Lunch Talks

Tempe Historical Society’s Lunch Talks
2nd Wednesdays at 11:30 AM
Tempe History Museum, 809 E Southern Avenue

Admission is free!

***Alternative Attendance Options***

In the event in-person gatherings are not permitted, sessions may be offered online.
Sessions are lived streamed via Facebook and recordings of the Lunch Talks can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Seating will be limited for in-person attendance.



Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021
Tempe Lost and Found – a Sesquicentennial Retrospective

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods

Mayor Woods, elected into office in July 2020 will share what successes the City has seen in his first 15 months in office. Mayor Woods will also share his thoughts on the future of Tempe along with providing an update on areas of interest within the City of Tempe including the Sesquicentennial.


Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021
The Mexican Women of the Tempe Territorial Normal School: a Look at the Cultural and Educational Foundation of Tempe, 1885-1936

Dr. Christine Marin

Between 1885 when the Charter to establish Tempe Normal School was passed, and 1936, Tempe Normal School graduated over sixty Mexican American teachers, roughly two percent of its student body. Mostly women, these Mexican American students earned two-year college diplomas and assumed teaching positions in Arizona’s public schools. Opening its doors in the Fall of 1886 as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe and known by several names, including the present-day Arizona State University, the Tempe Normal School enrolled thirty-three students in its first year and awarded 3,522 teaching diplomas by 1936. The two-year curriculum, equivalent to the modern-day Associates Degree, provided a general Liberal Arts education, combined with instruction in teaching methods, and qualified students to sit for the state teacher’s examination they were required to pass in order to graduate and teach in Arizona’s public schools.

Among the numerous Mexican American women graduates of the Tempe Normal School who taught English and Spanish in Arizona’s public schools were Tempe’s daughters of mixed White and Mexican heritage– the daughters of Winchester Miller and Maria Sotelo, James T. Priest and Mariana Gonzales, Dr. Walker Wilson Jones and Alcaria Montoya. Bicultural diversity and bilingualism are among the hallmarks of the richness of the Mexican American educational history and foundation of Tempe.


Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022
Urban biodiversity in the Anthropocene

Dave Pearson

As the population and influence of humans increase, we need to look to technology, sociology, psychology as well as biology to best protect biodiversity. Much of this effort will involve efforts in urban and secondary habitats.

We will discuss how best to anticipate the changes that are coming so that we can maximize conservation in our current geological age called the Anthropocene.  David Pearson’s research is focused on using the interaction of ecology, conservation, ecotourism, and education to develop methods that promote sustainable use of biodiversity. He has worked on a breadth of organisms from crabs to insects, and Paramecium to birds. He has also studied a range of habitat types including coral atolls and desert grasslands.

Pearson’s current research concentrates on a small group of insects—tiger beetles—in tropical lowland rain forests around the world. He also works on international environmental education exchanges for graduate students and elementary teachers and students that promote critical thinking skills and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022
C. J. Dyer’s 19th Century Bird’s-Eye Views of Phoenix  and the Salt River Valley

Ed Dobbins

Phoenix resident C. J. Dyer was an accomplished artist, surveyor, and politician who created five bird’s-eye views of Arizona in the late 19th Century. Four of the lithographs portrayed the greater Phoenix area, including a view of Tempe in 1887. Today we will look at the role Dyer’s bird’s eyes played in the early promotion of agriculture in the Valley. As a draftsman, Dyer left many examples of his handiwork documenting the rapid growth of the area. It is his bird’s-eye views made for commercial distribution, however, that continue to provide researchers and curious observers with interesting insights into Victorian-era Phoenix.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
The Lives of Arizona Women:  Past & Present

Mary Logan Rothschild
Professor emeriti, Women and Gender Studies, Arizona State University

The Lives of Arizona Women: Past and Present is a digital presentation taken from an oral history project I directed on Arizona women.   It tells their stories in their own words, with pictures that illustrate the times and the topics they discuss.

April 13, 2022
Tempe Butte: Preserve, Protect, Promote

Jane Neuheisel
2021 Tempe Legend

We often speak about “the elephant in the room”…that very large, very noticeable THING…that gets overlooked. I believe Tempe needs to focus more on Tempe Butte, often referred to as Hayden Butte or ‘A’ Mountain. This huge, historic hump of land sits right in the middle of our downtown…it is truly a Tempe treasure…an important place to the Native American people…where many lessons can be learned.

This is where Tempe began…where Charles Trumbull Hayden created the historic Hayden Flour Mill, where the mostly-Hispanic village of San Pablo sat at the base, and beside it the Territorial Normal School began, now Arizona State University. This is where Tempe’s past and future come together. Let’s embrace it, learn from it, plan for it and treasure it.

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