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The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Office of the Mayor to field Park traces its lineage back 100 years While incorporated in 1987, the City of Litch Life 1917. in this area of the Salt River Valley in Paul Litchfield who began growing cotton d was no electricity, no telephones, no pave there in Litchfield Park was very difficult as ged chan rs, settle ty field, along with other hear roads and no irrigation systems. Paul Litch treand ls cana tion s, paved roads, irriga all of this. They brought electricity, telephone d a new type of sustainable City in which ione envis also field Litch mendous farms. Paul people could live, work and play. has developed along Mr. Litchfield’s original During these past 100 years, Litchfield Park encompassing 3.3 square miles featuring concepts into a beautiful family oriented city s, twelve miles of winding pathways, over thousands of orange trees and mature palm g lake. The city offers a wide variety of thirty-five acres of parks, and a six acre fishin includes residents from all backgrounds and single family and multi-family homes, and taxes, a vibrant community with library and ages. Litchfield Park has quality schools, low a Wigwam Resort with 54 holes of golf, and recreation facilities, the AAA Four-Diamond . iders prov ce servi ty quali and ts uran charming downtown with a choice of resta ty festivals and special events including the Each year Litchfield Park has more than twen in the Park, the spring Fine Art and Culinary annual Library Festival of the Arts, Christmas val, the Kiwanis Fishing Derby and Arts in Festival, The Native American Fine Arts Festi ts have been recognized with numerous the Park outdoor concerts. These special even awards over the years. exciting future. In the next several years we Litchfield Park looks forward to a bright and er area and on restoring Paul Litchfield’s will see progress on developing our City Cent will improve the lifestyle enjoyed by our original La Loma Homestead. Each of these field Park and provide region-wide amenities. residents, add to the allure of living in Litch red that the City he envisioned was recogWe believe that Paul Litchfield would be hono year by Zeppia as the ‘best place to live in nized in 2014 by Movoto and then again this field’s original vision. Arizona.’ These awards pay tribute to Mr. Litch bled to celebrate our 100th birthday. We hope you enjoy the events we have assem recognition to the organizing I want to provide a special note of thanks and of our local community who worked committee comprised of 30 plus members ment this celebration. for more than six months to plan and imple Sincerely, Thomas L. Schoaf Mayor of Litchfield Park


Celebrating 100 Years

The City of Litchfield Park

Get to Know Litchfield Park, Arizona In 1858 a report made to Congress described Arizona as “The region is altogether valueless. After entering it, there is nothing to do but leave.” With the addition of Litchfield Park, this idea was challenged. The City of Litchfield Park is a beautiful city within 3.3 square miles, located just 15 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Paul Weeks Litchfield designed this community 100 years ago with wide boulevards lined with now towering palm trees and beautiful orange trees. The present day City has twelve miles of winding pathways, over thirty-five acres of parks, a six acre fishing lake, and open spaces surrounding the AAA Four-Diamond Wigwam Resort and its 54 holes of golf. This 1918 historic retreat is known as an “oasis in the desert.” Next to the Resort, the community features a quaint downtown with a choice of restaurants and services such as dentists, financial planners, realtors, a law practice, an exercise gym, hairdressers, martial arts learning center, and a barbershop. A range of community facilities include a recreation center with swimming pool, tennis courts and basketball court, preschool, a library and six parks with baseball and soccer fields. These facilities are open to the public. As of 2015, the estimated population of Litchfield Park was 5,533 and the median age of residents was 45. The median household income was $84,191 with 94.2% of all residents having a high school degree or higher. Litchfield Park was designed for sustainability with houses of all sizes. There are apartments, condominiums, patio homes, small homes, homes on the golf courses, gated community homes, and million dollar homes, with the median home value in 2014 of $262,300. Quality assisted living and independent living facilities are also available. In the early 1960’s a group of residents had the vision to develop programs that would pave the way for Art and Culture to enhance the quality of life in this neighbor friendly community.

As early as 1962 an Art League was born in Litchfield Park followed by a singing group and then the idea to create an umbrella group called the Cultural Arts Society/West (CAS/West). CAS/West continued throughout the 1970’s and 80’s and provided a variety of concerts, plays and other entertainment in the community. In the late 1980’s another group was formed to continue the work that CAS/West had begun. The West Valley Arts Council was born and it continues to provide art and entertainment value to the West Valley today. When the City of Litchfield Park incorporated, the City recognized the value of the Arts to our community and a City sponsored Art and Culture program was developed. Litchfield Park has become known for its award winning special events, concerts, festivals, and celebrations that take place over the year. Many of the more than twenty events held annually have been recognized with awards of excellence. Two other community volunteer organizations contributed greatly to the quality Recreation programs we have today. The Litchfield Park Youth Association (LPYA) was formed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. LPYA provided all types of recreation activities for youth using the Litchfield Recreation Center facilities and classrooms in the Litchfield Elementary School. After the City incorporated in 1987, LPYA gave way to Friends of the Rec, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing youth and family recreation activities to the Litchfield Park School District. As the City developed, it expanded its recreation programs and today offers quality recreation to our residents and citizens of our surrounding communities. It can be said today, that Litchfield Park is a vibrant and growing community; a great place to live, work and play. Mr. Litchfield would have been proud of his City when it received the 2014 Movoto’s rating as the #1 “Place to Live in Arizona”.

