San Luis has been an incorporated municipality in Arizona since 1979, but its history goes back to 1930.That year, the United States opened a port of entry across from San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., to serve travelers between the United States and Mexico.
For the next several decades, the population hovered at a couple of hundred to several hundred people, most of whom were farm laborers and their families.
The city’s commercial center was located in a two-block area immediately north of the Mexican border.Then in 1961, Jose Urtuzuastegui opened what was the city’s first gasoline station in that area, the Flying A. Chevron established the second service station in 1965, and in so doing, it became the first major business chain to come to San Luis.
More business chains came in the succeeding years, and their outlets plus locally owned businesses served a growing clientele from neighboring Mexico.Trade with Mexican shoppers joined agriculture as the community’s two principal industries.
As an unincorporated community, San Luis had received public services from Yuma County, but by the late 1970s, a group of residents and merchants had grown dissatisfied with the level of services they were receiving from the county.
That discontent led them to organize as the San Luis Committee for Progress, which then launched a petition drive calling on the county board of supervisors to incorporate their community as a municipality.As a city,San Luis could levy a sales tax, raising the revenue needed to fund many of the services demanded by residents.
In 1979, supervisors granted the petition, making San Luis the county’s fourth largest municipality that would be governed by a seven-member council.
At the time of incorporation,San Luis had about 2,000 residents, but its growth surged in the next several decades.Today the population is more than 32,000.
While agriculture remains the principal industry, major employers include the City of San Luis,ACT call center,Gadsden Elementary School District,Arizona State Prison, and a city-owned detention center that houses prisoners for the federal government.