Timeline (1939 to Early 1950s)

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  • 1941 Peoria Kiwanis chartered 
  • 1941 Luke Field named 
  • 1945 Brice Hardware and Appliances opened its doors in Peoria 
  • 1945 World War II ended 
  • 1948 Arizona’s first home air-conditioning units are installed. 


  • 1952 Peoria Times newspaper opened 

With the establishment of Luke Field, young men began training for the war very close to home for Peoria. Upon receiving Franklin D. Roosevelt’s directive to produce 12,000 pilots each year, the United States military broke ground on a new installation in what is now Glendale, Arizona, in March 1941. Two months later the air base was christened Luke Field after 2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr., a Phoenix native and World War I ace who was the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor. The base closed for more than four years following World War II but reopened in response to the Korean conflict.


Growth of the air base and Peoria has been symbiotic. When Luke Field was developed, it was for a time “sort of in the middle of no place, as was Peoria,” said Peoria Mayor John Keegan. “As Luke has grown and matured, Peoria’s growth has followed. Many of those stationed at Luke actually live in Peoria, which has become increasingly important to Luke as a quality-of-life provider in our schools, entertainment, and recreation.

F84 Jet in Oldtown