What Part Of Tempe History Do You Belong To?

Maybe you are a member of a family whose Tempe roots go back as far as the community’s beginnings in the 1870s – or earlier since there were, after all, quite a few families around here even before the area became part of a new Territorial addition to the United States of America. One could say you “inherited” Tempe history – and have helped build upon it, generation after generation after generation.

Or possibly you’re part of that group of “newcomers” who began swarming into Tempe in the post World War II era of the 1950s (perhaps to use the G.I. Bill to attend Arizona State College) – and started an overwhelming population growth that was to triple the town’s population in a decade, then more than double it again over the next 10 years – and tax Tempe’s resources, schools in particular, for decades. Now you’ve been here long enough to not only consider yourself a Tempe oldtimer but to have added kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to the “native Tempe” mix. You have taken your place as a major part of a change in the course of Tempe history, from small town/agricultural to manufacturing/big business/university city.

Then, again, maybe you are fairly new to Tempe – coming here from somewhere else within the new Millenium, but have already decided this is where you want to stay (and maybe raise another generation or two of Tempe natives!). Wonder what the new “chapters” you will be adding to Tempe’s history will bring to this city by the Salt River banks.

Will there be any place still around to show and tell future Tempeans about what your generations were like and what they contributed to the history of “their” city? No matter which of the groups above you belong to, Tempe Historical Society would like to make you a part of helping keep alive for generations yet to come the essence of what your – and past and future – generations have added, and will continue to add, to the always-changing chapters of Tempe’s history. And you can help do that by something as simple as joining us as a Tempe Historical Society new or continuing member and becoming a partner in efforts to preserve, celebrate and educate present and future generations (your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids maybe) about Tempe’s amazing history and the people who made it.

Upcoming Events

Free Lunch Talks at 11:30 a.m.

October 11, 2017
11:30 AM

Tempe Historical Society presents free lunch talks on the second Wednesday from October through April (excluding December). Join us for light refreshments and interesting presentations from some of the best storytellers and presenters in the area. See our Lunch Talks page for a full listing of programs.

Free Lunch Talks at 11:30 a.m.

November 8, 2017
11:30 AM

Tempe Historical Society presents free lunch talks on the second Wednesday from October through April (excluding December). Join us for light refreshments and interesting presentations from some of the best storytellers and presenters in the area. See our Lunch Talks page for a full listing of programs.

Festival-Hayden's Ferry Days

March 3, 2018
12:00 AM

Hayden's Ferry Days is a free community festival presented by Tempe Historical Society and its partners. Three days of fun begin with a chuck wagon dinner with Tempe Sister Cities at Hackett House on Friday, March 2nd. The next day, a festival showcasing our community's unique and diverse history and heritage features musicians, artisans, vendors, displays, demonstrators, an antique and collectibles market, appraisals, food and fun activities. Sunday highlights several historic houses in Tempe which will be open for viewing and events such as a tea party and lawn games.  Save the dates and keep an eye out for more information about Hayden's Ferry Days on March 2, 3 and 4, 2018!

Stories


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Check out this fantastic postcard of 5th Street and Mill Avenue from around 1940. The Laird and Dines Drugstore had a soda fountain inside. Next door is the College Theatre, later renamed the Valley Art. Big thanks to the Central Arizona Deltiological Society for sharing! ... See MoreSee Less

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Mary HolmesWhen I was very young my mother took to Lairds for an ice cream at their fountain. My mom and dad went to high school with the owners son. This is exactly how I remember the building. Nice picture.

4 hours ago   ·  3
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Mary DonhamThat is a great photo! My mom worked at the College Theater for Red Harkins in the 1940s. She went to high school with his second wife (Dan Harkins mom, Viola Cruz). She's mentioned Laird & Dines over the years. I will show her this great photo. Thanks for posting it!!

2 hours ago   ·  2
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George ClarkI lived, and worked on the back side of this building. I saved the Valley Art theater from burning down one day.

3 hours ago

1 Reply

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Beverly CrawfordThe soda fountain from that store is now in Miami, AZ in a Soda Shop there!

2 hours ago   ·  4
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Mike YoungMy grandmother eventually had a hair salon on the top floor of that building I believe it was in the 1960s

4 hours ago   ·  1
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Jim Camp"Little Nellie Kelly", starring Judy Garland and George Murphy (w/Charles Winninger) was released 22 November 1940.

2 hours ago
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Marsha BaumgartnerIt was always a big treat when got a chocolate soda at the drug store.

29 minutes ago
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Ethan Jesse Singerevidence of tempe always being bike friendly!!!

4 hours ago   ·  3
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Jennifer RiccaThis is a GREAT picture!

3 hours ago   ·  1
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John ToliverI went to lairds !

