How Did Surprise, Arizona Get Its Name?


Quick Answer

Surprise, Arizona got its name when Flora Mae Statler founded the town on one square mile of farmland and remarked that she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much." The town started with a few houses for agricultural workers and a gas station in 1938. Surprise officially incorporated in 1960.

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Full Answer

Surprise is located 20 miles northwest of Phoenix. The 2000 census listed its population at 30,848, and the 2010 census showed a population of 117,517 for a 281 percent increase, making Surprise the second-fastest growing suburb of Phoenix, after Gilbert. This increase was partly due to a large number of retirees moving to Sun City Grand, which is an age-restricted community built by Del Webb.

Surprise's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report lists Dysart School District, Walmart, City of Surprise, Fry's Food and Drug and Maricopa County as the city's largest employers. The city has a mayor and six-member city council. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers baseball teams have their spring training at Surprise Stadium. The city has a variety of pools, slides and waterfalls at its aquatics center. It also has eight golf courses and an all-access sports facility at Dream Catcher Park. White Tank Mountain Regional Park has a variety of hiking and biking trails.

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