“Place to Live in Arizona” The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Paul W. Litchfield

Paul W. Litchfield, the founder of Litchfield Park, was a very innovative and professional businessman. His individual achievements and contributions to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company were considered the most significant to the success and stature of the company. Mr. Litchfield was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 26th, 1875. His father was a Mayflower descendent of George Soule and Myles Standish and his mother, from Maine, came from a banking and seafaring background. In 1896, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He started a career in manufacturing and his first job in 1897 was at a company that produced bicycle tires. He later worked for New York’s Fifth Avenue bus line. It was because of his success that Mr. Frank A. Seiberling, co-founder of Goodyear, offered Mr. Litchfield a job as plant superintendent on July 15, 1900, for a salary of $2,500 a year. Mr. Litchfield’s job was to develop a superior automobile tire and improve bicycle and carriage tire production. In 1901, he designed the straight side tire, in 1903, he patented a pneumatic tire, and by 1905, he had improved the tire enough that 4

Celebrating 100 Years

Goodyear was selling tires as original equipment for automobiles. The success of the straight side tire led Goodyear to supremacy in the tire and rubber industry. Other innovations and achievements by Mr. Litchfield came when he designed the original non-skid tire and established a Research and Development Department. In 1908, Mr. Litchfield was awarded three patents for an interchangeable rim, a new method of laying plies in tires, and a new vulcanizing mold. He branched into air transportation by building the first practical airplane tire. His interest in aviation led to the famous Goodyear blimps, also dirigibles, and Navy airships. He established the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation to make airplane parts. This expanded into a contract for Corsair fighters, which made Goodyear one of the 10 largest producers of aircraft during World War II. Mr. Litchfield was innovative within the Corporation by emphasizing management training, establishing an eight-hour workday, and a pension plan. He led the company into pioneering work in pneumatic tires for trucks. His leadership paved the way for interstate trucking. In 1926, the first contract was signed for tire distribution with a mass- merchandiser, Sears Roebuck & Company, revolutionizing the marketing of tires. Mr. Litchfield’s career spanned 59 years with Goodyear; he was named a member of the Board of Directors in 1906; Factory Manager in 1911; Vice President of Production in 1915 and the seventh President of the company in March 1926. Mr. Litchfield was named Goodyear’s Chief Executive Officer and was elected Chairman of

the Board in 1930. He remained President for 20 years and CEO another 26 years. He retired as Chairman of the Board in October 1958. Less than six months after retiring as chairman, he died on March 18, 1959 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. His writings include an autobiography Industrial Voyage, Autumn Leaves his philosophy of life, and The Industrial Republic a philosophy of industrial relations. In his lifetime, Mr. Litchfield was presented several special awards. He received the Spirit of St. Louis medal for accomplishments in aeronautics and was inducted into The Automotive Hall of Fame. He helped Goodyear to become an international company and he received many awards from foreign countries. He created the first Boy Scout Air Troop and served as an executive board member for the Boy Scouts of America. His love for scouting is evident in Litchfield Park as he dedicated our local Scout Lodge in 1954 and it is still active today. He served for 30 years on the Board of the University of Akron in Ohio. The University awarded Mr. Litchfield an honorary Doctor of Science Degree in 1946. He was president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association and a director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. When Mr. Litchfield was celebrating his 50th anniversary with Goodyear, the company produced its 500 millionth tire. Mr. Litchfield was the only company employee who had been involved in producing every single tire. We in Litchfield Park are privileged to have Paul Weeks Litchfield as our Founder. The City of Litchfield Park

Arrival of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 1917 Pl an ting Cotton

Litchfield Park had a unique start as it grew out of the need for long staple cotton. The transportation industry was just getting started and Mr. Litchfield could see the great potential for tires on cars, trucks, and buses. In 1903, Mr. Litchfield had designed and patented a pneumatic tire that needed long staple cotton fiber to give the cord strength. The best grade of long staple Pima Cotton came from Egypt, but German U Boats cut off the supply from Egypt during World War II. The major cotton crops in the United States were in Georgia and South Carolina and they had been infested with boll weevils. The cotton for his pneumatic tire was urgently needed and the only way to get the needed cotton was to plant it themselves. Mr. Litchfield studied the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that said Arizona was compatible to Egypt in climate and soil conditions and cotton would grow there. Mr. Litchfield convinced Goodyear’s board of directors to start a cotton operation in Arizona. Dr. A. J. Chandler, a Veterinarian from Chandler, Arizona leased 8,000 acres to Goodyear. The Chandler operation was known as Goodyear and the area is now called Ocotillo. This was a successful start, but more cotton was needed. The tiremaker formed a new subsidiary, the Southwest Cotton Company. They purchased land at Grant and 7th Street in Phoenix and built a Southwest Cotton Company office. This gave the company an office to purchase cotton from local cotton growers. There was still a need for more cotton and this

