Vision, audacity – and land fraud – helped Chandler build Valley

Once Roosevelt Dam, completed in 1911, became a reality, A.J. Chandler knew that his ranch lands would become exponentially more valuable. Chandler Historical Society/East Valley Tribune

By Mike Butler | East Valley Tribune

As Dr. A.J. Chandler neared his 80th birthday in 1939 – with the city that bore his name gleaming like an emerald in the desert – a writer for Arizona Highways magazine approached the magnate and asked him to reflect on his beginnings in Arizona.

Ever the opportunist, Chandler saw the interview as a way to shape his legacy.

With florid prose worthy of the best dime novels of the late 19th century, writer Blanche K. Murray, in an article titled “Empire Builder,” described a bewildered “blue-eyed, boyish looking chap” from up North alighting from the train in the dead of a hot August night at Seligman.

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