Hayden Flour Mill, located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, is one of Tempe’s most iconic buildings. It is among the primary reasons our city exists today.
Hayden Flour Mill is a relic of our agricultural past, when Tempe was a small town surrounded by miles of farmland and anchored, economically, by the processing and marketing of grain, cotton, fruit, vegetable, and dairy products. Like the creamery complex on East 8th Street, Hayden Flour Mill ranked among the prominent agricultural industries in the Valley. It purchased most of the grain grown in Central Arizona and milled many of Arizona's best known flours: Sifted Snow, Arizona Rose, and Family Kitchen among them.
As it stands today, the mill remains the oldest cast-in-place, reinforced concrete building in Tempe. Constructed in 1918, it replaced an earlier adobe mill lost to fire in 1917. This earlier mill, built in 1895, had itself replaced the original 1874 Hayden Flour Mill, also lost to fire. The current building was designed to be fire-proof; its architects and builders used techniques developed in the wake of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. The grain elevator and silos east of the mill were constructed in 1951 and remained the tallest structures in Tempe until 2007.
On April 1, 1998, Bay State Milling ceased milling operations at Hayden Flour Mill, ending the longest run of continuous use for an industrial building in the Valley.
Take a look at a newspaper celebrating the Mill's Centennial. Read more about the Mill's history and other Tempe historic buildings by visiting our Tempe Historic Preservation pages. Also consult Hayden Flour Mill: Landscape, Economy, and Community Diversity in Tempe, Arizona, a three-volume study prepared by Archaeological Consulting Services for the City of Tempe in 2008:
Volume 1: Introduction, Historical Research, and Historic Architecture
Volume 2: Archaeology, Project Synthesis, and Management Summary
Volume 3: Hayden Flour Mill Historic Preservation Plan
Current and Future Development
The Hayden Flour Mill is located at a prime intersection in downtown Tempe. In recent years two different developers formulated plans to adapt and reuse the mill and silos. Neither plan came to fruition. In order to pay homage to the role that Hayden Flour Mill played in the development of our city, and to encourage a new and historically sensitive vision for its reuse, the Rio Salado Foundation, the Downtown Tempe Community, and the City of Tempe have partnered to create a public event space on the grounds. This is a temporary event venue, as the city continues searching for a development partner. Those interested may email email@example.com or call 480 858-2059.
The grounds of the Hayden Flour Mill are now open for picnics and casual recreation.
The Hayden Flour Mill site now permits visitors to look through ground floor windows to see some of the mill's historic equipment. Interpretive plaques offer histories of the mill and old Tempe. A stage and concert lawn with space for 250 people is also now available. A small grove of trees allows for shady picnics.
The Downtown Tempe Community will program the space; it can be rented for special events after the grand opening. Call 480 355-6060 for more information.
More work needs to be done to finish the project. Donations may be given to the Rio Salado Foundation. Visit www.supportriosalado.org for more information.