The Sheriff on Capitol Hill

In 1899, after his father became ill, Carl Hayden dropped out of Stanford University, returning to Arizona to care for his family. Hayden soon became active in the Democratic Party and pursued a career in politics. Early in the new century, Hayden…

Hayden Library

Charles Trumbull Hayden was born in 1825 in Hartford County, Connecticut. After moving from Connecticut to Missouri, he began working with a freighting business and traveled to Arizona frequently. In 1870, Charles Hayden and his business associates…

Hayden House

The Hayden House, or La Casa Vieja as it came to be known, is the longest standing Mexican-adobe structure in Arizona. It was built in 1873 near the South bend of the Salt River. Originally constructed by local Mexican and indigenous craftsmen for…

The Theodore Roosevelt Dam

Developed along the banks of the Salt River, the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa, Arizona, both both depended on the river and feared its seasonal flooding. Controlling the river emerged as a central challenge to economic development in the Salt…

Crossing the Salt River

Charles Trumbull Hayden came to the western half of the United States in search of economic gain and adventure like the many settlers before him. Shortly after the Gadsden Purchase in the 1850s, Charles Hayden opened a profitable general store in…

Women Get the Vote

In the 19th century, women migrating to the west had opportunities not available to those in the East. These include the right to vote, equal pay for teachers, and more liberal divorce laws. Women confronted and supported the creation of the…

Mesa Union High School

Although the first school in Mesa started in 1879, few children went to school past the age of 12 or 13. Mesa didn’t start a high school class until 1899. They held the class in the upstairs of the Old North School. Mesa Union High School District…

Segregating Mesa

The year 1910 marked the beginning of racial segregation in the elementary schools in Mesa. During Mesa’s territorial years (1878-1910), all children were allowed to attend any school. In 1910 the Webster School was built for the Mexican American…

Irving School

The Irving School stands in the Town Center area of Mesa at 155 North Center Street. It was built in the same location that the old North School stood for 37 years. It was named after the American writer Washington Irving. Designed by architect…

Woman's Club of Mesa

Women played an active role in the cultural development of Arizona communities including Mesa. The General Federation of Woman’s Clubs of Arizona was established in 1901. On March 9, 1917, 53 women signed a charter to organize the Women’s Club of…

Dunes Hotel

In the middle of the twentieth century, the developers of the Dunes sought to attract a new generation of travelers to the American west by locating it along Van Buren Avenue, which was arguably Phoenix's central artery. The Federal Highway system,…

Frank Lloyd Wright Spire

In 2004, a defining piece of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1957 state capitol design rose in the Promenade shopping center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The shopping center desperately needed a focal piece, and Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Arnold Roy was happy to…

The Oasis

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright saw great potential within the vast Sonoran Desert. The designer had just finished the designs of his renowned Usonian homes when he found himself deep within the McDowell Mountains of Arizona. In 1937, after ten years…

Hunt's Tomb

The pyramid-shaped tomb of Arizona Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt stands at the peak of a great butte in the Salt River Valley. The tomb stands at a high point in Papago Park, a site selected by the Governor, and offers a grand view of the once…

Carnegie Library

Philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie funded the building of almost half of the public libraries in the United States between 1883 and 1929. Included among the 1795 libraries by the"the patron saint of libraries" is the Phoenix Carnegie…

Yaun Ah Gim Grocery

Chinese immigrants and their children played an important role in Phoenix's early growth, as suggested by the now-vacant grocery at the corner of Tonto Street and 4th Avenue. The proprietor of that store for more than 41 years, Ah Gim Yaun…

59th Avenue Historic District

The rise of Arizona and 59th Ave historic district run within the same train station but on different tracks. The rise and stumbles of both state and street can be better looked at through a timeline rather than a picture. The homes built within the…

Squaw Peak Inn

Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge. Out in desert, the enterprising tourist could find himself staying at the guest ranch, a resort that catered to would-be adventures…

Taliesin West

In 1937, the piece of land that would one day house Taliesin West was classified by the Arizona government as a wasteland, not fit for any kind of public development. However, where others saw only devastation, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright…

Suhwaro Hotel

Just nine years after the 1904 establishment of the town of Chandler, the mighty San Marcos hotel was constructed. This luxury hotel was an instant success, attracting a flock of wealthy guests every winter. Just across the street from the San…

San Marcos Hotel

In 1893, city planning took on a whole new dimension. At the World Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham advocated for extensive planning out of the new cities being built throughout the United States. In what he called the “City Beautiful”…

Buckhorn Baths Motel

It all started when a couple was looking for something to drink. When he and his wife Alice established what is now known today as the Buckhorn Baths Motel in 1936, Ted Sliger was planning on using the building as a store, a gas station, and a home…

Alhambra Hotel

The origin of the city of Mesa relates directly to the expansion of Mormon settlement out of Utah and into the surrounding territories. In 1887, the first group of Mormon settlers arrived in the Salt River Valley, dispatched by Brigham Young. Over…

Alma Ward Meeting House

In 1887, Mormon leader Brigham Young sent out the Lehi Company to settle the Salt River Valley. A year later, another group of Mormon settlers arrived under the banner of the Mesa Company and camped approximately five miles away from the Lehi…

King's Rest Hotel Motor Court

As the automobile solidified itself as a definitive part of the American tourist lifestyle, the Phoenix area stood out to tourists as an ideal winter destination. The era of auto tourism and strip commercialism that took hold by the early 1920's and…

Hotel Westward Ho

One of the most legendary hotels in Phoenix, the Westward Ho Hotel has been a defining landmark for nearly a century. As with many other hotels in the Phoenix area, the Westward Ho was constructed in response to the tourism boom of the 1920’s. The…

Swindall Tourist Inn

It was the 1930’s and times were changing. Though African Americans were no longer suffering under slavery, they were by no means on equal ground with their fellow Americans. Was there any hope of escape? As writer George Schuyler said in 1930, “all…

We're Not in the City Anymore

The development of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve tapped drew from many currents within the region's history and American culture more broadly. Among these was a connection to the broader emergence of the environmental movement in the United States. …

Post-War Tempe Neighborhoods

In the late 1940s and early 50s, Tempe stood on the precipice of rapid expansion. A small farming community prior to the war, Tempe grew rapidly as GIs who had trained in Arizona returned to the Southwest to live. Developers seized on the influx of…