Town founders and visionaries, Left: Tom Darlington & K.T. Palmer planning the layout of the Town in the 1950’s.
History of Carefree
The Town of Carefree was the vision of K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington in the early 1950’s. Two men who carried out many of their joint ventures on a simple handshake created the Carefree Development Corp.which spawned the name of the town. People across america were starting to read about the whimsical street names and extreme care in protecting and preserving the pristine indigenous desert growth and was touted as being well ahead of the nation in land planning.
Carefree experienced tremendous growth from 1959 to 1984, prior to incorporation. Carefree featured Arizona’s first fly-in residences at the Sky Ranch Airport, who would travel from all over the country to experience the Sonoran Desert and buy land from the Carefree Development Corporation. Projects were springing up like the Spanish Village at the center of town to the Carefree Inn and the well known International Restaurant.
The catchy street names along with marketing of the Town expanded to celebrities who saw this oasis as a playground including, Bob Hope, Barry Goldwater, Paul Harvey, Hugh Downs and Orson Welles. The resident read like a corporate Who’s Who of America, a place where wealthy corporate executives could bring their families to spend quiet time and get away for swimming, golf and horseback riding.
Timeline of Carefree
- In the 1950s, 2 entrepreneurs, K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington, formed a partnership and acquired the land now known as Carefree.
- In the 1960s, SkyRanch Airport and the Desert Forest Golf Clubopened. The 1st shops and restaurants were constructed and business commenced within the Town Center. Projects such as the Carefree Country Club (now the Boulders), Carefree Inn, the Carefree International Restaurant and Spanish Village in the town center developed.
- Gerry Jones built the first Carefree home alongside Black Mountain foothills and the first home to be featured on the cover of Arizona Highways magazine
- Carefree becomes world renowned as an originator of the U.S. extreme mountain architectural style.
- 1970s, a total of approximately 300 homes had been constructed. Many of the roads in and around Carefree were paved.
- In 1984 Carefree incorporated as a town.
- In the 1990s, the population of Carefree increased to over 2,500 residents.
- Today, Carefree’s population is approaching 4,000 residents. The Carefree Desert Gardens and the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion hold numerous community concerts and events, such as world class art shows throughout the year. Carefree celebrates 56 years of history and 31 years of incorporation.