Coolidge, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, is the commercial center of Arizona's cotton industry. In 1925, after construction of the Coolidge Dam transformed the flat desert into rich farm and ranch land, R.J. Jones laid out an 80-acre site to found the city. The city's name honors the U.S. President who dedicated Coolidge Dam in 1930.
Incorporated in 1945, the city now covers eight miles and has more than 8,000 residents. The warm dry winter climate makes it an ideal tourist and retirement center. Hundreds of thousands of visitors stop annually to see the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge.
Principal Economic Activities
From Coolidge's founding until the early 1950s, the economy was mainly dependent on agriculture, and, to a lesser extent, mining. Growth was relatively steady until the late 1940s. As water use reached a maximum and mechanical equipment replacedfarm workers, it leveled off. The Coolidge economy diversified to include manufacturing and tourism.
Coolidge is in the major growth corridor between Phoenix and Tucson. Today, it is a regional trade and service center for agricultural producers, providing equipment, supplies and personal services for farm families. Community efforts and the completion of the 500-acre Pima-Coolidge Industrial Park just north of the city on the Gila River Indian Reservation have helped manufacturing grow.
Government agencies, such as the State of Arizona Training Program, Central Arizona College, Coolidge Unified School District, City of Coolidge and pinal County Health Department, are also major sources of jobs. All of Pinal County is an Enterprise Zone.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument preserves ruins of and interprets the culture of the prehistoric Hohokam people, who farmed the Gila River Valley centuries ago. The ruins include the Casa Grande (Spanish for "Big House"), a unique four-story caliche structure built in the early 1300s, and the surrounding walled neighborhood. A book store and picnic area are also available.
The Coolidge Historical Society Museum, re-organized in 1987, displays historical artifacts of educational value from Coolidge and the surrounding area dating from the 1920's to 1950's. Many photographs from the early days of Coolidge are part of the museum exhibits.
The Golden Era Museum displays a private collection of many original pieces including antique, vintage and classic toys, trains, automobiles and dolls. Collected for more than 25 years, many pieces date back as far as 1914.
Within a short drive from Coolidge are the Gila River Indian Reservation, with picuresque villages, Catholic missions and an Arts and Crafts Center; the Papago Indian Reservation, with basketry and handicraft items; Pinal Pioneer Parkway, one of the state's most beautiful scenic drives; and numerous lakes, with excellent fishing and water-based activities.
Coolidge offers special programs for winter visitors. November through April are filled with activities such as potlucks, tours and festivals.
Coolidge offers a broad range of community facilities including a library, a cultural center, an auditorium, six parks including multi-complex softball and baseball fields, soccer fields, a swimming pool, several tennis courts, a golf course and an adult center.
Coolidge has three public elementary and middle schools and a public high school. Also, Central Arizona College, a two-year college located six miles west of Coolidge, offers a wide range of college transfer and vocational courses, continuing education programs, cultural and athletic events and special training programs for business and industry. The University of Phoenix and Northern Arizona University offer undergraduate and graduate programs; for information on NAU, call (520) 786-7020.
There are three banks. Coolidge businesses are eligible for assistance in financing fixed assets through the Finance and Administration division of the Arizona Department of Commerce. Information on private activity bonds within the city may be obtained from the same source or from the Pinal County Economic Development Corp., Box 827, Florence, Arizona 85228.
Coolidge is governed by a mayor, six council members and a city manager. There is also a police department and a volunteer fire department.
Residents of Coolidge have access to Coolidge Municipal Airport with a lighted, paved runway of 5,590 feet and a secondary runway of 3,750 feet. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is less than one hour north.
A 500-acre park, with all utilities, is located north of the city on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The City has a 70-acre industrial park in the southwest section of Coolidge. Contact the Coolidge City Manager's office for information.
Lodging and Meeting Facilities
There are two motels with 60 rooms. Coolidge also offers eight meeting facilities, with the largest seating 350 persons; the Round House Gym seats 1,400; and a Cultural Arts Auditorium, seating 980. There are three mobile home/RV parks.