ASU Shapes Tempe

Arizona State University has changed significantly from its founding at the Arizona Normal School, early in the 20th century. The story of ASU's transformation reveals much about changes in American higher education as well as about Tempe and the broader landscapes of the Phoenix-Mesa metropolitan region. We get a sense of how the campus has changed, how it might have been experienced differently in the past, as well as about the changes in American universities. More broadly, though ASU has changed with the region, and sought to shape the region's growth and development. It has played a vital role in that change, and we see that influence as well. This tour takes us through both the University's history but also through its connections to the community and the region.

Sun Devil Stadium

In 1958 Proposition 200 passed in a statewide election by a 2-1 vote and Arizona State College became Arizona State University. That same year Sun Devil Stadium opened, and the team moved from the smaller Goodwin Stadium. The new stadium, opened with…

Alpha Drive Construction

Until 2012, the Alpha Drive fraternity community occupied this district of campus, with thirteen houses (ten of which were occupied) providing a unique gathering place for men affiliated with the university’s fraternity community. For better or for…

Alpha Drive Destroyed

Fraternities at Arizona State University are currently housed in the Greek Leadership Village with sororities, but they once lived along Alpha Drive near the stadium. In the early 1960s, when the homes on Alpha Drive were constructed, according to…

The Stalwart Pioneer

The Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ceded much of what would become the American Southwest to the United States set in motion a long process of transformation. Many “aspiring landowners” knew of the fresh land and acts…

San Pablo

The area in Tempe between College Avenue and Veterans Way, on the northside of University Drive, is currently home to several Arizona State University (ASU) buildings such as the Fulton Center, Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, as well as several popular…

Cooling the Desert

Searing heat scorches Tempe, Arizona and the Sonoran Desert from May through September and the only beacon of relief from the oppressive heat is air conditioning. With a tap of the thermostat…presto, the magic of chilled air wafts from our vents.…

Hayden Library

Charles Trumbull Hayden was born in 1825 in Hartford County, Connecticut. After moving from Connecticut to Missouri, he began working with a freighting business and traveled to Arizona frequently. In 1870, Charles Hayden and his business associates…

Goodwin Stadium

From its first sparsely-attended football games played at Goodwin Stadium, Arizona State University’s football program grew dramatically, even as Arizona State Teachers College (ASTC) matured into a full-fledged university. Goodwin…

The Baghdad Opera House

It all began with two men: a master architect and a university president leading a small school toward becoming a major university. Gammage Auditorium resulted from the collaboration--becoming a symbol for ASU and Tempe, and emerging as…

Gammage Auditorium

In 1926, well known architect Frank Lloyd Wright was called to Phoenix to help with the building of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. This was the beginning of Wright’s long relationship with Arizona. In the early 1960s, Arizona State University President…

Wigwam Auto Court

The use of Teepee designs for mid-century hotels was inaugurated by architect Frank A. Redford in Kentucky in 1933. This style of roadside hotel architectural style quickly captured the popular imagination and spread Westward across the country along…

Victory Acres

The Victory Acres neighborhood of Tempe highlights the unique story of Mexican-American suburbanization. La Victoria, a tight-knit, predominantly Mexican American, community, emerged during the post-War growth of Tempe and the surrounding region. La…
Tour imagined in Fall 2018 by students in HST 485 (History in the Wild): Sophia Bonacorda, Kaitlyn Burnham, Mandy Hall, Jason Horn, Austin Keating, Nicole McCanless, Cody Smith, Rachel Stever, Brittney Sweet, Hugo Villagrana. The team wishes to thank the Tempe History Museum--especially Josh Roffler and Jared Smith, Jay Mark, the ASU Libraries--especially Ed Oetting and Robert Spindler, Dr. Christine Marin, and David Schaetzle.