Gila Bend, Arizona

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Gila Bend (pronounced /ˌhiːlə ˈbɛnd/; O'odham: Hila Wi:n), founded in 1872, is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. The town is named for an approximately 90-degree bend in the Gila River, which is close to but not precisely at the community's current location.[3] According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the town is 2,055.[1]

Just outside the town is the San Lucy district (O'odham: Weco Cekṣanĭ) of the Tohono O'odham Nation, with a tiny settlement, San Lucy (O'odham: Si:l Mek) bordering the town itself.

On December 14, 2006, Volkswagen of America, Inc., leased 11,900 acres (48 km2) of land at a cost of $55 million for 25 years, ten miles (16 km) west of Gila Bend, on which they plan to develop a new automobile proving ground.[4]

Gila Bend enjoys a minor notability among tourists and aficionados of roadside attractions. Besides the quirky welcome sign (shown at right), the town boasts several roadside sculptures[5] and the Space Age Lodge motel and restaurant (opened in 1963), named for its "Space Age" themed architecture and decor.[6][7]

The band Los Lobos wrote a song called "The Road To Gila Bend", which appears on their 2006 release The Town and the City.

Contents

Geography and climate

Gila Bend is located at 32°57′0″N 112°43′29″W / 32.95°N 112.72472°W / 32.95; -112.72472 (32.950027, -112.724701).[8] The town is just off Interstate 8 on Arizona SR 85, which provides access between I-8 and Interstate 10 north of Gila Bend. In recognition of historical routes that pass through the area, the town's website refers to Gila Bend as "The Crossroads of the Southwest".[9] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.8 square miles (59.1 km²), all of it land.

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