Category Archives: Tempe
[Source: William Hermann, Arizona Republic] — The history of Tempe Butte is written in stone, and city officials want to keep it that way, which is why they’re seeking a “historic” designation for the site. Tempe Butte is the big desert hill adorned with an “A” that towers over Sun Devil Stadium. It’s from the top of that butte that Charles Trumbull Hayden, founder of Tempe, in 1869 looked out on the largely deserted Salt River Valley and decided it would be a good place to settle. The butte also is where the Hohokam Indians lived between about A.D. 500 and 1450. They considered the butte holy and left upon its rocks some 500 petroglyphs.
[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Mark Henle, Arizona Republic.]
[Source: Kathy Shayna Shocket, Republic] — The 50-year-old adobe home where Sandra Day O’Connor often turned heated state politics into decisions over chalupas and tortillas will reign supreme once more as an arena for civic discourse. Rather than watching the adobe tucked away on a Paradise Valley cul-de-sac fall to a bulldozer, O’Connor and her friends are saving the home where she and husband John raised their three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay. “My husband John and I first bought over an acre of land for a grand sum of $4,000,” the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice said during a nostalgic visit just before workers began dismantling the home for its move to Tempe.
The home will be moved next to the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park and renamed the O’Connor House and Center for Civic Discourse. On her recent visit to the Denton Lane house, O’Connor slid her hand along an adobe wall as if it were one of the living desert creatures she adores. “John and I hand-scraped every one of these indentations in the adobe ourselves with an electric conduit, because the builder wasn’t prepared to do that,” she said. The O’Connors lived there from 1958 to 1981.
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[Source: Emma Breysse, ASU Web Devil] — A former Tempe landmark that was displaced last year is still homeless, and plans for its future are up in the air. University officials looking for a new home for the gold-domed roof of the former Visitor Information Center at the University have begun eyeing the new Vista Del Sol residential community currently under construction. The University preserved the dome after the building, formerly at Rural Road and Apache Boulevard, was demolished in February 2007, despite the protests of community members and historic preservationists.
The University announced at the time that it had plans to incorporate the dome into the design of the new honors college facility but earlier this year looked to the new luxury residences at Vista del Sol to include it. Though the dome is still in storage while the University debates plans, Leah Hardesty, an ASU spokeswoman, said the University does still intend to find a use for it. “ASU is actively looking to find a new home for the former gold dome roof of the Visitor Information Center,” Hardesty said.
While plans are still uncertain, Hardesty said one of the most likely options is a public ramada, or semi-enclosed shaded shelter, along a new pedestrian mall. “This mall is the major connection between the south campus residences and the center of the Tempe campus,” Hardesty said. Other plans were not specified. The University allocated about $1.3 million to preserve the dome. The Arizona Preservation Foundation fought against the demolition of the building, a Valley National Bank built in 1962, because the bank lent money to build many of the new homes in Tempe. Many older Tempeans have developed a bond with the building and its specific location, a representative of the group said in 2007.
[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jamie Scharer, State Press: a worker explains the system that holds the dome together. The dome was removed February 2007.]
[Source: Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] — Restoration and remodeling of the historic Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe into a modern mixed-use project will move another step forward Tuesday when the developer submits final plans to the city at an on-site ceremony. Details of the plans by Tempe-based Avenue Communities will be unveiled at a press conference Tuesday morning at the mill on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, according to Chris Baxter, Tempe community development and marketing specialist. Phase I, which will take place this summer, includes cleaning and refurbishing the mill in preparation for reconstruction and new construction. The mill was opened in 1874 and operated until the late 1990s.
[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] — Generations have come to know the concrete outside of the Hayden Flour Mill without appreciating the arguably more interesting milling equipment inside it or a stone arch hidden beneath it. But a redevelopment will begin in June to restore the iconic mill – and to reveal rarely seen equipment and stonework that’s been out of view for most of the last century. Tempe-based Avenue Communities unveiled plans Tuesday, pledging to start work that Tempe and other developers have failed to get under way since talks began in 1990. Avenue expects it will take 14 to 15 months to restore the mill, add a glass-and-steel structure beside it and open about six restaurants, bars and boutiques.
