Filed Under Post War 1950s, 60s

El Mirage, Arizona

An Apparition in the Desert

El Mirage was first founded 20 miles west of Phoenix near Grand Avenue. It began as a community of farm workers who were struggling to build homes for themselves. Not long after the early settlers setup homes and farms in the area, the the Army Air Field nearby (now called Luke Air Force Base) setup an auxiliary training field for pilots training for World War II. 
Over the years the community has maintained a close relationship with Luke Air Force Base, one of the U. S. Air Forces primary fighter train bases.

The city was chartered in 1951 and has been growing rapidly ever since.


Agua Fria Railroad Bridge in El Mirage. Day and night the Atkinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad freight trains run through El Mirage. This bridge or trestle was built in 1895 and supports the trains delivering goods throughout the Southwest. Source: Peoria Historical Society Date: c. 2010
Entering El Mirage During the early 1930s, migrant farm workers settled in El Mirage on the west bank of the Agua Fria River. Mexican migrants came to El Mirage to help build the canals and harvest the first crops. They founded El Mirage in 1937. El Mirage was incorporated in 1951. Source: Peoria Historical Society Date: c. 1999
Rooms at the El Mirage Motel In earlier days, the El Mirage Motel was a needed rest stop along Grand Avenue. Each room was an individual building built of field stone. Source: Peoria Historical Society
Office of the El Mirage Motel El Mirage Motel was built out of fieldstone in 1937 and is located at 12229 NW Grand Ave. This is the office of the motel which was used by motorist who traveled through Grand Ave. Source: Peoria Historical Society Date: c. 2010
Room at the El Mirage Motel. Obviously this room saw better days . The motel is abandoned and is scheduled for destruction some day. Source: Peoria Historical Society Date: c. 200



William M. Bercu, Ph.D., “El Mirage, Arizona,” Salt River Stories, accessed September 26, 2023,