brought Mr. Litchfield to the West Valley of Phoenix. An early group of settlers from California had settled in the area of Litchfield Park in 1910. They had cleared around 5,000 acres of desert land. When Mr. Litchfield arrived in 1916 they were willing to sell their land for as little as $25 an acre. The total land purchase in the Litchfield Park area was 16,000 acres to plant more cotton. The Southwest Cotton Company brought in 2,500 men and 1,200 mules to start clearing the desert. Workers were brought in from Mexico, Texas, the Indian Reservations, and the local area. The land was cleared with mules by dragging railroad ties as scrapers. Iron wheeled gasoline engine tractors were used to provide power for clearing the desert of cactus, sagebrush, mesquite, and other vegetation. Planting started in January 1917 after approximately 3,500 acres were cleared and leveled. By September 1917, 750,000 pounds of cotton had been produced. One year later 6,734,000 pounds of cotton were picked. By 1919 there were 10,000 acres cultivated by the company and thousands under lease. In 1921 they had 38,000 acres with the purchase of the Marinette Ranch. That year 30% of Arizona’s total cotton crop was handled by the Southwest Cotton Company. Cotton production was so good that 18 long staple roller cotton gins were built in the area. An eight-press cotton oil mill built in Phoenix in 1918 was enlarged in 1920 to handle 124 tons of cotton seed a day. Goodyear produced this “White Gold” for its new pneumatic tires.

“Clearing the Desert” The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Southwest Cotton Company’s The Southwest Cotton Company initially brought in up to 2,500 men to prepare the land and get the planting started. The first migrant workers were recruited from Mexico and came to work for six months by permission of the U.S. Immigration Authority. As the land was cleared and more workers were needed they were brought in from Mexico by the Arizona Cotton Growers Association under the U.S. Immigration Authority. Many of the Mexican immigrants stayed on the Litchfield Ranch and became U. S. citizens. The workforce included many local area residents and workers who were recruited from the

drought stricken areas of Texas. Native Americans and the Yaqui Indians from the Village near Guadalupe and Scottsdale, Arizona became part of the workforce. The farm workers were treated well and camps were built to house them. The workers were housed in tents the first

year. The tents were replaced by small Adobe homes that were erected by the Air Line Canal. These homes were removed in 1929 when the workers were moved into new camps outside of Litchfield Park. The Camps were named Camp 50, 51, 52, 53, and 54 and were located throughout the farm. Entire families pitched-in to pick the cotton and they were paid by the pound. Despite the limitations of hand labor, in 1919 over six million pounds of cotton were picked. The Southwest Cotton Company provided the labor to create a new landscape in the area. They drilled dozens of wells, made concrete irrigation ditches, and

The Development of

Litchfield Park, AZ

In 1918, Mr. Litchfield and famous Phoenix Architect L. G. Knipe designed and planned the city’s layout. The main street developed running north/south was named Litchfield Road and the one east/west was Agua Fria Street, now known as Old Litchfield Road and Wigwam Boulevard. City blocks were zoned for business, residences and recreation. Residences were north of the business zone. The first permanent houses were frame buildings on the west side north of the business district and stucco houses were built on the east side on a semi-circular street called Plaza Drive. This is the time that extensive landscaping of the entire town began. Mr. Litchfield felt, “It costs little more to make anything beautiful rather than merely functional.” Trees and shrubs were set out to provide shade and beauty and two rows of palm trees were set out along the main streets. Sidewalks and streets were added in 1919, but were not paved until 1935. The streets were graded with a border in the center. This layout was the beginning of a lifestyle that has continued through generations. In 1918, the first business was an original company store built on the corner of Litchfield Road and Agua Fria Street, which had groceries, general 6

Celebrating 100 Years

merchandise, and drugs. A restaurant, pool hall, and a barbershop were also built along side of the store. The flagpole in the center of downtown was established when the business center was first developed. The business center was destroyed by fire in 1918 and was rebuilt in 1920 as a larger store with a post office. The Wigwam, as we know it today, was called The Organizational House and was built as a place for Goodyear executives to stay when they came to visit the farms. In 1917, the Litchfield School started in a temporary building in the back of a cook shack. The St. Thomas Aquinas Mission Church was built on the corner of the school grounds in 1918 -19. A hospital was built in 1918 because of the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed one in ten Arizonians. The Goodyear Farms cemetery was started as the Flu epidemic grew. The permanent town site included a complete water system for domestic use and a modern sewage system. In 1918, water mains were laid out to all parts of the town and a 325,000 -gallon reservoir was built on the hill at La Loma, the home site of Mr. Litchfield. This system was completed in 1921. Current day Litchfield Park remains a unique area that has lasted a century. The City of Litchfield Park

Work Force dug a 325,000- gallon reservoir. They laid gas lines and built electrical connectors. They built 154 miles of roads, laid a fourmile railroad spur, erected 118 miles of utility and 42 miles of telephone lines. The camps were rapidly filled with cotton workers. By 1920, hundreds of people made their home in company- built houses. The company business thrived and cotton workers and their families attended churches, schools, and convalesced in hospitals provided by the company. The area flourished with a new landscape and cotton was the key to new growth.

