History of Paradise Valley

The earliest history of Paradise Valley is fascinating. Although this beautiful city has only truly taken shape in last 75 years. The earliest true residents came over 2,000 years ago when the area was inhabited by a large tribes of Native American farmers known as the Hohokam. They were the first settlers to the area locals now fondly referred to as “The Valley”.  The Hohokam's pioneered the use of complex canal networks to irrigate the arid lands of the region. The tribe occupied central Arizona, including the Paradise Valley and Scottsdale area, until around 1375 when it is believed erratic climate changes forced them to abandon most of their settlements.
By the early 1800s, European settlers had found their way west and were using the land around Paradise Valley for cattle grazing and farming. In the 1860tys US troops patrolled the area but growth was still minimal. In an effort to encourage economic development of the arid regions of the Western states, Congress passed the Desert Land Claim Act of 1877. This allowed individuals to apply for up to 640 acres of land to farm and cultivate.

History of Paradise Valley, "Paradise is named"

This, in turn, brought three surveyors for the Rio Verde Canal Company out west in 1889 to survey the land in the Paradise Valley area for agricultural opportunities. Struck by the immense beauty of the spring wildflowers growing across the valley, the surveyors dubbed the area “Paradise Valley.” At about this same time in late 1880ty’s Paradise valley’s neighbor Scottsdale was growing as a farming village was given the name “Scottsdale” in 1894 after its founder, U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott.

History Of Paradise Valley -Early housing and Real Estate

Going back to the earliest history of Paradise Valley, there was no reliable sources of water other than seasonal rainfall so the land was cheap. Well into the 1920s, development in Paradise Valley consisted mainly of modest adobe homes and what many might consider shacks built on large plots of land. With just a very few stately properties built by wealthy individuals from the 'east' drawn to Paradise Valley by the beauty and idyllic weather. Even after the second World war most homes were small and modest and yet a typical lot size was not less than 5 acres. Larger homes, A few of the predecessors to the grand estates of today i.e early stately Paradise Valley residences and schools were turned into guest lodges beginning in 1930 (such as the Hermosa Lodge, El Chorro Lodge and the Schildman Residence)
A few Images seen below, show the History of Paradise Valley in Picture


It wasn’t until the late 1930s, the modern history of Paradise Valley takes shape. Settlement began in earnest. It was around this time, in 1928, when one of Paradise Valley’s most notable historical buildings (not to mention one of the state of Arizona’s oldest independent college preparatory schools), The Judson School, opened its doors with seven students—all boys. In 1945, Henry Wick, who had taught at the school since 1938, bought it from George Judson and began offering English as a Second Language. These classes brought students from all around the world, representing a total of 30 different countries. Girls were admitted to The Judson School starting in 1956. This historic campus stood until 1999 when the 55 acre property was sold to a home developer. Who then built one of the most prestigious communities in Arizona aptly named Judson Estates. Today, there is still a small structure on the property which stands as a memorial to 72 years of The Judson School’s history.

The history of Paradise Valley evolves richly through 1930ty’s as it was becoming renowned for its stunning beauty, wide open spaces, and beautiful weather.

About Paradise Valley history
Guest Paradise Valley 1930ty's

As a result of the beautiful weather and scenic setting, the entire Valley became a draw for a number of the country’s most upscale resorts and in 1936, the Camelback Inn resort opened in nearby Scottsdale. With special attention being paid to the culture and history of Paradise Valley. Each casita at the Camelback Inn was built with adobe bricks made on the property, decorated with Native American art, and given a name that reflected the local cacti.

History of Paradise Valley Camelback inn
Camelback Inn 1940ty's

Other resorts, such as the Montelucia and Hermosa Inn soon followed, as did guest ranches such as Sun ‘N Sage, Diamond Lazy K, and Desert Lark. By the end of the World War II, Paradise Valley’s resorts were a go-to destination for the affluent. Today Paradise Valley is still one of the most beautiful and affluent communities in the U.S.

