the solar capital of Arizona
Gila Bend ( /ˌhiːlə ˈbɛnd/; O'odham: Hila Wi:n), founded in 1872, is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States.
The town is named for an approximately 90-degree bend in the Gila River, which is close to but not precisely at the community's current location. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the town is 2,055. Just outside the town is the San Lucy district (O'odham: Weco Cekṣanĭ) of the Tohono O'odham Nation, with a tiny settlement, San Lucy (O'odham: Si:l Mek) bordering the town itself.Gila Bend sits at the crossroads of Southwest Arizona on Interstate 8 at the intersection of State Route 85. Travelers coming from or going to San Diego or on their way to a weekend get-away in Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point), Gila Bend is located at 32°57′0″N 112°43′29″W (32.950027, -112.724701). The town is just off Interstate 8 on Arizona SR 85, which provides access between I-8 and Interstate 10 north of Gila Bend. In recognition of historical routes that pass through the area, the town's website refers to Gila Bend as "The Crossroads of the Southwest". According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.8 square miles (59 km2), all of it land. The town of Gila Bend is situated near an ancient Hohokam village. When Father Eusebio Francisco Kino visited in 1699, the older site along fertile banks of the Gila River had been abandoned by another early tribe called the Opas, who instead used the river to irrigate their crops at a nearby rancheria. This same rancheria was visited by Juan Bautista de Anza, commander of the Presidio at Tubac and founder of the city of San Francisco, and by Father Francisco Tomas Garces in 1774. From 1857, Gila Ranch was a stagecoach stop on the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail route to California located 17 miles from Murderer's Grave Station to the west and 40 miles east of Maricopa Wells Station. Later other stage and freight routes and the railroad converged here. The nickname the "Crossroads of the Southwest" stems from the area having been part of an important transportation route in the settling, development and growth of the Great Southwest. Gila Bend was the "center of a wheel", with spokes leading in many directions throughout the region. The band Los Lobos wrote a song called "The Road to Gila Bend", which appears on their 2006 release The Town and the City.