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Queen Creek, AZ (Menu)
Town Of Queen Creek Founding Fathers

From Farmland to Family-Friendly Haven: A Look at Queen Creek’s History

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Queen Creek, Arizona, boasts a rich history, evolving from a desert crossroads to a thriving community. Let’s explore its past, agricultural roots, and transformation into a modern town.

Early Beginnings: A Watery Oasis

Queen Creek’s story starts with the life-giving water source that carves through the Sonoran Desert. Originally Picket Post Creek, it was renamed Queen Creek after the nearby Silver Queen Mine. This vital waterway attracted early inhabitants, including Native American communities and homesteaders seeking fertile land.

The Rise of Rittenhouse and the Agricultural Boom

The early 20th century saw the arrival of C.H. Rittenhouse, who established the Queen Creek Farms Company in 1919. Rittenhouse constructed a crucial railroad stop, “Rittenhouse,” which became the nucleus of the growing community. Farms flourished, producing cotton, corn, and potatoes, laying the foundation for Queen Creek’s agricultural identity.

A Changing Landscape: Growth and Transformation

In the 1920s, an influx of immigrants played a vital role in the local cotton industry. Later, German prisoners of war and Filipino immigrants joined the agricultural workforce. As the decades progressed, Queen Creek witnessed a gradual shift. The once-dominant railroad stop receded in importance, and the community officially adopted Queen Creek as the community’s name.

Early Settlers and Their Legacy

The Town of Queen Creek was founded by enterprising individuals who recognized the area’s potential for agricultural development. Among these early pioneers were Charles Rittenhouse, the Sossaman Family, and the Schnepf Family, whose names immortalize the Town’s street names and landmarks.

Charles Rittenhouse was one of the Town’s earliest settlers and played a significant role in its development. Rittenhouse Road, a major thoroughfare in Queen Creek, is named in his honor, serving as a lasting tribute to his contributions to the community.

The Sossaman Family, Jasper, and Nancy Sossaman and their three sons, moved to the Queen Creek area in 1914. The family was awarded two homesteads to develop. Sossaman Family Farm is a fifth-generation, 100-plus-year-old farm that still operates, currently specializing in ancient grains. The family members who work the farm to this day were and continue to be an integral part of the Town’s development and future.

The Schnepf Family is another essential family in Queen Creek’s history. They are known for their extensive farming operations and contributions to the local economy. Schnepf Farms, a popular agritourism destination in Queen Creek, is a testament to the family’s legacy and commitment to preserving the Town’s agricultural heritage.

Incorporation and Beyond Embracing the Future

On September 5, 1989, Queen Creek became a formally incorporated town, marking a new chapter focusing on planned growth and development. Award-winning plans ensured Queen Creek’s transformation into a family-friendly haven. Today, the Town celebrates its heritage while embracing innovation, offering residents a high quality of life.

The Town of Queen Creek, Arizona: Founding Members

The Queen Creek Five—Robert Eberle, Paul Gardner, Ralph Pomeroy, Mark Schepf, and Steve Sossaman—are the Founding Fathers of The Town of Queen Creek. They were residents of the Town when it was incorporated in 1989. The five men recognized the rapid growth of the area. They took action by incorporating it into a town to preserve its character and sense of community.

Preserving the Legacy

Today, Queen Creek continues to honor its founders and early pioneers through its street names, landmarks, and schools, ensuring their contributions to the Town’s history are remembered and celebrated. As the Town grows and evolves, it remains committed to preserving its rich heritage and small-town charm, ensuring that the legacy of its founders lives on for future generations to appreciate.

In addition to Rittenhouse Road and Sossaman Road, Queen Creek boasts several streets named after its founding families and prominent figures. These include Ellsworth Road, named after the Ellsworth Brothers, who were among the first businessmen to help develop the area, and Hawes Road, named after the Hawes family, who also played a significant role in the Town’s early development. Other street names named after early settlers include Germann, Power, Crismon, and Combs.

Frances Brandon-Picket Elementary School is in The Villages neighborhood of Queen Creek, AZ. It is named after Frances Brandon-Picket, who was born in Queen Creek, then Rittenhouse, in 1927 during the area’s early settlement era. Frances and her family were true original settlers to the community. Frances’ legacy of influencing Queen Creek lives on through her namesake elementary school.

Other notable Queen Creek settlers and pioneers are the Barney and Valenzuela families, Taylor Gardner, Mansel Carter, and Marion Kennedy.

Traces of the Past: A Look Back

Queen Creek’s history is still visible today. The San Tan Historical Society, housed in the Old Rittenhouse Elementary School (built in 1925), preserves the Town’s legacy. The 1900s Railroad Water Tank on Rittenhouse Road is a reminder of the bygone era.

Queen Creek’s journey from a desert outpost to a flourishing town is a testament to its resilience and spirit. As the Town continues to evolve, it carries its rich history forward, shaping a bright future for its residents.

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