Denise Bates

In 1916, Paul W. Litchfield, vice president of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, purchased 16,000 acres west of Phoenix to grow long staple cotton for use in the pneumatic tires the company manufactured. With this, the Southwest Cotton Company was formed. This huge undertaking required drilling wells and building power lines, roads, canals, and, of course, housing for workers. The war years brought Goodyear Aircraft, built by the U.S. Department of Defense on land leased from Southwest Cotton Company, and Litchfield Naval Air Facility. With the arrival of Goodyear Aircraft and the navy base, homes, apartments, and basic retail services sprang up. The town of Goodyear was incorporated on November 19, 1946, with a population of 1,250. Named an All-America City in 2008, Goodyear is now a thriving community of 58,000 residents and the spring training home of Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.