“Entire families pitched-in to pick the cotton and they were paid by the pound. Despite the limitations of hand labor, in 1919 over six million pounds of cotton were picked.�

The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Litchfield Elementary School History The Litchfield Elementary School had an interesting beginning as its first eleven students started classes on October 9, 1917 in an old cook shack. It had a wooden floor, a double roof, and canvas side flaps. This school was started by J. L. Rayner who had moved from California and settled in the area of the Agua Fria River. The area developed quickly and under the direction of Mr. Rayner the Litchfield School District #79 was established on June 25, 1917. Mrs. Mabel Padgett, wife of John Padgett a surveyor for Goodyear, was the first teacher. Mr. Rayner arranged for seats, equipment, and textbooks. The school’s enrollment increased daily and by January 1, 1918, enrollment had reached 80 children. Plans were made to select a permanent school site. The site chosen was the corner of Old Litchfield Road and Agua Fria Street, which is now Wigwam Boulevard. To finance the new buildings a school bond for $6,000 was voted in on August 1, 1918. Plans were made to build four one-room adobe buildings on the school site. Mrs. Padgett occupied the first adobe building and the second year the second one was built. A total of four were built in three years and the school had a total of four teachers. In 1920, a Spanish language elementary school was formed in the Mexican housing area. This was to support the children who did not yet speak English. This school was eventually moved into the Litchfield School. In 1925, the community leaders saw the need for a high school for the older boys and girls. Phoenix Union High School was the closest area high school and transportation was a problem. L.D. Shumway, the principal of Peoria High School was em-


Celebrating 100 Years

ployed and the ninth grade was taught that year in a temporary building off campus. Mr. Litchfield was a strong supporter of education and under his leadership a local high school district was established in the spring of 1928. A $36,000 bond issue was approved on May 1, 1928 for a building program. All high school grades were offered in the fall of 1928. The high school was completed that year and dedicated to Mr. Litchfield as it was believed his influence had made the school possible. Forty high school students occupied this building and from that time school enrollment increased rapidly. In 1935, a $7,000 bond issue was voted into the Elementary School District and another building was added. Mr. Shumway was principal of the Litchfield Schools from 1928-1947 and during his administration he added sports and music programs to the school. During Mr. Shumway’s time as principal the school became one of the outstanding schools of its size in the valley. His success was attributed to the high quality of teachers on his staff. In 1954, enrollment in Litchfield High School had caused a strain on available facilities. There was a plan to establish a Union High School to accommodate all high school students living in Litchfield Park, Avondale, and Goodyear. It was decided the new school would be in Avondale. Agua Fria High School was established to accommodate 350 students. The first superintendent of Agua Fria Union High School was Chauncey Coor. It opened on a temporary basis in 1956-1957 school year with some classes still being held in the Litchfield Park High School. It became fully operational in January 1957.

The City of Litchfield Park

The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Arizona is one of the original Arizona hotels. It is one of the first structures built in 1918 by Goodyear. When the company executives came to visit their farming operation, it took them a half-day to travel by horse and buggy from Phoenix to Litchfield Park. Their solution was to construct “The Organization House”. The original building served six people and featured a fireplace room that is still enjoyed by guests today. Goodyear started the Arizona cotton farms in Chandler. When their executives visited, they stayed at the San Marcos Hotel, which inspired them to build a hotel in Litchfield Park. The Wigwam opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1929, as a public resort with 13 rooms to accommodate 24 guests. Upon check-in, everyone was assigned a horse as it was considered a dude ranch. After a successful season the resort expanded by adding several Wickiups to accommodate 66 guests and in 1930, a nine-hole golf course was added. Trips on horseback were regularly planned for guests and The Wigwam ran its own stables offering trail rides. Sunset Point, an outdoor barbecue and party area, was used for entertainment and

The City of Litchfield Park

special events held by the Goodyear Company, executives and their families. Guests were also offered sightseeing tours on the Goodyear Blimp “Resolute”. In 1930, a private landing field was built near the resort for the blimp and in 1946 a private runway for planes was constructed. Many changes took place at The Wigwam in 1941 as the United States entered World War II and Luke Field was established two miles north of Litchfield Park. The Wigwam was closed to the public from 1942-45 and the 110 rooms were leased to house military personnel from Luke Field. In 1949, two decades after it opened to the public, the resort flourished from a dusty dude ranch to a popular retreat offering tennis courts, swimming pools, golf and new restaurants and lounges. In 1965, two 18-hole golf courses were constructed under the direction of Robert Trent Jones, Sr. These were identified as the Blue & Gold Courses and were named in honor of the Goodyear’s

company colors. A third 18-hole golf course, known as the West Course, was added in 1974. In the late 1980s this course was named the Red Course in honor of Robert “Red” Lawrence who was responsible for its construction and also for V. O. “Red” Allen, a Wigwam golf pro, who was there for 42 years. In 1986, Goodyear sold The Wigwam and all of their holdings in Litchfield Park. In 1987, Litchfield Park was incorporated as a City and The Wigwam has since had several new owners. In 2010, Jerry Colangelo and JDM Partners purchased The Wigwam and invested $7 Million into this iconic resort. In 2011, JDM Partners brought The Wigwam under the management of Pyramid Hotel Group. The resort was returned to its original entrance design and new amenities that included a redesigned main pool, new outdoor plaza, an outdoor bar and lounge, and the opening of Litchfield’s, a signature farm-to-table restaurant, and new programming for their guests that included community events. Continued on pg. 12...

