Once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World," Gilbert, Arizona has evolved into one of the fastest growing communities and the largest town in the United States. Encompassing 72.6 square miles, just southeast of Phoenix, Gilbert has transformed from an agricultural community to a thriving and economically-diverse suburban community. Incorporated in 1920, Gilbert owes its beginnings to William "Bobby" Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. During the last three decades, Gilbert has seen tremendous growth, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to more than 235,276 in 2014. Many recent accolades, including being named the 2nd Safest City and the 22nd Best Place to Live in the country, explain why so many want to live and do business in Gilbert. The iconic water tower stands tall in downtown Gilbert in an area that once housed little more than the post office. Today, you will find the downtown bustling with shops, restaurants, a theater and, soon, it will also be home to a University. Gilbert offers 9.8 million square feet of retail and more than 600 acres of developed park land, providing a quality of life that translates to a thriving and diverse community. Gilbert is home to seven golf courses, five major parks, four community pools, four community recreation centers, two theatres, and an indoor ice arena. Throughout the year, Gilbert is host to numerous festivals, youth and amateur sporting events, academic conferences, sports tournaments, an art walk, and farmers markets.