Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix within the city's metropolitan area. Once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", it is the sixth-largest municipality in Arizona, and the fifth-largest in the Phoenix metro area. It covers an area of nearly 69 square miles (179 km2).
Gilbert's Heritage Court as viewed from Gilbert Road
"Gilbert: Clean, Safe, Vibrant"
Location of Gilbert in Maricopa County, Arizona
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|• Mayor||Jenn Daniels (R)|
|• Town||68.72 sq mi (177.98 km2)|
|• Land||68.52 sq mi (177.45 km2)|
|• Water||0.20 sq mi (0.53 km2)|
|Elevation||1,237 ft (377 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||US: 88th|
|• Density||3,708.88/sq mi (1,432.01/km2)|
|• Metro||4,737,270 (US: 11th)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST (no DST))|
85233, 85234, 85295, 85296, 85297
Gilbert has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Greater Phoenix area. It has grown at an extremely high rate over the last three decades, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 as of the 2010 census. The town grew at an average annual rate of nearly 13% during this 30-year period. In 2019, the town's population was estimated to be 254,114.
Gilbert was established by William "Bobby" Gilbert, who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer's Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.
Incorporated in July 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agricultural town for many years and was known as the "Hay Capital of the World" from 1911 until the late 1920s.
In 2019, the town featured highly on three national surveys, related to safety, livability and family life; it was named the fourth-safest (of 182 communities), twelfth-most livable town, and seventh-best place to raise a family in the United States.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2000 Census, the town had an estimated area of 40 square miles (104 km2). As of 2009, and due to annexations the current Municipal Planning Area of Gilbert has a total area of 76.0 square miles (197 km2), of which 75.76 square miles (196.2 km2) is land and 0.24 square miles (0.6 km2) is water.
Gilbert has a tropical and subtropical, hot desert type of climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with dry and hot summers, and mild to warm winters, with little rainfall.
|Climate data for Gilbert, Arizona|
|Record high °F (°C)||89
|Average high °F (°C)||67
|Average low °F (°C)||41
|Record low °F (°C)||15
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.01
|Source: The Weather Channel|
|Climate data for Gilbert|
|Mean daily daylight hours||10.0||11.0||12.0||13.0||14.0||14.5||14.0||13.5||12.5||11.5||10.5||10.0||12.2|
|Source: Weather Atlas|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 208,453 people, 74,147 housing units, and 3.01 persons per household.
- Fastest growing municipality in the United States from 1990 to 2003 (U.S. Census Bureau)
- 4th fastest growing municipality in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau – 2009)
- Ranked by CNN's Money magazine in 2008 as one of the best places to live in the United States
- One of the top 25 safest cities in the United States
- 34.5% of Gilbert residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
- Highest household median income in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area with population 50,000+ (U.S. Census Bureau 2005)
According to Nielsen's Claritas demographics, in 2009 the racial makeup of the town was:
- 81.51% White
- 15.39% Hispanics or Latinos
- 3.08% Black or African American
- 0.79% Native American
- 4.70% Asian
- 0.23% Pacific Islander
- 5.97% from other races
- 3.73% from two or more races
2009 estimated population data by gender/age:
- 31.37 average age male/female. By 2019, the average age was reported as 33.6.
- 50.22% male
- 30.03 est. average age
- 49.78% female
- 31.82 est. average age
- 37.14% population under 21
- 33.25% population under 18
- 70.01% population over 16
- 66.76% population over 18
- 62.86% population over 21
- 5.30% population over 65
2009 estimated population age 15+ by marital status:
- 20.87% never married
- 66.71% married, spouse present
- 2.23% married, spouse absent
- 2.11% widowed
- 8.07% divorced
2009 estimated population age 25+ educational attainment:
- 92.33% high school/GED or higher
- 37.5% bachelor's degree or higher. A 2019 report put the rate at close to 50% for residents over the age of 25.