Celebrating 100 Years



Celebrating 100 Years

The City of Litchfield Park

The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Early Churches will also be completed in 2016. The Wigwam grounds cover 440 acres of lush FIREPLACE ROOM WIGWAM landscaping. It’s the only propStarting in 2015 there were erty in Arizona several renovations that inholding three 18-hole profescluded Red’s Bar & Grill that sional golf courses onsite. There now features an indoor/outdoor are nine tennis courts, eight concept. The Oasis Rooms were regular courts and one stadium renovated and the Gold Course court. There is a tennis shop, bunkers were renovated under four swimming pools with water the direction of famed Golf Pro slides, a golf shop, a health club, Tom Lehman. full spa services, an exercise In 2015-16 the Gold Course center plus locker rooms with and the Patriot Course, formally exercise equipment. the Blue Course, both celebrated The Wigwam has 331 rooms their 50th Anniversary. Jesse and around 100,000 sq. ft. of Davis, a long-term employee, meeting space and party lawns. celebrated his 45th Anniversary The Wigwam has five restauby having a street named for rants and two bars, included him. Jesse’s Circle is located by is Red’s Bar & Grille and the Red’s Bar & Grill and The Wigaward- winning restaurant Liwam golf bag drop off. tchfield’s. A time capsule was buried on The Wigwam has successfully the front tee of the Gold Course kept current and at the same to be opened in 2065. In 2016, time maintained its historical a bunker renovation was comcharm. The Wigwam has been pleted on the Patriot Course. visited by many prominent The Fitness Center and Oasis people such as U.S. Presidents, Pool upgrades and the new famous Hollywood stars, and landscaping at the main drive professional athletes.


Celebrating 100 Years

When more than 2,500 men were brought in from Mexico and the surrounding areas they came with their families, which created a need for many new services in the area including churches. Mr. Litchfield was a man of principles, vision, insight, and inspired leadership. His actions were constantly guided by his profound spiritual values. It was under his guidance that the early churches of Litchfield Park were started. The first church in Litchfield Park was the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Mission Church. In 1918-19 Mr. Litchfield had the Mission Church built for the migrant farm workers. He had help from local area Catholics who supported him in building the church. Frank and Sara Serrano, who were employed by the Southwest Cotton Company, assisted in getting the church built and registered with the Catholic Diocese of Tucson. Frank was the Manager of the General Store and his wife Sara was the Post Mistress. They had held

The City of Litchfield Park

Early Churches Catholic Mass in their home before the church was built. Tom Doyle, a local area cattle rancher, and his friend Frank Brophy financed the building of the Mission Church and had it built. Bishop Gercke of the Tucson Diocese named the church St. Thomas Aquinas in honor of Tom Doyle’s contributions. The Mission Church was served by priests from other parishes in the Phoenix area. In 1969, the Phoenix Diocese was formed and the St. Thomas Aquinas Mission Church became part of the Phoenix Diocese. In 1975, St. Thomas Aquinas became a separate Parish church instead of a Mission Church tended by other area churches. The second church in Litchfield Park, for Protestants, was built by Mr. Litchfield. As early as 1917, John Padgett, a surveyor, and his wife Mabel, the first schoolteacher, started the Methodist Agua Fria Union Sunday School. For eighteen years, they provided the only permanent center for Protestant worship. It was on March 27, 1938, Kenneth B. McMicken called a special meeting at 8 p.m. in the Litchfield High School study hall. Under the temporary chairmanship of Newell Kring, along with 70 devoted charter members, they came together and formally organized a non-denominational church. They named it “The Church at Litchfield Park”. Members of this special committee were Arthur Zieske, John Padgett, James Peterson, W. E. Barber, Daniel Owen, and George Stewart. They adopted a Constitution and at a special meeting they elected officers with Arthur H. Zieske as Chairman of the Council. At this point the Union Sunday School, run by the Padgetts since 1917, became The Church at Litchfield Park. The first Pastor was Rev. Robert Sell from the Methodists Episcopal Church Arizona Conference. The first services were held in the Litchfield Park Community Hall and the Easter Sunrise Service at Mr. Litchfield’s home, Rancho La Loma. Mr. Zieske worked with Mr. Litchfield to get a church built. Coming out of the depression this was a hard time for the Company, to the point that the Goodyear The City of Litchfield Park

operation was in jeopardy. The Goodyear Board of Directors weren’t thrilled about building a church. The Wigwam Guest Ranch was also struggling. They were trying to expand as a public resort but it was Mr. Litchfield’s policy that there be no cocktail lounge. It was having trouble attracting guests and making a profit. The Board of Directors saw an opportunity for some negotiation. If Mr. Litchfield would change the liquor policy, the Board would approve the church. In Mr. Litchfield’s words, “I thought it over”. “Whatever personal views I held on the subject, it was not up to me to impose them on others.” Goodyear agreed to build the church. Ground was broken on September 10, 1939 and the church was constructed with the assistance of the Southwest Cotton Company’s engineers. Adobe bricks were made on site to build the church. Mr. Litchfield brought the bell for the tower from San Diego. On November 6, 1939, the cornerstone was placed and it contains a Bible, the church roll of 70 charter members, and a copy of the church constitution. On December 10, 1939, the first services were held in The Church at Litchfield Park. In 1971, Goodyear deeded the church and 1½ acres of property over to the congregation as an outright gift. It was their first year as a corporate entity with a constitution, bylaws, and the bicameral form of government by adding the Board of Directors to the already existing Church Council. The Church at Litchfield Park has remained an inter-denominational church. In the early 1950s Mr. Litchfield and The Church at Litchfield Park created the Desert Devotional Programs, held on Sunday afternoons in the spring on the grounds of Rancho La Loma. Mr. Litchfield felt it was important for interdenominational services be held to promote closer fellowship among people of different churches and creeds. Each program had a special guest minister from all of the denominations and the speakers were from around the country. Music was performed by many different choirs. One Sunday there were 3,600 people in attendance. Celebrating 100 Years


