History of Goodyear

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These views of Western Avenue at Litchfield Road in the 1950's show:
  • Bowman's Drug
  • Abraham's Market
  • Goodyear Post Office (with flagpole)
  • Airline Restaurant
  • Goodale Hardware (sign: Dutch Boy Paints)
  • First National Bank

Top: view to southwest Bottom: view to east

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The Goodyear of today exists because of the cotton of yesteryear. It was part of the 16,000 acres purchased in 1917 for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company by junior executive Paul Litchfield. Cotton used to make rubber tires for airplanes in World War I was in short supply because foreign sources were in war torn countries or disease ridden. When Goodyear found that Arizona's climate and soil was similar to foreign sources, the company sent Litchfield to purchase land.

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The small community that formed as a result of the Goodyear Farms cotton industry first became known as "Egypt" for the Egyptian cotton grown there and then, finally, was called "Goodyear." The community thrived as long as the cotton industry was strong. But after the war, cotton prices plummeted and Goodyear's economy suffered.

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The town of Goodyear was incorporated in November 1946. At that time, the town had 151 homes, 250 apartments, a grocery store, drug store, barber shop, beauty shop and service station. The town became a city in 1985.

 

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However, World War II brought a recovery in the early 1940's when the Litchfield Naval Air Facility and the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation located here, employing as many as 7,500 people at one time. Dirigibles or "blimps" were built at the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.

 

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The Litchfield Naval Air Facility was the training base for the Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team until 1968. After the war, the Naval Air Facility served as a storage base for thousands of World War II aircraft that were moth balled and salvaged.

Then, in 1968, the Navy sold the airfield to the City of Phoenix which named it the Phoenix-Litchfield Airport. In 1986, it was renamed the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport.

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Then, in 1949, a long history of aerospace and defense programs began in Goodyear when the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation replaced the Goodyear Aircraft facility. That plant was later sold to Loral Defense Systems and eventually evolved by merger and acquisition into the current Lockheed Martin Corp.

 

In the 1980s, the 10,000 acres that remained of the original Goodyear Farms was sold to SunCor which developed much of the land into the Palm Valley master-planned, mixed-use community located north of I-10 in Goodyear.

The Three Rivers Historical Society works to preserve the heritage of the cities which grew at the confluence of the Salt, Gila and Agua Fria rivers - Goodyear, Avondale, Litchfield Park and Tolleson.