Gilbert owes its beginnings to William "Bobby" Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Ayer's Grocery Store, the first store in Gilbert, opened in 1910 and became the location of the first post office in 1912. The location of the town post office moved several times before settling on the east side of Gilbert Road in downtown, where it still stands today. In 1912, many Mormons who had fled the Mormon colonies in Mexico due to the actions of the forces of Pancho Villa settled in Gilbert. By 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward.
Incorporated in July 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agricultural town for many years and was known as the "Hay Capital of the World" from 1911 until the late 1920s.
According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2000 Census, the town had an estimated area of 40 square miles (104 km2). As of 2009, and due to annexations the current Municipal Planning Area of Gilbert has a total area of 76.0 square miles (197 km2), of which, 75.76 square miles (196.2 km2) is land and 0.24 square miles (0.6 km2) is water.
The climate of Gilbert is hot desert climate BWh.
As of the census of 2010, there were 208,453 people, 74,147 housing units, and 3.01 persons per household.Fastest growing municipality in the United States from 1990–2003 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Currently the 4th fastest growing municipality in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau – 2009)
Ranked by CNN's Money magazine in 2008 as one of the best places to live in the United States
One of the top 25 safest cities in the United States
34.5% of Gilbert residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
Highest household median income in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area with population 50,000+ (U.S. Census Bureau 2005)
According to Nielsen's Claritas demographics, in 2009 the racial makeup of the town was:81.51% White
15.39% Hispanics or Latinos
3.08% Black or African American
0.79% Native American
0.23% Pacific Islander
5.97% from other races
3.73% from two or more races
2009 estimated population data by gender/age:31.37 average age male/female
30.03 est. average age
31.82 est. average age
37.14% population under 21
33.25% population under 18
70.01% population over 16
66.76% population over 18
62.86% population over 21
5.30% population over 65
2009 estimated population age 15+ by marital status:20.87% never married
66.71% married, spouse present
2.23% married, spouse absent
2009 estimated population age 25+ educational attainment:92.33% high school/GED or higher
37.5% bachelor's degree or higher
10.46% master's degree or higher
2009 estimated household by household income:$109,213 average household income
$89,077 median household income
$35,559 per capita Income
2.28% of families are below the poverty level
Various religious denominations are represented in Gilbert. The town has been known for its high Mormon population, a fact evidenced by the LDS church's building of a temple in Gilbert.
According to the town's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Various properties in the town of Gilbert are considered historical and have been included either in the National Register of Historic Places or listed as such in the Gilbert Historic District. In the gallery at the end of the article are images of some of these properties.
These performers have been associated with Gilbert:Elektrolytes, dance crew that won season 7 of America's Best Dance Crew
Jimmy Eat World, band
The Maine, band
Scary Kids Scaring Kids, band
Lindsey Stirling, violinist, dancer, and performer; Mesquite High School graduate
Gilbert was recognized in 2010 as the "36th Best Place to Live in the nation", as well as among the nation's "top places to live and learn", by GreatSchools.org. Washington, DC-based CQ Press rated Gilbert the "safest municipality in Arizona, and 25th safest in the nation."
Since Gilbert remains incorporated as a town, it lacks the additional powers possessed by Mesa and Chandler, which are incorporated as cities. For instance, Arizona towns do not have as much power to regulate utilities and construction within their borders as cities possess. Unlike most of its neighboring communities, Gilbert is theoretically vulnerable to annexation.
The town is part of Arizona's 5th congressional district, which is represented by Republican and Gilbert resident Andy Biggs. The mayor of Gilbert is Jenn Daniels.
Gilbert is rated as a town of relatively low crime. According to FBI records, Gilbert was the largest town in the United States with zero murders in 2005, 2007, and 2014.
Most of Gilbert is zoned to schools in the Gilbert Public Schools, while other portions are zoned to districts including the Chandler Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, and the Higley Unified School District. Also in Gilbert are charter schools such as Edu-Prize (the first charter school in Arizona). The town is also home to Gilbert Christian Schools, a chain of private schools.
Gilbert is primarily served by one area freeway—the Santan Freeway portion of Loop 202. A small section of the US 60 Superstition Freeway also skirts the northern boundary of the town at the Higley Road interchange (Exit 186). Several regional arterials also serve the area, including Williams Field Road, Chandler Boulevard, and Gilbert Road. The town enjoys relative closeness to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, which is located in east Mesa, and is a twenty-five-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Recently, a park-and-ride facility was constructed in downtown Gilbert for bus service and future commuter rail service. Although the facility borders the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) tracks and has provisions for commuter rail service, there is currently no such service. However, buses operate to downtown Phoenix, and future commuter rail service to Gilbert will require little modification since most of the facilities are already built. Most people get around by cars or bikes.Jim Bechtel, professional poker player; World Champion of Poker in 1993; lives in Gilbert
Dave Burba, currently lives in Gilbert; former star pitcher of the late 1990s Indians teams
Marquis Cooper, former professional linebacker; played for Highland High School
Ken Delo, singer best known for The Lawrence Welk Show; lives in Gilbert
The Honky Tonk Man, pro wrestler (real name Roy Wayne Farris); lives in Gilbert
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NFL professional quarterback; played for Highland High School
Jineane Ford, Miss Arizona USA 1980; Miss USA 1980
Alan Gordon, professional soccer player; born in Gilbert in 1981
Dan Hausel, Hall of Fame martial artist; resident of Gilbert since 2006
Shea Hillenbrand, All-Star professional baseball player
Darrin Jackson, professional baseball player, 1985-1999; TV broadcaster; currently lives in Gilbert
Kimberly Joiner, Miss Arizona USA 2008; raised in and still lives in Gilbert
Naomi Lang, five-time US ice dance champion and 2002 US Olympic figure skating team member
Spencer Larsen, former professional football player; raised in Gilbert; played for Highland High School
Justin Lassen, artist; currently lives in Gilbert; graduated from Gilbert High School in 2000
Ryan Leslie, television personality on MTV's The Real World: New Orleans
Bengie Molina, former Major League Baseball catcher; has lived in Gilbert since 2011
Carlos I. Noriega, NASA astronaut; retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant colonel; lives in Gilbert
Phil Ortega, MLB pitcher, 1960-1969; born in Gilbert in 1939
Mykayla Skinner, gymnast; member of the US team that won the gold medal at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships; winner of the bronze medal on vault
Lindsey Stirling, violinist; dancer; performer; grew up in Gilbert
Eric Swann, Arizona Cardinals; currently lives in Gilbert
Rick Woolstenhulme, drummer for the band Lifehouse
Gilbert has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Leshan, Sichuan, China