In the 1950’s, the area where Fountain Hills now sits was a large cattle ranch. In 1960, Robert P. McCulloch bought 4,500 acres of land on the site, and invited his friend Charles Wood, Jr. to help him create a new community, which would eventually become the Town of Fountain Hills. The town was founded on December 15, 1970, and incorporated on December 5, 1989, making it one of the newest municipalities in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Today, Fountain Hills residents enjoy being part of a growing community that is slightly removed from the “hustle-and-bustle” of Phoenix. In 2006, the Town Council, with input from residents, adopted a strategic plan to provide for the future. Among other projects, the plan outlines a town commitment to growth.
Like many cities in Arizona, Fountain Hills is experiencing tremendous growth. Recent annexations by the town have allowed developers to begin building projects on newly acquired lands. Recent developments include upscale homes, equestrian facilities, and resort-style hotels and spas. An area experiencing particular growth and development is the downtown area, with several new residential and business projects, giving residents an enjoyable place to live, work, and shop.
Residents of Fountain Hills enjoy a high standard of living. The median household income in Fountain Hills is significantly above the national average, and children attend highly-rated schools in the Fountain Hills Unified School District. Because Fountain Hills is a “planned community,” roads are easy to navigate and residents can find anything they need without leaving town. Crime is notably lower in Fountain Hills than in greater Phoenix and the U.S.
Fountain Hills is an arts-minded community and residents take advantage of many opportunities to appreciate art in the area. The award-winning Fountain Hills Community Theater offers various performances throughout the year. The active Fountain Hills Art League presents “Artwalk at Plaza Fountainside” on the third Thursday of each month. There is a wide selection of retail and service businesses in the area, with new developments opening often. Most notable places for shopping include downtown, Eagle Mountain Marketplace, and Four Peaks Power Center. Because of its beauty and open surroundings, the area is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Within the city is a community park system, providing for a wide range of sports. Several public and private golf courses are also located in Fountain Hills. The landmark of the town, and its namesake, is the “World’s Tallest Fountain.” At 560 feet tall, the fountain sits in the middle of a lake, surrounded by a 32-acre park. In the mountains to the north, east, and west, hiking, boating, camping, fishing, and off-road travel are available.
The most important event of the year is the Fountain Hills Great Fair, held each February. During this event, artists from all over the country line Avenue of the Fountains Boulevard, showcasing their masterpieces. Also during the fair, the annual Hot Air Balloon Rally generally attracts 30 to 40 balloons. In November, approximately 100,000 visitors attend the Fountain Hills Festival of Arts and Crafts, where they enjoy art, music, and food in the open air. Another popular annual event is the lighting of thousands of holiday luminarias. The lighted paper bags line the major streets and surround the shores of Fountain Lake.
Situated in the Sonoran Desert, Fountain Hills averages 300 days of sunshine and 9.3 inches of precipitation each year. Because of its elevation (1700 ft.), temperatures on average are a few degrees cooler than in the surrounding communities of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix. December high temperatures average 67°F, and July high temperatures average 106°F. The majority of rainfall occurs during the monsoon, lasting from July through September.
Among the city’s largest businesses are Safeway grocery store, MCO Properties, Inc., Basha’s Supermarket, Sun Ridge Canyon Golf Course, Eagle Mountain Golf Course, and the Gaming Center at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. More than 1000 small businesses make their home in Fountain Hills, ranging from fast food to retail, specialty shops and home-based businesses.
When MCO Properties planned Fountain Hills, it adopted the slogan, “A hometown by nature.” Fountain Hills definitely has a hometown feel to it. Residents here live a slower pace of life and seem to enjoy one day at a time. People enjoy life in the outdoors and smile at each other in passing. Perhaps the natural beauty of the area and its high standard of living keep residents content.