Surprise History

A look back at Surprise's history on this week

Posted 10/2/20

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 back at Surprise's history on this week

Posted

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:

1953

Flora Statler, the founder of Surprise, dies at 63 at her home in Glendale. Ms. Statler was never fully credited for establishing Surprise until decades after her death. She is also credited with starting nearby El Mirage and Yarnell.

1964

El Mirage owners are voting on a $190,000 bond to modernize the town’s water system and link the water wells of El Mirage and Surprise. El Mirage currently produces all water for Surprise.

1967

Surprise has purchased its first fire truck – a 1947 International pumper truck for $6,570– and organized a five-man volunteer fire department.

1987

A group of angry residents picket outside Surprise Town Hall, chanting “Recall George Cumbie,” referring to the longtime town mayor. Protestors were angry about the city’s new public participation rules during open meetings.

1988

Surprise City Council approves the Greenway Parc subdivision on 600 acres that are up for annexation a month later. About 565 units are planned for the area bounded by Greenway, Reems, Waddell and Sarival roads.

1996

The Surprise Today monthly newspaper begins publishing, giving the growing city its first media source dedicated to Surprise news.

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Sun City Grand official opens for buyers. Developers say when completed in a decade about 20,000 people will be living there, which is double the current Surprise population of nearly 15,000.

1998

Del Webb Corp. moves its administrative building from Sun City West, across Grand Avenue to Reems Road and Mountain View Boulevard, making it the largest employer in Surprise with 540 workers. The Dysart Unified School District with about 500 employees had been the biggest one.

1999

Surprise police make biggest drug bust in its history. They arrest a man on possessing $60,000 worth of rock cocaine and seize guns and cash from him.

2000

Surprise residents express concerns about Grand Avenue’s growing traffic problem a Grand Avenue Northwest Corridor Study meeting.

2001

Utility rates increase in Surprise with a three-year phase-in. Surprise is expecting to use $1.2 million from this year’s general fund to help subsidize utility expenses.

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