Lunch Talks

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

Admission is free!

***Notice of COVID-19***

In the event in-person gatherings are not permitted, sessions may be offered online.
More info available at

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at 11:30 am:
Tempe Lost & Found: A Sesquicentennial Retrospective with Jay Mark

It’s been 150 years since Charles Trumbull Hayden began building a new life in a new community he helped found. Much has changed since then. Writer and historian Jay Mark looks back a century and a half at the city’s past in a special presentation. Jay has dug into archives at the Tempe History Museum and elsewhere to unearth scarce photos that tell Tempe’s story. Always a favorite, you don’t want to miss this lively and informative presentation.

Historian Jay Mark has been actively involved in Tempe since 1973. He has written nearly 800 local history columns for The Arizona Republic. And regularly contributes to the Antiques Register and Arizona Contractor and Community. Jay is a popular speaker who has also presented for the Arizona Humanities Council AZ Speaks program.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, at 11:30 am:
From Tee Pees to the House of the Future: Midcentury Architecture of Tempe & the East Valley with Mark Vinson

Due to explosive growth in the middle of the Twentieth Century, many new buildings of various styles were built in Tempe, as well as the entire East Valley Collectively known as “Midcentury Modern,” these buildings formed the landscape in which many of us grew up, went to school, worked and recreated.  “From Tee Pees to the House of the Future” takes a look at many of these memorable structures which have become an important part of our sense of community.

Mark Vinson is a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects and a Certified Planner. He is the former City Architect and founding Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Tempe.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, at 11:30 am:
ASU as a New American Model University with Dr. Christine Wilkinson (2020 Tempe Legend)

The evolution of ASU as it is today— the charter, the goals, and the role it plays as Tempe’s university and for many in the audience, their alma mater.

Dr. Wilkinson is Senior Vice President, Secretary of the University; ASU Alumni Association President/CEO; Managing Director, Trustees of ASU.  BOARDS: Valley of the Sun United Way, SARRC, Arizona Business Leaders Association, Japanese American National Museum, Pat Tillman Foundation, National Leadership Council for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Wells Fargo Bank Community Advisory Council. RECOGNITION: Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame first Living Legacy in education, Most Admired Leader Lifetime Achievement Phoenix Business Journal, Don Carlos Humanitarian Award, and Tempe Chamber – Woman of the Year.

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at 11:30 am:
Reliving Tempe 1933-1993: Stories, Memories, and Dream From Yester-Year with Dan Harkins (2020 Tempe Legend)

Heir, at 21, of his father Red Harkins’ five theaters, Dan, already general manager, developed what today are 500 screens in Arizona and other states.  An industry trailblazer for innovation, digital sound, plush seating, and gourmet snack bars. Renovated Valley Art Theatre in downtown Tempe, the original Harkins theater.

Unprecedented three-time recipient of the nationally coveted Showman of the Year.  Earned 1998 Arizona Business Leadership Award and 1999 Entrepreneur of the Year (1999). He has set the standard on charitable giving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 11:30 am:
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 and current missions with NASA, geological discoveries, engineering advances, and what to expect in the future.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 11:30 am:
The Lives & Legacies of Kemper Goodwin, FAIA and Michael Goodwin, FAIA with Don Ryden, AIA
(Architect, Planner, Historic Preservation Consultant.  Founding president and principal architect of Ryden Architects, Inc. – Phoenix)

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.

Under his leadership, Ryden Architects, Inc. was honored as AIA Arizona Firm of the Year 2008. In 2012, his architect peers presented Don Ryden with the AIA Arizona Architects Medal for his contributions to the community and to the profession. As a scholar, author, and illustrator, he has revealed Phoenix’s spirit of place through its world-class “architecture of optimism” in the groundbreaking book,  Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix 1945-1975.