Scientific Agriculture In the 1920s, many changes took place for Goodyear in Arizona. In the early 1920s, shortly after they had planted thousands of acres of long staple cotton, the price of cotton fell and then there was the post-war depression. New techniques of rayon and steel belted tires began and also the use of short cotton fibers as the fabric for the tires. This changed the scenario of the Southwest Cotton Company. Goodyear considered leaving Arizona, but Mr. Litchfield loved it and wanted to stay. Instead of leaving, Goodyear expanded its holdings by purchasing the Marinette Ranch bringing their total to about 38,000 acres; purchased new tractors and farm machinery; and only farmed half of the acres in a new Acala cotton. This was the start of the evolution of the farm from cotton for tires, to experimental agriculture. Crop rotation methods were implemented to replenish the soil and utilize the land when cotton was out of season. Scientific feed for cattle was produced and was a major use of the land. Other special activities started such as Tire & Farm Equipment Testing and the Apprentice Farmer Program. An evolution of farming methods and techniques were underway at this time. The Southwest Cotton Company served as an agriculture laboratory in the trial and development of new types of farm equipment. Better land usage was provided by crop and field rotation. Alfalfa played an important role as it was found to be the best way to build up organic matter that was much needed in the soil. Alfalfa was sold through the production of hay and the fields were used as pasturage for beef cattle. Barley and sorghum grains were included in the crop rotations and were used as concentrates for feeding the cattle. The switch from cotton producer to a general all around farm operation occurred during the years from 1921-31. Several new ventures were undertaken. Experiments with various types of fruit trees included citrus plantings of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and tangerines. There were 220 acres of citrus fruit. 14

Celebrating 100 Years

Improved farming techniques increased crop yields and lowered acre costs. The crop rotation program helped with pest control, use of irrigation water, cultivation to keep weeds down, and timely planting accounted for better yields. Crop rotation included four years of alfalfa, one year of Hegari sorghum and two years of Acala cotton followed by winter wheat and barley. The fifth step was back to alfalfa. Smooth level fields brought higher yields. One of the largest farms all in one location in Arizona, the Southwest Cotton Company had more than 16,000 acres with 12,000 acres of cultivated land. It was highly mechanized with 65 tractors and 52 trucks and automobiles plus scores of farm implements. The farms were very successful and in 1943 the name was changed to Goodyear Farms. In 1943, the Goodyear Farms hosted a Farm Forum, at The Wigwam, and invited people from several areas of farming to show the advances in farming. The Forum included farm implement manufacturers and their technical staffs, farm magazine editors, and agricultural college professors. Many Goodyear executives also attended. Management of the Goodyear Farms revolved around Kenneth B. McMicken, the General Manager, who joined the Southwest Cotton Company in 1918. A cousin to Mr. Litchfield, he was born in New York and was a farmer by choice. He was sent by Mr. Litchfield to the Valley of the Nile in 1919 to study Egyptian methods of irrigation and growing of long staple cotton. He was active with the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The City of Litchfield Park

Cattle Cattle

After cotton farming subsided on the Goodyear Farms they went more heavily into scientific grains and started a large cattle operation. Goodyear Farms had no cattle of its own, but one of their more important operations was cattle feeding. The cattle operation was started in 1929 and increased into a big business in the late 1940s and 1950s. Farmers from around the country contracted with Goodyear Farms to take their herds of 100 or so and feed them scientific food. The cattle were brought in at around 400 lbs. and they were fattened up to 1000 lbs. The cattle operation was a main feature of the farm and it took a lot of time and a special feeding system to supply food for the 8,000 to 9,000 head of cattle that had to be fed and cared for each day. Goodyear Farms received cattle twice a year and fed up to 18,000 per year. The contracted cattle were brought in to be fed dry food consisting of alfalfa hay, barley grains, sorghum grains, cottonseed meal, minerals, antibiotics, molasses and tallow. Goodyear Farms produced all ingredients, with the exception of minerals, molasses and tallow. Ingredients were mixed in a modern feed plant, hauled to feed bunkers in trailer wagons, and unloaded automatically into troughs. In addition to the special formula food, the cattle were fed maize and hay. Fresh water was constantly available to the cattle. Goodyear Farms treated the cattle very well as they were also inoculated and dehorned. The cattle were kept 100-200 per pen and there were so many pens, if they were stretched end to end, they would be six miles long. A railroad spur came right up to the pens for ease of delivery and pick up. Their automatic food system could feed up to 600 cattle at one time. When the cattle reached 1,000 pounds they were shipped out at night to the Los Angeles market because it was cooler and they kept their weight better. Some of the cattle were shipped back to their owners who marketed them in their own markets. The City of Litchfield Park