2 hours ago
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Mary Ann HarrimanMy two favorite places as I grew up ❤️

2 hours ago
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James D. PiroliCool

3 hours ago
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Sam AlvarezJackie

3 hours ago   ·  1
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Richard AlexanderMark Cardona

2 hours ago
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Check out the adorable balloon baby AZ Rick the Balloon Cowboy made for this mom and sister-to-be! If you want to see AZ Rick's awesome skills for yourself, come out to the museum's last #TempeTimeMachine of the summer until 2 p.m. today. AZ Rick will hit the stage again at 1 p.m. #balloons #AZRick #museumsarecool ... See MoreSee Less

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Don't miss the final Tempe Time Machine program of the season! Tons of family fun with free admission! Today from 10 AM to 2 PM at Tempe History Museum. ... See MoreSee Less

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The parking lot of El Rancho Market near Mill Avenue and University Drive, late 1950s. This was the beginning of strip mall grocery stores in Tempe. ... See MoreSee Less

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Sabrina M MessengerMost of Tempe is in a food desert. We need more grocery stores and NOT just the high end ones for Yuppies like Whole Foods.

1 day ago

8 Replies

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Jeff GuerreroWasn't that the location of the 'Original" Tempe high before it burned down?

10 hours ago   ·  1
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Kathi Barnby FordWent there with Grama Dunlap after mass on Sunday's when I spent the night. She lived on Orange St west of Rural Rd. We would walk from her house, thru the ASU campus to the old Church on University (before there was ever the Newman Center) Their neighborhood is now an ASU parking garage. We would walk from church to El Rancho and Grampa would pick us up .... Such fond & happy memories. Tempe Center is now ASU buildings!!!

15 hours ago   ·  2

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Les GrayI remember that was where my Mom shopped. We lived at McClintock and Elliot, so it was quite a drive.

1 day ago   ·  4

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Ethan Jesse Singerbring it back. space is available. we have no grocery in dt tempe area and need this more than anything, AND BRING BACK CO'ED DONUTS

1 day ago   ·  3

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Erika Wixon90's it was Tower, IGA, Souper Salad, and I think some type of dollar store. And a Bank of America. And a couple of sloppy curbs to skate. What else?

1 day ago   ·  2

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Damian LendoTower records use to be in that same plaza ....I believe they also had a pic n save..

1 day ago   ·  8

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Chip HaubrockI think there was a store called Yellow Front in the strip mall at University and Mill. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Front_Stores

22 hours ago
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Mary DonhamI remember going there with my grandma when I was young. It wasn't far at all from her house on Ash Ave.

17 hours ago
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Pattie KrohnIt was a Safeway when I went to ASU in the early 70s. Jam's was there and there was a shoe store that my roomate worked in that I think sold moccasins. I loved Tempe then. A flour mill, biker and cowboy bars, The Co-op, Changing Hands, Lotion and Potions... Mill Ave was wonderful.

11 hours ago
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Barbara TorresWhen we arrived in Tempe in 1959, that was it for grocery stores. At the time, coming from small towns in WV and Ohio, I thought it was the biggest and most amazing thing I had ever seen.

9 hours ago
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Hank RichardsI bagged groceries at El Rancho all through high school in the late '60's and worked with Doug Rebert and Neal Dixon there.

1 day ago   ·  1
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Michael Williams Sr.Wasn't there a TG&Y in there facing west.

1 day ago   ·  2

4 Replies

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Karen CoxThat is where we shopped after moving to Tempe.

13 hours ago
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Jan TrubeyMy family shopped here in 50's & 60's, I remember the green stamps😀. My brother also worked there in the 60's

1 day ago   ·  3

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Liz PritchardThe house and hotel in the background are still there! Great pic.

1 day ago
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Marsha BaumgartnerMy mom thought it was the best grocery store. A little expensive but sometimes worth it.

1 day ago   ·  1
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Chas NelsonRemember it well along with rays asu barbershop. Know anything about that randy?

1 day ago   ·  1
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Linda LeightonThat's where we shopped 1960-1964. Then we moved to Phoenix. I loved Tempe!

1 day ago   ·  1
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Luis ValenzuelaOld Pete's Fish n Chips was across this mall.

1 day ago   ·  3

1 Reply

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Randy TrumpetMan I LIVED in that place. It was THEEEE grocery store next to campus in the early 70s. Tempe Center was the place.

1 day ago
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Diane Hunter BehlingMy mom's dress shop was in Tempe Center!

1 day ago   ·  4
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Kim MooreLoved that store

1 day ago   ·  1
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James D. PiroliWay cool

1 day ago
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Julie KenkelMy grandpa would let us pick a treat out of the bakery case.

1 day ago   ·  1
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Our final Tempe Time Machine program is happening this Wednesday! Come join us for a fun day of epic balloon sculptures. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free to attend! ... See MoreSee Less

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