Tempe Directory of Historic Buildings
Tempe has more than 200 historic buildings. Enjoy this searchable directory of information and photos. For more information on any of these properties or to learn how your property can be listed, please contact Tempe Historic Preservation Officer John_Southard@tempe.gov
Many of the properties on the Tempe Historic Register, the National Register of Historic Places or the list of historic eligible properties are privately owned and not open to the public. Please respect the privacy of those who may be living in these houses.
Historic Eligible is a formal classification of parcels which contain buildings, structures, or sites which meet the criteria for designation as a Tempe Historic Property, but which have not been formally designated as "Historic."
How to Use This Directory
You may search this directory by the categories of Tempe Historic Register, National Historic Register and Historic Eligible Properties. Simply click the down arrow on the All Categories box below and select the one you would like to see. All the properties in that category will appear.
E.M. White Dairy Barn (Tempe Tavern)Categories:
- Historic Buildings
- National Historic Register
- Tempe Historic Register
Year Built: 1919
Architectural Style: Cobblestone
THEME / CONTEXT
This building is associated with the context of Community Planning and Development. It falls under the theme of agriculture - barn building. In 1930 it was converted to commercial use and thus could be associated with commerce/tourism.
The Dairy Barn was converted to a commercial establishment after 1930. The building is in an excellent state of preservation and retains its original design features. The building is a rare example of innovative owner-built architecture using locally indigenous material, and is worthy of preservation.
The White Dairy Barn is the only known river cobble building remaining in Tempe, and was built around 1918 to 1920 by E.M. White, after he bought the property from M.H. Meyer and J.H. Guyer.
The White Dairy Barn is a square, single-story building constructed of concrete and river cobbles. The building features a stepped parapet with concrete parapet copings and a concrete pediment at the roofline. Concrete columns at regular intervals provide support for the building. Intervals between the columns are infilled with courses of river cobbles. The entire building is painted white. The front facade has been altered with the addition of signage and a canopy over the main entry. Two large glass block windows have been added to the front facade, one on either side of the entry. Two additions at the rear of the building have stepped parapets and plastered walls painted white. The building is in excellent condition. Major original design features, such as the parapet, exposed concrete columns, door framing, and cobble surfaces, have been preserved.
E. M. White came to Arizona from California in 1908 and farmed near Phoenix before moving to Tempe to permit his children to attend the Tempe Normal school. He used the property in Section 14 as a dairy farm until 1927, when it was subdivided into acre tracts for sale. White is best known for the large river cobble house he built just across the river from Tempe, called the White House, which was demolished in the early 1980s. The White House bore many similarities in design and construction to the Dairy Barn. The Dairy Barn was converted to a commercial establishment after 1930. The building is a rare example of innovative owner-built architecture using locally indigenous material.
Tempe News, 4/17/18, 4:1, 6/6/25, 3:3, 4/30/27, 3:2; The White Residence - A Process of Preserving the Historical Residences in Tempe, David F. Thompson, 1974, College of Architecture, ASU.