- 10.46% master's degree or higher
2009 estimated household by household income:
- $109,213 average household income
- $89,077 median household income. Median income noted as >$87,000 in a report of 2013-2017 US Census data, as compared to a state-wide median of $53,000.
- $35,559 per capita Income
- 2.28% of families were below the poverty level
Various religious denominations are represented in Gilbert. The town has been known for its high population of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a fact evidenced by the building of Gilbert Arizona Temple dedicated March 2, 2014.
According to the town's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|1||Gilbert Public Schools||3,642|
|2||Banner Health||2,268 (~1,000 by 2019)|
|3||Mercy Gilbert Medical Center||1,233|
|4||Town of Gilbert||1,191|
|5||Fry's Food and Drug||966|
|6||Go Daddy||950 (1,300 by 2019)|
|8||Chandler Unified School District||518|
|9||B H Drywall||500|
|10||Dillard's Retail and Distribution||490|
Arts and cultureEdit
Music and danceEdit
These performers have been associated with Gilbert:
- Lydia, band
- Lindsey Stirling, violinist, dancer, and performer; Mesquite High School graduate
Gilbert is home to a 9/11 Memorial, located at Town Hall, that features an eight-foot steel girder beam which held up the North Tower of the World Trader Center. Former Gilbert Fire Chief Collin DeWitt fundraised extensively for three years to create the memorial, and to bring the beam from New York City to Arizona. He drove to collect it himself along with his then Assistant Fire Chief Jim Jobusch.
The design of the memorial angles the beam, which puts it in reach of everyone. Four granite walls bear the names of those lost to the attacks. Concrete was poured in the shape of a pentagon for the foundation of the memorial, and it is surrounded by bricks which carry names of some of those who helped to donate to bring the memorial to life. There was an unveiling ceremony of the memorial on the 10th anniversary of the attack on September 11, 2011.
Gilbert was recognized in 2010 as the "36th Best Place to Live in the nation", as well as among the nation's "top places to live and learn", by GreatSchools.org. Washington, DC-based CQ Press rated Gilbert the "safest municipality in Arizona, and 25th safest in the nation."
Since Gilbert remains incorporated as a town, it lacks the additional powers possessed by nearby Mesa and Chandler, which are incorporated as cities. For instance, Arizona towns do not have as much power to regulate utilities and construction within their borders as cities possess. Unlike most of its neighboring communities, Gilbert is theoretically vulnerable to annexation.
|Crime rates* (2014)|
|Total violent crime||89|
|Motor vehicle theft||54|
|Total property crime||1,475|
*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2014 population: 235,430
Source: 2014 FBI UCR Data
Most of Gilbert is zoned to schools in the Gilbert Public Schools, while other portions are zoned to districts including the Chandler Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, and the Higley Unified School District. Also in Gilbert are charter schools such as Eduprize (the first charter school in Arizona), American Leadership Academy, and Legacy Traditional School. The town is also home to Gilbert Christian Schools, a chain of private schools. In 2018, the Park University opened the Gilbert Campus Center after leasing 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) at the University Building in the city's Heritage District.
Gilbert is primarily served by one area freeway—the Santan Freeway portion of Loop 202. A small section of the US 60 Superstition Freeway also skirts the northern boundary of the town at the Higley Road interchange (Exit 186). Several regional arterials also serve the area, including Williams Field Road, Chandler Boulevard, and Gilbert Road. The town enjoys relative closeness to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, which is located in east Mesa, and is a 25-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Recently, a park-and-ride facility was constructed in downtown Gilbert for bus service and future commuter rail service. Although the facility borders the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) tracks and has provisions for commuter rail service, there is currently no such service. Bus service is limited in Gilbert, with some north–south routes in Mesa dead-ending at Baseline Road before entering Gilbert. Routes that serve portions of Gilbert include the 108-Elliot Road, 112-Country Club/Arizona Avenue, 136-Gilbert Road, 140-Ray Road, 156-Chandler Boulevard/Williams Field Road, 184-Power Road, and 531-Mesa/Gilbert Express, with most of these routes operating at 30-minute frequency on weekdays. Sunday service is only available on Routes 108, 112, 156, and 184. Most people get around by cars or bikes. The city of Gilbert has a low percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 1.9 percent of Gilbert households lacked a car, and the figure was virtually unchanged in 2016 (1.7 percent). The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Gilbert averaged 2.08 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.
