Goodwin Park in far south Tempe is named in honor of this pioneer family whose list of contributions include many civic, government and business roles. The 5-acre park is actually named in honor of four Tempe brothers, James, Tom, Will and Garfield who all called Tempe home.
James (1864-1922) was an early farmer who had a large ranch 7 miles south of town. James did not limit his activities to just farming as he and his brothers built the Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe railway system, operated the first railway car system in Tempe and constructed the Goodwin Branch of the Tempe Canal. While he was at it, James took time to serve as an assemblyman to the 19th Territorial Legislature and the second and third session of the state legislature representing Tempe.
Will Goodwin (1939) started the Goodwin Opera House on 5th Street and also developed the first outdoor amphitheater in Tempe. His most notable accomplishment was penning (with wife Alverta) the music to Home on the Range.
Tom Goodwin (1885-1943) helped farm with his brother in what is now south Tempe. After a few years of farming in the desert, Tom left for Missouri before returning to Tempe in 1892. He and his brother Will opened a grocery store located at the northeast corner of 4th and Mill in downtown Tempe. Following the lead of brothers James, Tom served for several years on the Tempe City Council.
Garfield Goodwin, was the youngest of the brothers who came to Tempe. He was a member of the first football team from Tempe Normal School. Graduating from Tempe Normal in 1899, Garfield operated Tempe’s Wells Fargo station and Express Company for 22 years. He and his wife, Lottie, established the Goodwin Novelty Store in downtown Tempe. Following in James’ and Tom’s footsteps, Garfield served the City of Tempe as Mayor from 1924-1926.
The Goodwin family has left a significant mark on the City of Tempe, and I for one am proud to have a park named in recognition of their many contributions enjoyed to this day.
Park size is 5 acres.