Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Gilbert is recognized as the fourth fastest-growing large municipality in the nation and has been ranked 28th out of top 100 best places to live in America; its population was estimated at 207,550 in 2007 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The community has one of the highest ranked K-12 education systems in the state and has been noted as the 28th safest city in the country. As a young, affluent community focused on the creation of wealth through an economically diverse environment, Gilbert owes its beginnings to William ‘Bobby’ Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902 to construct a rail line between Phoenix and Florence, Arizona. Incorporated in July of 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agriculture town for many years and was known as the "Hay Capital of the World" from 1911 until the late 1920s. Today, Gilbert encompasses 76 square miles and has made a rapid transformation from an agriculture-based community to an economically diverse suburban center located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. In the last two decades, Gilbert has grown at a pace unparalleled by most communities in the United States, increasing in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 217,521 as of July 2009. Gilbert has evolved into a highly educated and affluent community supporting high-wage jobs in life science and health services, high technology, clean and renewable energy, and corporate and regional headquarters/offices in advanced business services while preserving its highly desirable quality of life.