving Surprise its first real exposure on an national scale. The story is run in newspapers from coast to coast over the next few months.

1978

A Maricopa County Superior Court jury votes to allow Surprise to keep open its rodeo grounds. Original Surprise councilman Don Blankenship, who lives right next to it, had sued the city to have the grounds shut down as a public nuisance, asking for $50,000 in damages. The three-day trial ended a three-year-old lawsuit.

1990

Mayor Roy Villanueva appoints five members to a subcommittee to plan for the town’s proposed airport project off Grand Avenue about nine miles north of Sun City West.

1997

Surprise annexes the right-of-way along Litchfield Road between Bell Road and Grand Avenue as part of an inter-government agreement with Maricopa County.

1998

Surprise dedicates its second fire station at 18600 N. Reems Road, which will double as a police substation.

2000

The city asks for public input about a proposed Senior Center, which is expected to be completed by September 2001. The 5,550-square-foot-facililty comes with a price tag of $750,000.

2001

The 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. forces the city to cancel meetings this week by the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the annual Fiestas Patrias celebration. Surprise residents respond to the tragedy by swarming Red Cross blood donation centers. Area students collect money in classes to help raise money for the charity group. 

2006

The City Council approves a construction contract for the $6.7 million tennis and racket facility, which it hopes to have opened by May 2007. Community and Recreation Services director Mark Coronado begins attempts to bring USTA tournaments to Surprise. The planned facility already has a director in former Wimbledon mixed doubles champ John Austin.

2007

Surprise holds its first mail-in election. There are no polling places open on Election Day, but residents drop off ballots at the city clerk’s office. Only Roy Villanueva receives enough votes to not force a runoff in November.

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