The City of Surprise encompasses an area of approximately 74 square miles, and has grown an astonishing 999% in the last 15 years from a town of just over 7,000 residents in 1990 to over 100,000 today. Surprise was founded in 1937 by a real estate developer and state legislator, Homer C. Ludden, who named the city after his hometown in Nebraska. Ludden built inexpensive housing for agricultural workers and laid the agricultural foundation for the area with irrigated farmlands and orchards.
Tens of thousands of retirees moved to the city in the 1990s and early 2000s to live in Sun City Grand, a 55+ community with homes built by Del Webb that is just 5 miles northwest of the original Sun City development from the 1960s. Since it opened in 1996, Sun City Grand has been a major contributor to the city’s explosive population growth.
Incorporated in 1960, this once small farming community now encompasses urban and commercial developments, ranches and industrial parks. Considerable employment has been created in the construction and service sectors. In addition, Surprise has become a recreational destination for the Northwest Valley with the brand new 10,562 square foot Surprise Aquatics Center, West Valley Art Museum, eight championship golf courses, and Surprise Stadium, the 10,560 seat, multi-use stadium that is home to the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers for spring training each year.