Side A:Historic A.J. Chandler ParkThe centerpiece of Dr. A.J. Chandler's town design in 1912 was a large, rectangular central park. In the early years, this park was covered in Bermuda grass, trees, and included footbridges over the Commonwealth Canal that ran east and west through the center of the park. The park spanned from today's San Marcos Place to Arizona Place and the north-south boundaries were Boston Street to the south and Buffalo Street to the north. The park has always been a gathering place for the town.
Originally, Arizona Avenue curved around the central park, running one direction of traffic around the west side of the park, and another around the east side of the park. In 1940, the Town Council approved a plan to expand Arizona Avenue as a state highway. As a result, the central park was divided in half for the new highway, in order to improve safety and accommodate the increase in traffic. Local residents and Dr. Chandler did not like the change, but ultimately accepted it because the highway brought in more travelers and business.
During World War II the city installed an "Honor Roll" billboard in the park to honor the men and women who were serving in the military. By the end of the war, over 700 names were displayed on the billboard, including 13 women, and 18 servicemen who died. The date is unknown when the billboard was taken down. The City later placed a general veteran's memorial in the park.
In the park's later years, the landscape included vibrant displays of annual flowers, holiday decorations, and a display of a F86-D fighter jet similar to those used at the Williams Air Force Base. Since 1957, the Tumbleweed Tree has attracted admirers to the park every December. In 1986, the City remodeled the park to its current design and layout.
Side B:The Chandler District Honor Roll
"Their Hometown Will Not Forget Them"
United We Stand
(Listing of Names)
As the U.S. began sending troops to the faraway battlefields of World War II, Chandler citizens and the American Legion decided to create a physical reminder of the men and women in their community serving the country. They chose to construct a large sign that would list individuals from Chandler, Goodyear, (now Ocotillo), Higley, Queen Creek, and Chandler Heights.
With money raised from the community, the American Legion hired Pedro Guerrero, a Mesa sign designer, to create the Chandler District Honor Roll. In only ten days, Guerrero and others built a monumental wooden sign 16 feet high and 30 feet wide, which stood in the southeast section of the park. Dedicated on May 30, 1943, the names on the sign grew from 330 to over 700 by the end of the war in 1945.
After the war, veterans requested a permanent memorial to replace the Honor Roll board. On Memorial Day in 1949, the American Legion dedicated a stone monument with a bronze plaque reading, "Dedicated to those of the Chandler Community who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States so that peace, freedom, and justice might not perish from the earth". Today that memorial is located on the east side of A. J. Chandler Park.