A stone arch and waterway will become an entrance after spending decades under dirt – hidden so long that many feared the 1890s-era stonework had been destroyed. But as archaeologists explored the site in the past year to look for relics from Hohokam and European settlers, they discovered that stonework was undamaged since its burial in the 1920s. “This was a complete and absolute surprise,” Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said. Hallman has made historic preservation a top priority and gave tours of the site Tuesday. With him was Ken Losch, a principal of Avenue Communities who said the old arch will help create a sense of place that’s rare in the Valley. He stood in the arch and cited it as one of the mill’s most intriguing features. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office] — HP and Parks staff met, along with a representative from the State Historic Preservation Office, at the site of Hunt’s Tomb in Papago Park to discuss possible rehabilitation work to the 1930s high-profile pyramidal memorial which is in deteriorating condition due to a 1960s outer tile layer which is detaching from the monument and causing some water damage to the structure. Site improvements to improve access, seating and lighting are also proposed. Some private funds are available for the project, but additional funds will be needed to complete the project. It was determined that the City would pursue additional funding, including state centennial related grants, and would more fully investigate the possibility of restoring the original tile exteriors of the monument (now buried underneath a 1960s deteriorated outer layer).
[Source: Emma Breysse, ASU Web Devil] — Tempe residents may be relieved that Native American petroglyphs threatened by an alleged UA prank are safe, but many are annoyed that at least $10,000 of their tax dollars were spent keeping them that way. This week the work to save the glyphs is considered virtually complete, allowing the city to arrive at an estimate of the final price tag. Workers have spent more than a year removing spray paint from “A” Mountain after a prank stemming from a football rivalry.
The evening before the November 2006 football game between ASU and UA, vandals believed to be UA students trespassed on the north side of “A” Mountain and spray-painted a red “A” — endangering ancient Hohokam petroglyphs. Investigation at the time revealed several empty beer bottles, but no suspects — meaning the city of Tempe bore the cost of removing the paint without damaging the glyphs. “We have no evidence of who did it,” said Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley. “So the city can’t approach anyone [about paying for the project], and no one has approached us.”
[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Andrea Bloom, State Press.]
[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] — Corey Woods couldn’t muster enough support two years ago in his bid for the Tempe City Council, but said voters nonetheless encouraged him after his defeat. They urged the relatively new Tempe resident to get more involved in community organizations and get to know more people, he said. “People want to see that track record before they put you in a position on the City Council,” Woods said.
He’s become more visible in the community by joining several organizations and said he’s grown as a community advocate. Woods is pushing neighborhood and quality-of-life issues. He laments the loss of independent businesses downtown, saying his office in downtown Phoenix is surrounded by the kind of interesting mom-and-pop shops Tempe should have more of. And several struggling strip malls could thrive with similar merchants, he said. Tempe should attract small merchants across the city, Woods said, by interviewing business owners and asking what the city can do to land them in Tempe. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] — Tempe finally approved plans for three towers next to the historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja on Thursday. The City Council unanimously approved the 1.1-million-square-foot hotel and condo project following months of controversy and changes to the proposal at Thursday night’s meeting. Tony Wall of Scottsdale-based 3W Companies said he will first build a hotel along Mill Avenue while restoring the historic La Casa Vieja. He said he would later build two condo towers rising 257 feet.
The first version of the plan would have placed a 300-foot tower directly above the historic La Casa Vieja, which triggered preservationists to blast the plan. The adobe structure likely would have crumbled during construction, critics said, or at least be obscured by piers supporting the tower. Wall then backed the tower away from the adobe structure and won praise from former critics — though neighboring landowner US Airways called for a “good neighbor height” of 225 feet. Tempe’s elected officials had blasted the airline as a bully for refusing to agree to various concessions offered.
La Casa Vieja was built in 1871 by Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden. The house also served as a general store, boarding house and community gathering place. It’s the Valley’s oldest continuously occupied building, often called the most significant historic structure in the metropolitan area.
The City of Tempe is partnering with several private, non-profit entities to begin full rehabilitation of the historic Eisendrath House property (rendering at left by Mark Vinson). Motley Design Group, headed by architect Bob Graham, is nearly complete with a rehab report and recommendations. It is believed that funding for at least the initial stabilization of the structure is secured, and advocates are optimistic that once “the ball rolls” this spring, funding will continue and the full rehab, according to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, will occur.
The goal is to rehab and then occupy the house as the “Carl Hayden Center for Sustainability at the Eisendrath House.” Exhibits on water conservation and other forms of sustainable design and construction may be installed, along with interpretive exhibits on the house and the Eisendrath family. Some office, conference, and meeting space, as well as other support functions, would also be provided. The City would be the prime tenant, but the possibility exists that other groups could office and/or meet there.
For more information, contact Mark Vinson, AIA/AICP/NCARB, City of Tempe Architect, at 480-350- 8367.