Gilbert is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. There were only 500 residents when the town was incorporated in 1920. Since 1980, the population has doubled every five years. But how did this small desert community come to have such explosive growth in just over 30 years? Early pioneers began arriving in 1890, and in 1902, the Arizona Eastern Railway decided to build a rail line from Phoenix that went through Florence to the mining town of Kelvin. After purchasing land from Bobby Gilbert, a depot was built in 1905, and the town began to grow. Because of the creation of canals and Roosevelt Dam, Gilbert became a thriving agricultural community. In 1971, Gilbert had less than 2,000 residents, and in 1975, the town council approved a land annexation that added over 53 square miles to Gilbert. In 2014, that population number approached 250,000. By 2040, Gilbert is expected to be the fourth largest community in Arizona with approximately 330,000 residents.