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A look back at this week in Surprise history

Posted 9/28/22

Here is a look at Surprise history through the years on this week.

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A look back at this week in Surprise history

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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.

1962

Voters approve a $428,000 bond to construct Dysart School District’s first high school. Dysart High School will be ready for the 1963 school year.

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

Town Manager Nick Bacon asked the Arizona attorney general office to investigate Surprise Mayor George Cumbie’s use of personal phone calls made during non-business hours and allegations he purchased auto parts with town money.

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

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.

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.

Surprise Almanac, history