The parks Gilbert Regional Park and Desert Sky Park were established in 2019 with multi-million dollar investments.
The following is a brief description of the historic structures which are pitcured. Some of these structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places while others are listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- Gilbert Elementary School was built in 1913. It is located at 10 S. Gilbert Rd. and now houses the Gilbert Historical Museum. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Gilbert High School was built in 1920. It now houses the Gilbert Public School District Office. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The Gilbert Water Tower was built in 1925. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- Gilbert's First Jail House was built in 1918 and later used as a pump house. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The Tone Building was built in 1929 and now houses Joe's Real BBQ Restaurant. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- Liberty Market was built in 1936. Liberty Market was established by the Dong family. The neon sign which is still on display was designed by Mae Ong, the wife of Ben Ong, who purchased the market in 1943. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The Creed building was built in 1918. It now houses the Farmhouse Restaurant. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The Attaway Phelps-Blakely Building was built in 1910. It now houses the Norwood Furniture store. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The Bank of Gilbert was built in 1917. It now houses an insurance company. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- Clare's Metal Shop was built in 1918. It now houses Bergies Coffee. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- Clement's Garage was built in 1934. The structure is listed as historical by the Gilbert Heritage District.
- The American Legion Post 39 was built in 1934.
- Jim Bechtel, professional poker player; World Champion of Poker in 1993; lives in Gilbert
- Dave Burba, lives in Gilbert; pitcher for late 1990s Cleveland Indians
- Marquis Cooper, professional linebacker; played for Highland High School
- Ken Delo, singer best known for The Lawrence Welk Show; lives in Gilbert
- The Honky Tonk Man, pro wrestler (real name Roy Wayne Farris); lives in Gilbert
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, NFL quarterback; played for Highland High School
- Jineane Ford, Miss Arizona USA 1980, Miss USA 1980
- Alan Gordon, professional soccer player; born in Gilbert in 1981
- Dan Hausel, Hall of Fame martial artist; resident of Gilbert since 2006
- Shea Hillenbrand, All-Star professional baseball player
- Darrin Jackson, professional baseball player, 1985–1999; TV broadcaster; lives in Gilbert
- Kimberly Joiner, Miss Arizona USA 2008; raised in and still lives in Gilbert
- Mina Kimes, ESPN TV Personality
- Naomi Lang, five-time U.S. ice dance champion, 2002 Olympian
- Spencer Larsen, former professional football player; raised in Gilbert; played for Highland High School
- Justin Lassen, artist; lives in Gilbert; graduated from Gilbert High School in 2000[dubious ]
- Ryan Leslie, television personality on MTV's The Real World: New Orleans
- Bengie Molina, former Major League Baseball catcher; has lived in Gilbert since 2011
- Alex Naddour, bronze medalist at 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and in pommel horse at 2016 Summer Olympics; graduate from Highland High School
- Carlos I. Noriega, NASA astronaut; retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant colonel; lives in Gilbert
- Phil Ortega, MLB pitcher, 1960–1969; born in Gilbert in 1939
- Mykayla Skinner, gold medalist at 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships; bronze medalist on vault
- Lindsey Stirling, violinist; dancer; performer; grew up in Gilbert
- Eric Swann, NFL player for Arizona Cardinals; lives in Gilbert
- Rick Woolstenhulme, drummer for band Lifehouse
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Media related to Gilbert, Arizona at Wikimedia Commons