I hail from Magical Higley, Arizona. To me, it is a state of mind and a place in my heart, somewhere my journey led me which lives on even if you cannot find it on a map like you used to. But it absolutely originates from the real Higley, AZ.
As the East Valley Tribune explained in a profile on the San Tan Historic Society's "Crossroads of Historic Higley" exhibit:
Higley started as a train stop in 1904. It eventually grew to encompass the desert farming community that, according to some maps, stretched from southern Mesa over Gilbert and Queen Creek to the Hunt Highway.
On the town of Queen Creek's site, Stephen Weaver Higley is given the credit for constructing the Santa Fe railroad line from California to Arizona, then purchasing and donating 40 acres that became the original Higley townsite.
Pictured below, a pamphlet (available here for download) from the town's original settlers and trade board singing its praises as a center of agriculture. It's title: "Higley, Arizona - Where we Make It Rain When we Need It."
S.W. Higley would soon purchase local newspaper The Arizona Republican, which would become today's Arizona Republic, and play a pivotal role with editor Sims Ely in covering the campaign for Arizona's 1912 statehood.
Former Gilbert Mayor Dale Hallock wrote his remembrance of Higley for the Arizona Republic.
When I was a boy, Higley was a store and station at the southwest corner of the Higley and Williams Field roads intersection.The store was just south of Roosevelt Water Conservation District. The store had gas pumps and a post office, and it had been established many years before my family came to Arizona.
Leslie LeRoux of the Make Higley Historic! blog writes:
When founded, Higley served as a postal district, school district and commercial center for the entire San Tan farming community, what we now know as Queen Creek, Combs, Chandler Heights, south Mesa and Gilbert.
The post office was founded by Lawrence H. Sorey in 1909, his daughter Matilda serving as a mail carrier by horseback.
Recognition of the community in terms of zip code changed in 2007. As reported by the East Valley Tribune, thousands of addresses once listed as Higley were changed to Gilbert zip codes.
In 2010, the original site of the general store and post office was torn down.
The last remaining zip code for Higley, 85236, is only in use at a post office on South Higley Road and East Ray Road (see map below).
The areas that were once known as Higley were annexed into the towns of Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek.
Both the Higley Center for the Performing Arts and Higley High School are located at South Recker Road and East Pecos Road in Gilbert.
The Higley Unified School District currently defines its boundaries as far north as East Warner Road, as far south as East Ocotillo Road, as far west as South Greenfield Road, and as far east as South Sossaman Road.
Read more at:
Make Higley Historic!
Leslie LeRoux wrote several posts in 2009, providing a "definitive source of Higley happenings - past, present and future." While serving as President of the San Tan Historical Society, she worked to make her efforts tangible in the form of a museum exhibit. She has been invaluable in the construction of this site and blog.
San Tan Historical Society
This museum is committed to preserving the history of Chandler Heights, Combs, Higley, and Queen Creek, and includes many artifacts from Higley history in their various exhibits.
The Higley native and photographer, who moved to Europe in 1990, has a collection of 81 pictures of the town he grew up in. The book includes essays about his experiences visiting in the mid-2000s:
My love for this history resulted in an opportunity to help the San Tan Historical Society with the website they use as of this writing, and of course securing my own Higley address - P.O. Box 142, Higley AZ 85236.
To me, Higley means "home."