The town of Gila Bend is named for an almost 90° bend that is nearby in the Gila River. On the edge of town is the village of San Lucy, part of the San Lucy District of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Back in December of 2006, Volkswagen of America leased some 11,900 acres of land about 10 miles west of Gila Bend on which to construct a new motor vehicle testing area.

Gila Bend seems to have peaked in population and fame back in the 1960's when several in-town attractions (the out-of-date welcome sign and the Space Age Lodge motel and restaurant - with it's "Space Age" theme and decor) were first constructed. There are also several notable roadside pieces of quirky sculpture in Gila Bend.

The Gila Bend area figures prominently in the early history of the Southwest. Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, founder of the mission at Tumacacori, visited the area in 1699 and found an abandoned ancient Hohokam village nearby. On his way to Monterey and to found the city of San Francisco, Juan Bautista de Anza also came through here in 1774.

Gila Bend, Arizona
The countryside around Gila Bend