Laird and Dines Building

With its Victorian-style architecture, this building is extremely reminiscent of a two-story saloon or boarding house straight out of an Old West novel. In reality, the building housed a drug store owned by Dr. J. A. Dines and Hugh Laird. They acquired the building in 1901 and ran a prescription drug business for 63 years.

Over time, their property was commandeered by two famous Arizonans, Senator Carl Hayden and Governor Benjamin B. Moeur. Both politicians used it as headquarters for their respective campaigns. Not only did it function as a campaign HQ, but it also doubled as the city's first town hall and a post office. Dines and Laird both served as Tempe mayors.

The building remained relatively unchanged until 1929. Like the Casa Loma Building, this site underwent a renovation that transformed the exterior to a Spanish Colonial Revival style. Both buildings represent an architectural revolution that swept downtown Tempe in the 1920s. As a result of efforts promoting tourism, most buildings were transformed into Spanish style in order to exude a typical “Southwestern” feel.

When Mill Avenue was designated as a state highway in 1959, a large mesh metal screen replaced one of the verandas. It was used to cover the second-story windows in order to protect them from possible debris thrown up from the roadway. In the early 1990s, Mill Ave was redesignated as a regular street and rehabilitation of the Laird and Dines building began. This project reversed the renovations done in 1929 and restored the building to its original Victorian style. The building now houses two restaurants and bars.

"The building once housed an established drug store that served Tempe citizens for 63 years. It also served as the community's unofficial town hall, political campaign headquarters, and boardroom. The building owners, Laird and Dines, also served terms as Tempe mayor and on the Town Council." (Tempe Preservation, Mill Ave Tour)

Images

Architectural Rendering of the Laird & Dines Building, Date Unknown
Architectural Rendering of the Laird & Dines Building, Date Unknown This colorful drawing of the Laird and Dines building shows it as a bustling center for downtown Tempe life. Source: Photo courtesy of the Tempe History Museum
Exterior of the Laird and Dines Building, ca. 1900
Exterior of the Laird and Dines Building, ca. 1900 This building is reminiscent of Victorian-era architecture, but with open-air balconies on the second floor. This photo was taken around the time the building was first acquired by Laird and Dines. Source: Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum
Telephone Office in the Laird and Dines Building
Telephone Office in the Laird and Dines Building The Laird and Dines Building is thought to be the first building in Tempe to house a telephone. Source: Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum
Interior of Laird and Dines Drugstore, ca. 1920
Interior of Laird and Dines Drugstore, ca. 1920 Doubling as an unofficial town hall and soda fountain made the Laird and Dines building a busy hub for Tempe residents. Source: Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum
Working in Post Office in the Laird and Dines Building
Working in Post Office in the Laird and Dines Building Just as it doubled as a makeshift municipal center, the building also once housed Tempe's post office. Source: Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum
Laird & Dines Drugstore c. 1935
Laird & Dines Drugstore c. 1935 A postcard of Mill avenue in the 1930s, the College Theater can also be seen next door to the Druggist's. Source: Real Photo Postcard. Photographer unknown. Jeremy Rowe, Ph.D.

Location

Metadata

Holly Solis, Jacquelyn George, and Salt River Stories Team, “Laird and Dines Building,” Salt River Stories, accessed March 3, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/56.