Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in the State of Arizona. With an estimated 47,442 residents as of 2014, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction which gradually became known as Maricopa. Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route during the 1800s. It was one of the best known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it not only had a reliable source of water, but offered an abundance of food thanks to the peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby.Maricopa’s second moment of fame took place eight miles south of Maricopa Wells and about three miles west of present-day Maricopa. It was called Maricopaville. In 1879, the Southern Pacific Railroad was in the process of building a railroad line from Yuma to Tucson, and a second railroad line was to be built from Maricopaville, wrapping around the western edge of South Mountain into Phoenix.However, a railroad line was never built from Maricopaville into Phoenix. Tempe wanted to be on the railroad line and was very vociferous about its demands and rights. The powers at the state capitol agreed and Maricopaville lost its moment of glory as a rising Arizona star. It was moved three miles to the east to its present location of Maricopa in the early 1880s, and began its life as a famous railroad junction when the first M&P train left Maricopa for Phoenix on July 4, 1887. Once again, all east-west travelers had to stop at Maricopa, and those who wanted to travel to the north had to board the Maricopa & Phoenix Railroad which took them into Kyrene, Tempe and Phoenix.The city was officially incorporated on October 15, 2003, becoming the 88th incorporated city in Arizona.