In the early 1900s, Vail was a busy cattle-shipping center and mining town. It was so busy that in 1903 the Vail School District was formed. Later that century, as mining winded down, the population dwindled from nearly 300 to less than 10. Then, in 1980, IBM built a plant in the area and it boomed. Later came Raytheon, Davis-Monthan air force base, and AOL. The addition of such large employers helped Vail grow to nearly 20,000 people.
Homes in Vail sprung up quickly as the need arose near big employment centers. Most of the homes are in developments and have been built within the last twenty years. A majority of these housing developments are deisgned as Spanish or ranch style stuccos with rock yards and either flat or tile roofs. There are a few areas with custom homes or acreages. The area has long rolling hills, affording great views to most any development.
Students in this area are zoned to the Vail School District, which services nearly 9,000 children and has about 1,200 faculty and staff. The district has five elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, two charter schools, and an alternative school facility.
Nearby attractions include Saguaro National Park East, the Old Spanish Trail walking path, Colossal Cave, Kitt Peak, Mount Lemmon, Sabino Canyon and many more. Most people who live in the area and don't work at the nearby technology park, which houses employer giants IBM and Raytheon, face as little as a 20-minute commute to downtown and other major area employers. Many residents who do work in the city prefer the area for it's quiet and remote location. Local businesses have sprung up as development continued to boom, and today shopping centers, services and local businesses thrive.
A new a new, regional, planned mixed-use destination development will be called Passages of Tucson. It is going to be arranged in "Villages"--groupings of buildings devoted to one kind of product or idea. The Passages of Tucson will connect the city with the suburbs. It will provide a connection between the area's history and its future. Most importantly, it will connect consumers with the retailers they are looking for while providing them an enjoyable experience.