Hello. We are delighted you have discovered the Tempe History Society website.

Back in 1969, a group of history-minded citizens realized that nothing was being done to document and save Tempe’s past. The Tempe Historical Society was born to collect artifacts, photographs, and documents to tell Tempe’s unique story. The name was later changed to the Tempe History Society.

To learn more about the Society history, click the “About” button.

Tempe is the second city established in the Valley, settled soon after the first pioneers began establishing the village of Phoenix.

Just last year, Tempe celebrated its Sesquicentennial – the 150th anniversary of our founding in 1871.

From a tiny community in 1880 with 135 hardy farmers, ranchers and business people who believed in a bright future, Tempe has grown to more than 180,000 today. And from a town of less than two square miles, Tempe is now twenty-fold larger.

How did this come to be? What is it that led to so many people to settle here? That’s what we are here to help answer.

The trail from Tucson freighter, Charles Trumbull Hayden’s vision of erecting a flour mill to process the abundant grains grown nearby, to a world-class business and university metropolis is a fascinating tale that we are delighted to share.

If you enjoy what we have to present, then we invite you to join the Tempe History Society. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit that exists to support the activities of the Tempe History Museum, we depend very much on support of our membership.

So, take time to explore our website. Let us know what you think through the Contact button. Just as much as we enjoy sharing history, we love to hear your stories.

While you are searching Tempe’s past, take a look at the Tempe History Museum website.


Doris Marie Cornett

Doris Marie Cornett (nee Sommer), a long-time resident of Tempe, died Friday, July 14, 2023 at the age of 95.  Born in 1928 in Phoenix, her parents, Harold & Laverne Sommer, moved the family to Ohio in 1931, only to return to Arizona after WW II.  After graduating from Tempe Union High School, Doris received her Education degrees (BS in …

Seeking New Members for the THS Board of Directors!

Want to Get Involved? To maintain consistency and professionalism in our organization, Tempe History Society is looking for a few individuals who would like to contribute a little more than the financial support of their membership. We are actively seeking those who would be interested in joining our Board of Directors and helping shape the decisions of how our organization …