Testing Tires Tire & Equipment Testing

The Arizona desert soil is rugged and abrasive. For several years, Litchfield Park was a center for tire testing. The Goodyear test fleet found Arizona’s climatic conditions an ideal outdoor laboratory for highway testing automobile and truck passenger tires. Dry and abrasive road surfaces and high temperatures are the two most dominant factors affecting tires. Extremely high temperatures were ideal for testing equipment for tire fabrics, rubber compounds, balloon cloth and other rubber products. Farm machinery that proved satisfactory on Arizona’s ranches could be used anywhere in the world. Equipment manufacturers sent their tractors and design engineers to the Goodyear operations to carry on extensive experiments with new farm equipment. Many machines now used around the world were designed and tested on Goodyear Farms including cultivators, cotton planters, furrowing machines, mowers, and side delivery hay rakes. The real birth of power farming followed World War II when a series of developments widened the utility of the tractor and paved the way for complete farm mechanization. The all-purpose or tricycle type tractor was introduced in 1924. The final battle of the tractor on steel wheels versus rubber tires occurred in the irrigated soil at Litchfield Park. It was the modern farm tractor with lowpressure rubber tires that did more than any other single development to revolutionize and advance agricultural methods. During the period from 19351941 several thousand tractors were changed annually from steel rims to rubber and new tractors with pneumatic tires increased from 14% to 96%. The years 1932-33 brought a new flurry of farm equipment experimentation to the Goodyear Farms operation. Pneumatic tires were tested on every type of farm equipment. The first machine actually engineered for use on rubber tires was a lightweight combine in 1933. With many types of farm machines operating on Goodyear tires in varied activities, the development engineers had an excellent “laboratory on wheels” to make first-hand studies of tire performance. Compared to steel wheels the speed of most field operations was 25% to 50% faster on rubber. Celebrating 100 Years


& E quipment

In 1931-36 Goodyear sent its testing fleet from Akron, Ohio to Litchfield Park. It was sent to Litchfield Park during the winter months and returned to Akron in the summer, but in 1939 the entire test fleet was sent to Arizona permanently. The first fleet consisted of passenger cars, trucks and tractors that were maintained solely for test purposes. The results of the tire tests were presented at the 1943 Farm Forum presented by Goodyear at The Wigwam. In 1960 Case Farm Equipment Company had its World Premiere showing in the West Valley. Some of its new equipment was on display, especially the rubber tired tractors. Other major farm equipment companies sent their design engineers to Litchfield Park to learn about the changes being made with the use of rubber tires. Case worked closely with Goodyear in testing rubber tires. Case added the Goodyear tires to its equipment for six months and then returned them to Goodyear for inspection. Case had a test track near Litchfield Park.


Celebrating 100 Years

A Turning Point World War II had a major effect on Litchfield Park and it created a real turning point for its future. When Luke Field was established, the need for business enterprises increased during the war years of 1941-45. Goodyear Farms had an extensive building program that resulted in the completion of the entire business block facing Litchfield Road. After Abraham’s Market burned in 1943, it was rebuilt as a modern food market. Goodyear Farms opened a Company General Store. During the winter of 1943-44 older buildings were remodeled to make space for numerous other shops and a medical office building. The final building, that completed the block, was a large structure connecting the medical building and the drug store. This building was to also house the post office and a bank. The Valley National Bank opened a Litchfield Park branch in December of 1944. This new convenience was added as a result of the war bringing thousands of people into the area. Upon completion of the last building on the west-side of Litchfield Road the entire frontage was remodeled into one front with the appearance of a large building of Spanish design finished in crème stucco and red tile. Later a large building was added to the north side of the business block for a dry- cleaning business. While the business area grew, the residential area had to expand to meet the growing number of employees and new residents. All available houses were occupied and to fill the need, houses were moved in from Goodyear Ranch and located on several blocks north and west of the drug store. Prior to 1937, as a company town, all housing was owned by Goodyear. In 1937, Goodyear opened a subdivision of 25 lots on the west-side of Litchfield Road so that Goodyear employees could own a home of their own. The residential area was again expanded in 1945 when the Goodyear Wingfoot Homes subdivision was added.

The City of Litchfield Park

Temporary office buildings were replaced by larger structures to provide space for an increasing office staff and for additional office facilities. Litchfield Park was not incorporated and was governed by Goodyear Farms. The operation of the town was divided into departments of streets, parks, water supply, sewage, fire, and law enforcement. Goodyear Farms did not have ordinances, only regulations. In 1941, the influx of civilian workers and military personnel to Luke Field and the local area Goodyear Aircraft Corporation brought difficulties to the school district. Homes in the Federal Housing Authority near Luke Field were built in Litchfield School District and transportation of the children had to be provided. There was no high school in the vicinity of the Goodyear Aircraft facility and the students were transported into the Litchfield High School. The enrollment in Litchfield School increased dramatically and the school had to launch a new building project. The Federal Government had provided for such war emergencies under the Lanham Act and finances were obtained under this Act to build additional space. The Wigwam was an active participant in the war effort as it was closed during the war years of 1942-45. The officer personnel from Luke Field and the Naval Air Facility were housed in The Wigwam. One of the big differences in lifestyle came with the upgrading of services in Litchfield Park. With the sudden influx of several thousand military personnel and an increase in the civilian population, transportation in the area was greatly improved. Not only did improved transportation change lifestyles, but due to the expansion in the area, Central Arizona Light & Power Company found it necessary to expand its system during the war. A new natural gas line was laid to Luke Field in 1941 and later extended to Litchfield Park. Eventually a gas line was extended to every house in Litchfield Park that solved cooking and heating problems. A new phone system was installed at Luke Field by Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company. A new modern dial system was installed in Litchfield Park and the number of telephones increased from 33 to 613. Because of the influence of World War II, Litchfield Park was changed from a small group of labor camps in the desert to a modern village whose The City of Litchfield Park

