San Tan Historical Society – Learning History

San Tan Historical Society

When traveling through an area, do you notice the names of the streets and wonder where those names came from? We wonder about these things and the San Tan Historical Society is the place to find the answers for Queen Creek, Arizona.

Location and Parking

Parking Lot

The building is located about 5.5 miles south from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The address is 20425 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek, AZ 85142. Parking is available along Old Ellsworth Road and behind the museum (access via Queen Creek Rd).

About San Tan Historical Society

Class Room

The mission is “To collect, preserve, document, and display the histories and artifacts of the Chandler Heights, Combs, Higley, and Queen Creek Communities. To facilitate the collection of items and to encourage and educate the public to respect and participate in the conservation of the history of our past.”

Admission was free at the time of our visit. The hours for the public are on Saturday from 9 am-1 pm.

Rittenhouse Elementary School Historical Marker

Historical Marker

On this site 1925, classes were moved from a muleskinner’s cook shack to this new school named after Charles Rittenhouse. It was constructed of Arizona red brick, with tongue and groove wood floors and slate blackboards. Two rolldown room dividers separated the three rooms. In 1937 additional classrooms were completed to accommodate the growth in the community.

A volunteer shared that 95% of the original floor was refurbished and completed a few months ago.

Mansel Carter

Mansel Carter

If you have been following our adventures over the years you know that Mansel Carter was very active in the area. Many locations have been named after him. For example, the Mansel Carter Statue is in the Queen Creek Marketplace and Mansel Carter Oasis Park is in Queen Creek, Arizona. The day we were visiting we learned that one of the volunteers was a good friend of Mr. Carter. The volunteer shared stories about Mr. Carter and how they were neighbors. For 20+ years they would haul water to their homes and Mr. Carter lived with out electric for many years.


Chevy Truck

The Society accepts donations to help fund the building. When you are on vacation do you like to volunteer or support local history? You can volunteer at many of their events. Such as restoring the Desert Wells Stage Stop by using historic techniques and materials.

San Tan Historical Society Gift Shop

Gift Shop

Do you like mementos from your adventures? There is a lovely gift shop to purchase a reminder of your visit to the San Tan Historical Society. Many of the items are handcrafted and if you are lucky like us, one of the volunteers was the person who created the artwork.

More Information


To learn more about the San Tan Historical Society, visit their website at

San Tan Historical Society

Maytag Washer 1924

We were very fortunate that the volunteers operating this historical site were long-time residence and loved to share stories about the growth of the community. It is quite a treasure to hear firsthand about life in the areas 50 years ago.

Where did you visit and you met a local that shared stories about the area’s past?

17 thoughts on “San Tan Historical Society – Learning History
  1. My family and I have lived in the valley for 35 years. I’m amazed at the growth over that time. At one time we lived near Dobson and Price. At that time there were no street lights and only a few stores in the area. Our daughter was teased that she lived “out in the country”. Many of our neighbors would tell us stories about how the area was just farmland before.
    Than you for the reminder of how to relearn those times.

  2. What a cool place to see. I love learning about history and how things were back in the day!

    1. I liked seeing the farm equipment. The have from hand tools to animal assisted to motorized.

  3. I love learning about the history of places. This looks like a fun area to explore and learn about. I’d also be all about the gift shop! Your pictures always make me want to return to Arizona. I hope to get back soon.

  4. This looks like a really interesting place to see! I have never heard of the San Tan Historical Society. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome. They include a few additional smaller towns history as well. Like, Queen Creek, Higley, and Chandler Heights.

  5. I’m all about history and am so appreciative of historical societies. San Tan Historical Society in Arizona sounds like my kind of place!

  6. We love Arizona but haven’t traveled to any of the slightly more out-of-the-way areas yet…but would love to. It is seriously my kids’ favorite state.

  7. I had never heard of this place. I’ve been to Arizona and will have to look for this next time I go back.

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