Hayden House

La Casa Vieja

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

Audio

The Center of Tempe Society Tempe Historic Preservation Officer John Southard discusses the Hayden House and its lot, describing it as one of the most significant in Tempe. Source: Interview with John Southard by Austin Keating, May 2018. Creator: Austin Keating Date: 2018
La Casa Vieja Tempe Historic Preservation Officer, John Southard describes how La Casa Vieja, "The Old House," was operated as a restaurant from 1924 through 2014, with the Monti family owning the building and operating it as a restaurant from 1956. Source: Interview with John Southard by Austin Keating, May 2018. Creator: Austin Keating Date: 2018

Images

Charles Hayden & Workers
Charles Hayden & Workers The Hayden General Store occupied part of the Hayden House and would have been a place for commercial transactions in 1870s Tempe. Charles Hayden stands in front of a board that may have held prices for commodities or other tradable goods. The mischievous boy "photo-bombing" the portrait might have been a young Carl Hayden. Source: Temp History Museum, OS-8 Charles Hayden and Men by Hayden Store, 1987.1.2705. Date: 1880
Hayden Hotel
Hayden Hotel After the Hayden family moved out of the Hayden House, they converted the property to a boarding house, which included adding a second story. Workers at the mill, as well as migrants and visitors to Tempe might have stayed at the rooming house. Source: Tempe History Museum, Hayden Hotel, 2013.3.279. Date: 1900
Boarders at La Casa Vieja
Boarders at La Casa Vieja By 1890, the Hayden House had become a rooming house with a second floor. Located at Mill Avenue and 1st Street (now Rio Salado), La Casa Vieja and perhaps some of its boarders is viewed from the Northeast (w/the camera focused on the South and West corner.) Source: Tempe History Museum, OS-9 Hayden House (La Casa Vieja), 1987.1.2706. Date: 1890
Outdoor Patio at La Casa Vieja
Outdoor Patio at La Casa Vieja A view of the outdoor patio at La Casa Vieja. Charles Hayden's daughters restored the 1870-era building to its original territorial adobe style. The patio was later enclosed, after the Monti family purchased the site in 1954, during an expansion of their restaurant. Source: Tempe History Museum, OS-12 Patio of La Casa Vieja, 1987.1.2709 Date: 1925
Iconic Monti's
Iconic Monti's The Monti family operated Monti's La Casa Vieja from 1954 through 2014. The restaurant was known for their steaks, lobster, and prime rib. Source: C. T. Hayden House, National Register of Historic Places, 1984. Date: n.d.
Monti's Crew
Monti's Crew Leonard Monti, W.A. Moeur and Dick Shinn at Monti's. Source: Amy Edelen, "Tempe's Iconic Monti's La Casa Vieja Closing," Arizona Republic, November 4, 2014, via AZ Central. Creator: Michael Monti Date: 1957
Monti's Menu
Monti's Menu The menu from Monti's in about 1960 is available at the Tempe History Museum. From its earliest days, Monti's celebrated the notable architecture of "the Old House," although they also added conspicuous, perhaps neon, signage to the exterior to draw visitors of the federal highways that passed along Mill Avenue. (The sign was present in a 1972 photograph, which helps to date the image.) Source: Tempe History Museum, Menu, 2013.12.33. Date: 1960s
Service With A Smile
Service With A Smile Servers at Monti's La Casa Vieja wore spiffy red vests while taking the customers orders. The welcoming atmosphere is brought to life in the photo. Source: Amy Edelen, "Tempe's Iconic Monti's La Casa Vieja Closing," Arizona Republic, November 4, 2014, via AZ Central. Creator: Michael Monti Date: 1970s
Menu from Monti's
Menu from Monti's Monti's continued to update its menu over the years, including its last update a few years before the restaurant closed its doors in 1916. Until the end, Monti's La Casa Vieja sold not just steaks and beer, but also its historic architecture and ties to the Hayden family. Source: [DUV]DESIGN, Monti's Menu, 2010-2013, http://www.duvdesign.com/wp/2016/09/23/montis-la-casa-vieja-menu-design/, accessed May 21, 2018. Creator: [DUV]DESIGN Date: 2013
Signage at Monti's
Signage at Monti's The City of Tempe's, Community Development Department took photographs of neon and other types of signs beginning in the early 1970s in an effort to minimize what was perceived as visual clutter by city planners of the era: eclectic and lighted signs. Source: Tempe History Museum, Monti's La Casa Vieja Restaurant - 3 West 1st Street, Tempe, Arizona, 1992.2.3951. Creator: City of Tempe, Community Development Department Date: 1972

Location

119 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

Metadata

Kade Krauss and Jacquelyn George, “Hayden House,” Salt River Stories, accessed June 24, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/332.