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Tempe Celebrates 150 Years!

Welcome to 2021, a very special year for the city of Tempe. It is our Sesquicentennial!

In 1869, a former teacher, probate judge, merchant, and freighter on a journey from Tucson to Prescott, took advantage of a delay caused by high water in the Salt River to scale a butte on its shore, and survey the surrounding countryside.

From his elevated position, Charles Trumbull Hayden envisioned the farming potential the irrigable land offered. He soon began planning to relocate from Tucson to oversee the construction of a mill to process grains grown in the vicinity.

By 1871, Hayden was working to bring water to his prospective mill at the west base of rise he had climbed earlier, as well constructing a store and living quarters…thereby establishing the second settlement in the Salt River Valley.

One-hundred-and-fifty years have passed since the modest beginning when a handful of hardy souls took a chance on building a new community. With all the challenges they immediately faced, none could have imagined far in to the future what their efforts would ultimately lead to.

Now, in our Sesquicentennial year, the once tiny village of farmers and ranchers has grown into a thriving metropolis knocking on the door of 200,000 – making us the 8th largest city in Arizona. Tempe’s original 1.8 square miles has ballooned to just over forty.

This momentous year gives time to pause and reflect just how far we have come. Longtime resident, or newcomer, this is the moment to let the world know our love for and pride in Tempe.

Over the course of the year, the museum will feature exhibitions and activities telling the Tempe story. A year-long, wide variety of celebratory activities will punctuate our Sesquicentennial, culminating in November with a festival in Tempe Beach Park, on the footstep of where it all started 150 years ago. Keep up with all the happenings through the Museum’s and Society’s Facebook and website pages.

No Sesquicentennial year would be complete without memorabilia commemorating the celebration. Visit our online shop and continue to come back as items will be added, in limited quantities, as they are developed. All proceeds from the sale of these items will go to the Society to support the Sesquicentennial activities.

Happy 150 Tempe!

What Part Of Tempe History Do You Belong To?

Are you a member of a family whose Tempe roots go back as far as the community’s beginnings in the 1870s – or earlier? 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.

Perhaps you are part of that intrepid group of “newcomers” who began swarming into Tempe in the post-World War II era (some of you may have used the G.I. Bill to attend Arizona State College). Your generation started an overwhelming population growth that tripled the town’s population in a decade, then more than double it again over the next 10 years.  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 mix. You have taken your place as a major part of a change in the course of Tempe history, from a small rural agricultural town to a manufacturing/big business/university city.

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

No matter which of the groups you belong to, Tempe History Society recognizes you as a key element to the essence of what is Tempe. You and your family will continue to add to the ever-changing chapters of Tempe’s history. And you can preserve and share those chapters by becoming a Tempe History Society new or continuing member. By doing so, you will become a partner in efforts to preserve, celebrate and educate present and future generations about Tempe’s amazing history and the people who made it.

Upcoming Events

PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM

February 27, 20217:00 pm


Geibral Elisha Movement





Geibral Elisha is the band leader of The Geibral Elisha Movement. He is a masterful entertainer and a virtuoso performer. He always impresses audiences with an astounding technique, imagination and beauty in his ability to paint vivid pictures with his music. The Geibral Elisha Movement (GEM) was founded in 2016. GEM is an otherworldly ensemble with a modern twist on free jazz. Come hear their music and the stories behind the songs. As always, meet the band in a Q-n-A session after the show. Free, fun and family friendly~





Geibral Elisha Movement





Geibral Elisha is the band leader of The Geibral Elisha Movement. He is a masterful entertainer and a virtuoso performer. He always impresses audiences with an astounding technique, imagination and beauty in his ability to paint vivid pictures with his music. The Geibral Elisha Movement (GEM) was founded in 2016. GEM is an otherworldly ensemble with a modern twist on free jazz. Come hear their music and the stories behind the songs. As always, meet the band in a Q-n-A session after the show. Free, fun and family friendly~






THS Lunch Talk

March 10, 202111:30 am
Tempe History Museum
809 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 350-5100


ASU SCHOOL OF EARTH & SPACE EXPLORATION

 In 1885, Tempe was chosen as the site for a Territorial Normal School for teachers. Arizona State University was established in 1958. Since the beginning, ASU has played a major role in Tempe’s history. Both have grown, sharing many accomplishments. Foremost in ASU academics these days is the “ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration” (SESE), which brings together all disciplines of Earth and space science, breaking traditional disciplinary boundaries to ask the biggest questions in science, technology, engineering and beyond! SESE brings together the brightest minds to understand Earth and space through authentic research.  In this talk, we will highlight several of SESE’s past ...

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PERFORMANCES at the MUSEUM

March 13, 20217:00 pm


Japhy’s Descent
*Outside in the Museum Plaza*





Japhy’s Descent plays music that is glass rattling, toe tapping, mind altering magic wrapped in a fun bow... that you can't have until your birthday. For almost a decade they have been rocking out in every local venue throughout the Phoenix metro area. Their combination of blues, hard rock and classic rock comes in an electrifying sound, especially in their stunning live shows. It seems everything they do is a blues drenched, psychedelic rock odyssey. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy these local rockers.

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THS Lunch Talk

April 14, 202111:30 am
Tempe History Museum
809 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 350-5100


DON RYDEN, AIA
Architect, Planner, Historic Preservation Consultant. 
Founding president and principal architect of Ryden Architects, Inc. – Phoenix
"The Lives & Legacies of Kemper Goodwin, FAIA and Michael Goodwin, FAIA"

Born and raised in mid-century Phoenix and educated at ASU, Don Ryden is a dedicated design professional who tirelessly integrates architecture, planning, and historic preservation.   In 1994, his achievements were recognized by the State of Arizona through the Governor’s Merit Award for Historic Preservation.




&...

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Stories

FEBRUARY LEGEND: BETTY GREATHOUSE

Betty Greathouse has been a paragon of education for more than a half-century.   The onetime dean of the College of Education at Arizona State University was born in Mesa and graduated from Tempe High School. She went on to earn an associate degree from Phoenix College, then a bachelor’s degree in education from Arizona State in 1963. In 1972, …

FEBRUARY LEGEND: EDWARD SMITH

Edward “Ed” Smith was well-trained in race relations.  He devoted much of his life to the National Urban League, the 110-year-old civil rights and urban advocacy organization tasked with helping African Americans achieve economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. His skills were employed by the Phoenix Police Department to find and recruit black police officers and firemen. Ed served on the City …