Silver Horizon Railcar
Workers install sidewalks in front of the future visitor center in the Silver Horizon railcar from the California Zephyr passenger train off Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. Photo by Brian Petersheim Jr.

As a relative newcomer in Maricopa, I have been surprised by how much there is to do in our town. True, we have no beaches, no amusement parks, no skiing, no whitewater rapids — not a lot of high-adventure. But there are activities and happenings galore going on at any given time.

It’s about to get even better. Maricopa is soon to have a museum.

Every city — especially one that boasts the kind of history Maricopa does — needs a historical society. And Maricopa has a good one. Paul Shirk, president of the organization, said it will soon have its own visitor center and museum.

The Tracy P. MacPherson VFW Post and Bernie G. Crouse American Legion Post have moved from their location at the veterans center on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway to the new Maricopa Community Center after completion of renovations at the old library on Smith-Enke Road.

With the veterans relocated, the City will remodel their former home for the Maricopa Historical Society and a museum. Meanwhile, work continues to transform the historic Silver Horizon train car nearby into a visitor’s center, which would be operated by the Society.

The opening date for the visitor center and museum is still to be determined but Shirk has promised to keep us updated on its progress.


I, for one, am excited to see tangible relics of Maricopa history at the museum. In the coming months, in fact, I’ll be writing a series of articles about the city’s history.

Until recently I didn’t know that much about the story of our town, and you may not know either, so let me give you a preview of coming events.

Did you know that:
• Maricopa was formerly called Maricopa Wells and, later, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction?
• In 1879, Maricopaville was listed as the fastest-growing town in Arizona and was predicted to be the state’s future capital?
• The last major battle fought solely between native tribes of North America was fought near Pima Butte (which you may know as M Mountain)?
• Father Eusebio Kino, the Italian-born missionary and explorer, visited Maricopa Wells in 1694?
• Maricopa Wells was a stage stop for the Butterfield Overland Stage?
• A federal post office was established in Maricopa Wells in 1865? (And they say some letters mailed at that time are just now arriving.)
• The first baby born in Maricopa — after the name was adopted — was named Maricopa?
• In 1910, Maricopa claimed to lead the world in automobile ownership per capita? (The town had a population of 18 and boasted two automobiles.)

There’s lots more, and it’s fascinating stuff. Hope you will join me for the journey.

C.M. Curtis, a bestselling American Western author and historian, has published 11 novels, including eight westerns. Most are set in Arizona. His books are available on Amazon.

This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa magazine.