Filed Under Statehood

Tempe National Bank Building

The businessmen of Tempe opened up Tempe National Bank in 1901 to put the then small agricultural town on the map financially. Some stockholders included popular figures in Arizona history like Thanks Anderson, Carl Hayden, and Michael E. Curry among others. Thanks Anderson was mayor of Tempe from 1930-1932 and 1934-1937 and became branch manager and eventual vice-president of the bank.

Although Tempe was known as an agricultural powerhouse, the bank was a place where the few businessmen could come together. Famous Tempe businessman and historical figure B.B. Moeur even held his medical practice in the building. Tempe made its money early on as an agricultural society and was populated mostly by farmers and mill workers. In 1935 Tempe National Bank merged with the First National Bank of Arizona. As the years went on and Tempe's population soared, the small agricultural town turned into a booming metropolis and banking in Tempe became even more important. Today, the building still exists as a bank and reminds Tempe of its early days when agricultural plots were the norm and not an ATM on every corner.

"The Tempe National Bank was once a handsomely detailed building constructed in 1912 in the Egyptian Revival style. The building underwent a 'modernization' in 1949 which obscured the original character. It was saved from demolition in 2005 and its original scale and proportion." (Tempe Preservation, Mill Ave Tour)


Tempe National Bank, ca. 1912
Tempe National Bank, ca. 1912 The original 1912 architecture of Tempe National Bank shortly after it was built. Saved from demolition in the early 2000s it was rehabilitated in 2005. Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum. Source: Tempe National Bank Building, Tempe, Arizona, 1912. 1987.1.2115. Tempe History Museum
Tempe Bank Mock Hold-Up
Tempe Bank Mock Hold-Up Residents proudly display a mock "hold-up" reminiscent of the Wild West from the mid to the late 19th Century. This event took place on the steps of the First National Bank in 1956. Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum. Source: Jaycees Western Days: 1st Natinoal Bank “Hold-up,” 1956. 2004.45.73. Tempe History Museum
Mill Avenue during the 1950s
Mill Avenue during the 1950s Old and new side-by-side shows the architectural style changes on Mill avenue in the 1950s. The newly renamed First National Bank sign show's prominently on the modernized Tempe National Bank building. Photo courtesy Tempe History Museum. Source: Street View of First National Bank, 1950s. 2004.51.5. Tempe History Museum.
Interior of First National Bank
Interior of First National Bank During the 1950s, the First National Bank was one of several thousand different banks throughout the U.S. Local banks and their staff were integral to the communities they served and First/Tempe National Bank was no exception. Photo courtesy of Tempe History Museum. Source: Interior of First National Bank, 1950s. 1987.35.25. Tempe History Museum.



Thomas Black, “Tempe National Bank Building,” Salt River Stories, accessed July 21, 2024,