The city of Peoria, Arizona, located 14 miles northwest of Phoenix, was founded in 1886 near the eastern bank of New River by settlers from Peoria, Illinois. The pioneers used the Arizona Canal to irrigate the surrounding dry desert, turning the town into a farming community. Peoria became a stop along the Santa Fe, Prescott, and Phoenix Railroad in 1895 and boasted its own train station and landmark water tower. A small commercial section developed nearby. Peoria was the last, full-service stop on the way out of the Salt River Valley along U.S. Highway 60 (Grand Avenue) before Wickenburg, 40 miles to the northwest. The town began to take shape as a suburb of Phoenix in the latter half of the 20th century, growing from 600 people in 1920 to over 151,000 in 2007. The city continues to expand by population and land annexation. It now includes the popular recreation area Lake Pleasant and extends into a small portion of Yavapai County.