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Tempe History FAQ

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questionmark What is Tempe’s Incorporation Date?

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to incorporate Tempe on 26 November 1894 (source: Minutes of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors).

questionmark What is Tempe's "Founding" Date?

The commonly accepted date for the establishment of Tempe is 1871. This is when Charles Hayden built the first building on his homestead (which he filed a claim for in 1870). In October, 1871, "Mr. Hayden erected a small pole shanty about 14x16 feet upon the spot now occupied by the old Hayden House [La Casa Vieja]. This shanty was used as a store and was the only structure in this locality for some time, with the exception of an old adobe building on section 17" (source: Arizona Republican, 25 December 1901, 10:1).

questionmark How tall is Hayden Butte (also known as A-Mountain or Tempe Butte)?

Tempe Butte . . . has an elevation of slightly less than 1500 feet; it stands about 300 feet above the level of the river (source: Larry and Chris Loendorf, With Zig-Zag Lines I'm Painted: Hohokam Petroglyphs on Tempe Butte, Arizona, 1995).

questionmark What did the letters on Tempe Butte represent?

The A is for Arizona State University
The T was for Tempe State Teachers College
The N was for Normal School

questionmark When was the first high school established in Tempe?

The first high school was held in 1908 over Curry Hardware.

questionmark When did the old high school on 8th Street and Mill open?

The old high school building opened in 1909.

questionmark When was the high school moved to its present location at Broadway and Mill?

The new high school opened in 1952. They continued to use the field at the old high school for band practice and gym classes.

questionmark What is the origin of the name, Kyrene?

The area was known as Kyrene, but it is not known with certainty why the name had been given to the region. It is theorized that Darrell Duppa, who became known as "Lord" Darrell Duppa, may have been responsible for the name. Duppa had a classical education, and from his studies he renamed Pumpkinville as Phoenix, for the mythical bird which rose from its own ashes. This idea came from the fact that the Phoenix area had once been a thriving civilization – the Hohokam civilization – and now a new civilization was beginning. Duppa’s education would have made him familiar with the history and geography along the Mediterranean Sea.

There are two places along the Mediterranean Sea which bear resemblance to the current spelling of Kyrene. Cyraen/Cyrene was a city in what is now the country of Libya. In the New Testament it is recorded that Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross. There was also a seaport on the island of Cyprus near Turkey named Kyrenia. The name, Kyrene, very likely was derived from one of these cities. What relevance Duppa may have seen between the area south of Tempe and a seaport on the Mediterranean is hard to understand, but then he named Tempe for a valley in Greece adjacent to Mount Olympus. It can be said in Duppa’s defense that even though Cyprus and Libya border a great sea and there is no sea near our area, the climate and the land along the Mediterranean are similar to that of Kyrene. (source: Ben Furlong, The Story of Kyrene, Kyrene School District, circa 1994).

questionmark What is the population of Tempe?

In 2005 the city’s population was 165,796.

questionmark Are Ernie Pyle and Howard Pyle (both journalists/war correspondents) related?

No. They both covered the Pacific Theater of World War II.

questionmark What is the name of the small butte (with the water tank on top) that is located next to the (I-10) freeway near 48th Street?

Bell Butte

questionmark What is the area of Tempe in square miles?

39.5 square miles

questionmark When was the Ash Avenue Bridge demolished?

1991 (source: Bill Davis, "Ash Avenue bridge starts to fall today," Tempe Daily News Tribune, 11 January 1991, B1-B6)

questionmark When did the new Mill Avenue Bridge wash away?

January 8, 1993. It was under construction at the time. (source: Bill Davis, "Threat to bridge recedes with flooding," Tempe Daily News Tribune, 10 January 1993, A1-A5; Jeffrey Crane, "New Mill Avenue bridge delayed nearly a year," Tempe Daily News Tribune, 2 April 1993, B1-B6; Jeffrey Crane, "2nd Mill Avenue Bridge arises from storm rubble," Tempe Daily News Tribune, 11 November 1993, B1).

questionmark What is the oldest elementary school in Tempe still operating?

Broadmor school opened in 1955.

questionmark When did "Apache Boulevard" get named?

East 13th Street was renamed Apache Boulevard in 1950, and designated as a key link in several major routes through the state, including U.S. Highways 60, 70, 80, and 89, and State Route 93.

questionmark When did the Hayden (McClintock) Bridge open?

June 13, 1984 (source: Susan Welker, "Hayden Bridge opens with ceremony," Tempe Daily News, 14 June 1984, 8).

questionmark What is the oldest building in Tempe?

1873 C.T. Hayden House/La Casa Vieja Monti's La Casa Vieja
1880 Mariano Gonzales House 636 W. 1st St.
1880 Gonzales/Martinez House 302 W. 1st St.
1883 Brown/Strong House 604 S. Ash Ave.
1883 Farmer-Goodwin House 820 S. Farmer
1888 Centennial (Sampson) House 320 S Roosevelt (originally 109 W. 6th St.)
1888 George N .Gage House 115 W. University
1888 Tempe Bakery/Hilge Bakery Hackett House
1889 Dr. J.A. Dines/Dr. R..J. Hight House 508 W. 5th St. (originally at 120 W. 7th St.)
1890 Elias-Rodriguez House 927 E. 8th St.

questionmark When did the Superstition Freeway get its federal highway designation of U.S. 60?

November 1992. The Superstition replaced Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue as U.S. 60 in Tempe. (source: "Superstition's route number is now U.S. 60", The Arizona Republic, 19 November 1992, B6).