Arizona is an ideal destination for history buffs. There are numerous sites near cities like Chandler where your family can learn something new. Use our guide to take a trip back in time with these must-visit landmarks near home.
Arizona Railway Museum
The Arizona Railway Museum is a must-stop for both history and train buffs right in Tumbleweed Park. It offers guests an extensive collection of railcars, engines, and related artifacts. Founders incorporated this non-profit in 1983 and dedicated its gallery and exhibit space to preserving railways of all kinds. With help from the community, it acquires, restores, preserves, and displays equipment and mementos from the past and present.
Embark on a self-guided tour of the grounds to view the trains, including eightpassenger cars and a caboose. Each display features a placard that describes the item’s historical significance. Then, head inside to see the gallery of smaller artifacts, browse the gift shop, and use the restrooms. Admission is just $25 for the whole family, making it a budget-friendly educational activity for kids of all ages, including those in preschool.
- Location: 330 E. Ryan Road in Chandler.
- Hours: Saturday and Sunday between Sept. 3, 2022, through May 28, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Learn about local history at the McCullough-Price House. Dr. A.J. Chandler founded the city in 1912, and it was incorporated in 1920. It touts more than a dozen properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including this stunning 1938 Pueblo Revival-style home. William D. McCullough of Detroit built the house as his family’s winter retreat, and today you’ll find the Chandler Museum inside.
The McCullough-Price House features all the classic characteristics of Southwestern architecture, including projecting wooden roof beams, a traditional adobe appearance, parapets, and a rooftop patio. There’s also a walled courtyard to explore. Go inside for the exhibit galleries, archives collections, and research center. This cultural destination is unlike any other, with collections like “Picturing Home: Dust Bowl Migrants in Chandler” on display until Aug. 13, 2023.
- Location: 300 S. Chandler Village Dr. in Chandler.
- Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Will Robinson erected the Alamo-style Suhwaro Hotel in 1915 with the help of the Creighton & McDonald architectural firm in Phoenix. The building has served many purposes over the century. It originally housed the nearby San Marcos Hotel’s employees, then it served as a classroom for Chandler High School students, and later as a traditional hotel with separate gentlemen’s and ladies’ bars.
The two-story building’s first floor offered stellar recreational opportunities for early Chandler residents, like two bowling alleys, a billiard room, and an ice cream parlor. Upstairs you would have found nine sleeping areas, each with a porch and a central parlor for visiting. It was an affordable alternative to the more luxurious neighbor: San Marcos. Today you’ll find the Eastwind Sushi and Grill restaurant under the roof.
- Location: 58 W. Buffalo St. in Chandler.
- Restaurant Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
Chandler High School
Chandler High School was a marvel in 1921 when it was built with its fireproof construction, state-of-the-art electric design, and a modern communication system that worked in every room. It even touted a school-wide bell system and high-tech science labs. The Mission Revival style is the result of a combination of ideas by builders Broman & Chapman and the main building’s architect, Allison & Allison.
The facility is one of the oldest continually used educational facilities in Arizona. However, The first recorded school in the area was at the Chandler Ranch in 1907. It served the farm workers’ children near Arizona Avenue and Ray Road. The city then built Chandler Grammar School near the northeast corner of Cleveland and California Streets. Officials opened it in 1912, and it closed and was demolished in 1968.
- Location: 350 N. Arizona Ave. in Chandler
- School Office Hours: Weekdays during the school year from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bank of Chandler Building
The original brick bank building near the southwest corner of Commonwealth and San Marcos Place was constructed in 1912 and featured a sparkling-white glazed facade. Chandler’s Improvement Company occupied the space, where it bought, sold, and leased land, including parcels within Dr. Chandler’s 18,000-acre estate.
The Bank of Chandler moved into the building during the 1920s, and the two companies shared the space until 1925. Valley National Bank took over during the mid-1950s and heavily remodeled the building. A Bank One branch held the spot until 2005, and today you can find its marker mounted on the front of the building. There are eight other markers within walking distance of the former bank, including:
- Monroe Building.
- Morrison Grocery.
- Dr. A. J. Chandler.
- Arthur E. Price.
- Dougherty Building.
- Price Building.
- Anderson Building.
- Hotel Chandler.
You can’t miss the McCormick Building’s towering red brick face along West Boston Street. It was built in 1928, and in the 1930s, it served as the local headquarters for two very distinct groups: the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Arizona National Guard station.
The defense organization was first activated in Chandler in 1940, and it needed an armory. The second floor of the McCormick Building served that purpose until the National Guard outgrew the space in 1948. The building was remodeled in the 1960s and converted into a medical office and apartment complex. The McCormick family restored it to its original design in 2001.
- Location: 149 W. Boston St. in Chandler.
Satisfy the history buffs in your family with an excursion around Chandler. Whether you love old trains or turn-of-the-century architecture, you’ll find it within the city’s limits. Which intriguing site will you visit first? Drop us a line and let us know your favorite destinations near home. We want to share your ideas with other local parents looking for terrific historical outings for families of all ages.