About Paradise Valley – 1960tys to Modern Day

As the cities of Scottsdale and Phoenix grew around Paradise Valley, The early Paradise Valley residents became determined to maintain the beauty and scenic beauty that inspired the name 'Paradise Valley'. So faced with mounting pressure from the swelling populations of nearby Scottsdale and Phoenix, residents of Paradise Valley formed the Citizens’ Committee for the Incorporation of The Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona. The committee’s goal was to incorporate the town of Paradise Valley so that urban sprawl and its subdivisions and shopping centers did NOT overtake the rural lifestyle to which Paradise Valley residents were accustomed. In April 1961, the Citizens’ Committee presented their petition for incorporation to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and on May 24, 1961, it was granted. Paradise Valley, Arizona had been firmly established. April 1961, the Citizens’ Committee presented their petition for incorporation to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and on May 24, 1961, it was granted. Paradise Valley, Arizona had been firmly established. A testament to the strength of a small group of early visionary residences from all different social strata. Especially true because at the time, Paradise Valley was still in it’s infancy with only about 2000 residences. Some of the more modest homes of the era, many with 5 acres could be purchased for a price of below $25,000. The history of Paradise Valley would not be what it is without these early homeowners. We applaud their foresight and passion. Today 5 acres in Paradise Valley might cost between $6,000,000 and $8,000,000. Add a nice home on 5 acres the price could exceed $12,000,000. Some of the early dictates established by the early Paradise Valley Committees was NO commercial Development in town limits (resorts only exception)... and residential zoning that would NOT allow more than 1 home per acre, unless the home was a within a resort community. The net result is beautiful streets, gorgeous stately homes with lush surroundings. Almost without exception when I show homes in Paradise Valley to Home buyers, with budgets of 1.5 million and more , the overwhelming response is,  'Paradise Valley is beyond compare for those seeking a beautiful luxury home, in a beautiful area,  that almost feels secluded but is only minutes to some of the best dining, entertainment and activities in the World '. The cities to me that most resemble Paradise Valley in the western United States is Beverly Hills and Bel Air California.

History of Paradise Valley Today. Facts and Stats

Today, Paradise Valley is a thriving luxury community of 13,000 people spanning across 16.5 square miles, with an elevation of 1,421 feet. Water is amply supplied by the Colorado river and natural resources. Residential taxes are some of the lowest in the nation, typically less than or equal to 1% of the homes market value. Strict zoning ordinances have kept commercial endeavors to a minimum so the community consists mostly of multi-million dollar homes set typically on lots of at least one acre each,  in a rare cases between 39,000 and 43,000 square feet.  In fact, local zoning ordinances have taken the town’s commitment to preserving individual privacy and space even further by restricting where a builder can place a home on a plot of land. The exact restriction is based on the height of the home’s exterior roof; for example, a home with an exterior roof height of 16 feet cannot be placed closer than 20 feet from the property line and a home with a 20-foot-high exterior roof cannot be closer than 40 feet to the property line. A home with 20 foot high roof line home must be 40 feet from property line and Paradise Valley homes with a maximum height of 24 must be 60 feet from the property line. This is referred to as the “Wedding Cake” rule and is intended to ensure each home has privacy and a view.
Paradise Valley has risen so far from its humble agrarian beginnings that it is now one of THE most affluent communities in America. And since we know you’re probably wondering what that means in actual dollars, consider this: a “fixer upper” starts around $1 million dollars and the most expensive luxury home ever sold in the state of Arizona (which sold for $35 million) is located here. (But don’t worry…with a range of $1.5 million to $25 million dollars, there are plenty of homes for everyone’s taste!) Some of the more prominent architects who have made their marks on the luxury homes found in Paradise Valley are Frank Lloyd Wright, Paolo, Soleri, Bennie Gonzales, Ralph Haver, and Blaine Drake, to name merely a few. Today Paradise Valley continues to attract leading architects form around the world. To learn more about the designs and architects currently influencing and building Paradise Valley, Please call me. I would be happy to assist you.

History of Paradise Valley and demographics.