inhabitants had most of the conveniences of a larger city. Litchfield Park was no longer an isolated village. The quiet and peaceful village of Litchfield Park had been transformed to one with diversified interests and a broadened horizon. The downtown area of Litchfield Park became Tierra Verde Village in the mid -1960s. A great change had taken place within Goodyear Farms as they no longer concentrated on farming, but turned their farmland into proposed Villages. The company hired Victor Gruen and Associates of Los Angeles, a planning and design team, to make a study of the potential development of the Village concept. Their original plan was to create 12 villages in a line going west. However, the only village ever completed was the planned Tierra Verde Village.

Celebrating 100 Years


Many great changes came to Litchfield Park as the new design changed lifestyles. The Village gained a new lake for fishing, miles of pathways, and acres of new parks. The parks were used as athletic fields for community sports as well as social events. A Recreation Center was built with both tennis and basketball courts plus a 25- yard lap swimming pool and a play pool. At a later date a therapy spa was added. In 1979, a beautiful library was built downtown in honor of Florence B. Litchfield. Three new churches were built, a larger St. Thomas Aquinas Church was built across the lake, St. Peters Episcopal Church, and the LDS Mormon Church were also added. In 1986, Goodyear sold their land, downtown Litchfield Park and The Wigwam. In 1987, Li-

tchfield Park was incorporated and became the City of Litchfield Park. The Wigwam was sold to SunCor Development Company a subsidiary of the Pinnacle West Capital Corporation. The first City Council, for the City of Litchfield Park was appointed, and this City Council selected and appointed Charles Salem as the first Mayor. Litchfield Elementary School, rated as an A+ School, has recently been remodeled and a new gymnasium now replaces the old legendary gym. The administrative offices for Litchfield School District #79, also with an A+ rating, recently built a new headquarters building on the Litchfield Elementary School campus. The district has grown to 15 schools. A new World War II War Memorial was recently dedicated

on the west side of the school to replace the deteriorated wooden Memorial torn down in the 1960s. A gazebo was built on the corner of Wigwam Blvd and Old Litchfield Road. Litchfield Park Kiwanis added a Desert Park along Indian School Road between Old Litchfield Road and Litchfield Road. A new walking underpass was built at the intersection of Wigwam Blvd and Litchfield Road. Litchfield Park continues to grow with new retail markets. In 2016, the most recent new retail center, featuring Fry’s Marketplace, opened on Camelback and Litchfield Road. New buildings are being planned for the vacant land downtown. The West Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the Phoenix area and Litchfield Park continues to thrive and has remained very special.

The West Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the Phoenix area and Litchfield Park continues to thrive and has remained very special.


Celebrating 100 Years

The City of Litchfield Park

Paul Weeks Litchfield

(1875-1959), for whom the town of Litchfield Park is named, came to the Salt River Valley in 1916. His mission was to convince area farmers and ranchers to grow long-staple cotton for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio. He failed. So Litchfield, a Goodyear factory superintendent at the time, returned to Akron and suggested to his superiors that they buy and lease land in the Salt River Valley and grow their own long-staple cotton. He succeeded. And so begins the amazing story of the imprint left by Paul Litchfield and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on the Valley of the Sun – the Southwest Cotton Company, Goodyear Ranch in Chandler, Marinette Ranch in Sun City, Litchfield Ranch in Litchfield Park, Goodyear Farms, Los Campos de Litchfield Park, the Apprentice Farmer Program, The Wigwam, Goodyear Aircraft-Arizona, Goodyear Aerospace-Arizona, Luke Field, and the city of Litchfield Park.

Sharlot Hall (1870-1943), Territorial Historian of Arizona,

said, “The pioneers tamed the West and left others to tell the story.” We at the Litchfield Park Historical Society and MUSEUM are proud to be the repository of this extraordinary history, and to tell the stories to all who visit our museum. The legacy left by Paul Litchfield and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is profound. The past is our collective memory and without it, we leave our fate to chance. As we mark this Centennial Year (2017) of Litchfield Park and the beginning of the museum’s fifth year, we look forward to exciting opportunities for both the city and our museum as we begin Litchfield Park’s second 100 years. Join us at the museum where the past comes alive. ––The Board of the Litchfield Park Historical Society and Museum

Free Admission


September-May:Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 10:00a.m.-4:00p.m., June-August: Wednesdays, The City of Litchfield Park Celebrating9:00a.m.-noon 100 Years 19

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The City of Litchfield Park

Celebrating 100 Years


Litchfield Park, Arizona Celebrates 100 Years  

Mr. Litchfield originally from Cleveland, Ohio and employed by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company before relocating to AZ, would have been...

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