Hayden House, also known as La Casa Vieja, is the longest-standing adobe structure in Arizona, having been erected in 1873.
The Hayden House, or La Casa Vieja as it came to be known, is the longest-standing Mexican-adobe structure in Arizona. It was originally constructed in 1873 near the South bend of the Salt River by local Mexican and indigenous craftsmen for 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. In 1877, Carl Trumbull Hayden was born inside the Hayden House, where he and his two sisters, Sally and Mary, grew up. The Hayden House was refurbished throughout 1876-1883 by adding three more rooms to the west side and a second story of adobe on the north end. Throughout the life of the old house, it has always served as an epicenter for the growing community.
In 1889, when the Hayden family moved to a larger ranch north of the Salt River, they added a wood-framed second floor to the simple adobe structure. The former Hayden residence became a boarding house and general store and remained so for more than thirty-five years. Recognizing the structure's historical importance, Sally and Mary Hayden 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 Sally 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 house's history and incorporated pictures from 1920 into the menu. Monti also gave historical tours of the Hayden House. The house's location was significant because of the amount of traffic that flowed through Downtown Tempe, 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 lifestyle hotel at the location, with plans to save the original Hayden House and incorporate it into the facility.
edited 10/20/2022: js