Residents include CEOs, physicians, small business owners, lawyers, software moguls, and plenty of other, famous and not-so-famous, names and faces make up the populous of the town of Paradise Valley. Some of Paradise Valley’s most high profile residents included, a who's who of art, Hollywood and politics. All of these residents contributed to and share in Paradise Valley’s natural treasures including: Niki Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac , Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals Robert Mitchum, tough guy actor owned a home on Mockingbird Lane. For many years Robert enjoyed attending Arabian horse events. Horses are quite a big part of the history of Paradise Valley. Even today, there are luxury estates with full horse facilities to train Arabian and Thoroughbred horses. One such Paradise Valley estate sold recently for 5.2 million. Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States so popular here he has a community named after him "Cheney Estates". Alice Cooper, guitar-slaying rock star and modern day Rock-n-Roll Disc Jockey! Who still shares his DJ skills with hosting a local radio show. You can tune while in Paradise Valley. Those are just a few of the notables.

Today Paradise Valley continues to be a mecca for the sporting elite, a-list celebrities, fashion moguls and more. The amazing weather is undoubtedly a contributing factor to their attraction to this beautiful town. The factors that make the weather so perfect; As part of the Sonoran region, the Town of Paradise Valley is in an “arid zone” Paradise Valley only receives an average of eight inches of rainfall per year. (Also, missing from local weather? Snow! yes. NO snow.) And with summer temperatures averaging between 90 and 105 degrees and winter temperatures averaging between the mid 60tys to high 70ty’s, outside activities are abundant and available year-round. In addition to world-class golf courses, tennis courts, and playing fields for you to use for your outdoor pleasure, hiking, biking, and nature trails abound nearby in Paradise Valley such as world renowned Camelback Mountain with a popular 1.2 mile trail, where over 300,000 nature enthusiast visit each year.. and of course the well known Mummy Mountain. (However, before setting out on a hiking journey it is highly recommended that you speak with someone experienced in hiking the local trails and familiar with the area. Please feel free to call me, Michael Chaisson at RL Sotheby’s Realty for suggestions and tips 480-450-4632.)
If indoor activities are more your style, rest assured that Paradise Valley also has you covered. While the city’s Planning Committee has continued to honor its predecessor’s legacy of preserving the natural, rural, residential feel of the community, you still have plenty of options for fine dining, retail therapy, entertainment, and more. Examples include The Phoenician Resort (built by Charles Keating at a cost of $300 million) and the new five-star rated Ritz Carlton Resort. But rest assured, if you can’t find it in Paradise Valley, it’s a only a short drive to nearby Scottsdale—where you can experience all of the urban sprawl--that is, 5 star dining, music venues, dancing, play activity, and all the social and cultural events one could wish for!

Moving to Paradise Valley

There are so many more details about this stunningly beautiful, charming, and affluent community that would make anyone want to call it home. One of the most notable is besides it's beauty, in comparison to other cities and Towns offering the amenities and benefits of living here; luxury home pricing is actually low in comparison. A beautiful, stately home for sale in Paradise Valley may sell for For example 2.5 million the same home in Beverly Hills California would exceed 8 to 10 million. Let's look at some of the other wins.

  • First-class schools-Highly rated schools-Paradise Valley
  • High per capital income
  • Crime rates well below the national average - Paradise Valley also has it's own police force.
  • A vibrant artist community

But let’s be honest: this article can only give you words. So come to Paradise Valley--take in the sights, feel the air, meet some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and explore the community. Minutes to Scottsdale, 9 miles from downtown Phoenix ..And while you’re here, take a home tour with me—Michael Chaisson, Realtor, RL Sotheby’s International Realty—for a personal introduction into the luxury lifestyle offered  in Paradise Valley.

Realtor -Specializing in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix

Michael Chaisson - Realtor
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty
Premier Client Services
Ranked Top 1% Nationally
Circle of 26 Excellence Award Recipient

Please feel free to browse this site for information on activities in Scottsdale, Arcadia and Paradise Valley (see resources Tab) and recommendations for the best restaurants and service providers in the community. I also encourage your recommendations.