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 entrepreneur Charles Trumbull Hayden “The original house was a single-story row house constructed of adobe in the Sonoran style," according to the City of Tempe. With an "L" shape, the house fronted Mill Avenue for 80 feet and First Street (now Rio Salado Parkway) for 120 feet.
Charles Hayden settled in Tempe after he relocated his freighting business and implemented plans to build a flour mill. Throughout the life of the old house it has always served as an epicenter for the growing community. In 1877, Carl Trumbull Hayden was born inside of the Hayden House, which is where he and his two sisters, Sally and Mary, grew up. The Hayden House was refurbished throughout the years of 1876-1883 by adding three more rooms to the west side and a second story of adobe on the north end.
In 1889, when the Hayden family moved to a larger ranch, North of the Salt River, and they added a wood-framed second floor to the simple adobe structure. The former Hayden residence became a boarding house and a general store. The building was used as a boarding house for more than 35 years. Sally and Mary Hayden recognized the historical importance of the structure, and commissioned what was arguably the first historic restoration and preservation project in Arizona. Hoping to maintain the original adobe design, they hired noted local architect Robert T. Evans, who often worked in building and renovating adobe buildings, to restore the property. The Haydens converted the house into a restaurant that became known as La Casa Vieja: “the old house”.
In 1954 Leonard Monti purchased La Casa Vieja from Sallie and Mary Hayden who were forced to sell due to debts accrued during the Great Depression.Leonard Monti understood the importance of the old house to the area and kept the name. The Monti family operated the restaurant from 1956 until 2016. The family honored the history of the old house and incorporated pictures from back in 1920 to the menu. Monti’s also gave historical tours of the Hayden House. The location of the old house was significant because of the amount of traffic that flowed through Downtown Tempe, which was where Federal Highways 60-70-80-89 converged to cross the Salt River at the Mill Avenue Bridge. In 1979, La Casa Vieja continued to expand on the southern end of the building. Eventually, though, the interstate highway, suburban expansion, and rising land values in downtown Tempe created economic pressures that led the Monti family to sell La Casa Vieja in 2014.
Current plans call for a new multipurpose office and life-style hotel at the location, with plans to save the original Hayden House and incorporate it into the facility.