Tempe History Timeline

c1400 The Hohokam culture disappears in the Tempe area in the 14th and 15th centuries. 
1700 Spanish missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino names and maps the Rio de Salado (Salt River).
1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).  The treaty gives all of present-day Arizona north of the Gila River to the United States. 
1854 With ratification of the Gadsden Purchase, land south of the Gila River is purchased and becomes part of the United States, April 25, 1854.
1863 The Organic Act creating Arizona as a separate territory is signed by President Lincoln on February 24, 1863.
1865 Fort McDowell established on the lower Verde River, east of the Salt River Valley. 
1866 Former soldier John Y. T. Smith gets a contract to supply hay for soldiers' horses and mules.  Smith hired Hispanic laborers who settled near the fort to harvest wild hay from the Salt River.  The next year Smith and his employees established a hay camp on the Salt River, becoming the first settlement in the Salt River Valley.
1870 The U.S. Census reports that the Arizona Territory has a population of 9,658.  The Salt River Valley had a population of 240, which included 115 Hispanics.
1871 The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company is started.
1871 On February 14, 1871, the Territorial Legislative Assembly created Maricopa County from lands that were taken from Yavapai County. Phoenix was designated the county seat.
1871 Charles T. Hayden establishes a store and freighting headquarters on the south side of the Salt River.  Hayden built the first structure on his homestead in October, 1871 [this is recognized as Tempe's "official" founding date, although there were already people living in the Tempe area].
1872 William H. Kirkland donates 80 acres of land near Tempe Butte to Hispanic laborers who helped construct the Kirkland-McKinney ditch.  The laborers purchased lots to raise money for a church.  They named their settlement San Pablo.
1874 Charles T. Hayden opens his flour milling operation using water from the Tempe Irrigating Canal.
1877 Hiram C. Hodge notes that there are two stores and a population of about 100 in Tempe.
1878 Mesa is founded.
1879 The Hayden's Ferry Post Office is renamed the Tempe Post Office.
1881 Phoenix is incorporated on February 5, 1881.
1881 The gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone takes place on October 26, 1881.
1886 The Territorial Normal School opens in Tempe.
1887 The new Phoenix and Maricopa Railroad links Tempe with Phoenix and the mainline at Maricopa.
1887 The Salt River Valley News, renamed the Tempe News, is first printed by Curt Miller who embarks on a 55-year tenure as publisher. It is published on Saturdays.
1888 The Tempe Land and Improvement Company is incorporated.
1889 The Territorial Normal School is renamed the Arizona Territorial Normal School.
1892 The Kibbey Decision grants Tempe land owners rights to a guaranteed supply of water. 
1894 The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors incorporates the town of Tempe. Dr. Fenn J. Hart is named the first mayor.
1895 The Tempe Daily News becomes the town's official newspaper.
1896 Tempe holds its first municipal election.
1898 Electric street lights are installed in the downtown area.
1898 The Spanish-American War is fought in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
1900 The Sunset Telephone Company brings the first phone service to Tempe.
1902 Tempe's first domestic water system is completed.
1902 A volunteer fire department is organized in Tempe.
1909 Tempe's first high school is constructed.
1910 The Kent Decree established guidelines for surface water distribution rights.
1911 The Roosevelt Dam is completed on the Salt River.
1911 Construction begins on the Ash Avenue Bridge.
1912 Arizona becomes the 48th state on February 14, 1912.
1912 Carl Trumbull Hayden is elected to the United States House of Representatives.
1912 A city hall and jail is built.
1913 The first municipal sewer system is constructed.
1914-18 World War I is fought in Europe.
1915 Town Council passed Ordinance No. 108, establishing a Department of Public Works responsible for water, sewer, public buildings, parks, grounds, and repair of streets.
1920 The price of cotton plummets, leading to financial disaster for cotton farmers in the Salt River Valley.  Tempe, home of the local cotton growers association, is hit particularly hard.
1920 Tempe has a population of 1900.
1923 The Farmer and Merchants Bank fails.
1923 The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company becomes part of the Salt River Project.
1923 The swimming pool at Tempe Beach Park opens.
1923 The Tempe Rotary Club is formed.
1925 Adolpho Romo brings a suit against the Trustees of the Tempe Elementary School in the Maricopa County Superior Court asking that his children be admitted to the Tenth Street School on the same terms and conditions as other children. At that time, the district required his four children, and all Hispanic children, to attend the Eighth Street School. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph S. Jenckes ruled in his favor.
1929 The Tempe Lions Club is formed.
1929 The stock market crashes, plunging the country into the Great Depression.  The effects were not felt immediately in the Salt River Valley.
1930 The population of Tempe is 2,495.
1931 The Mill Avenue Bridge is completed and replaces the Ash Avenue bridge as the auto crossing.
1932 Dr.  B. B. Moeur is elected Governor of Arizona.
1936 John R. Murdock, a professor at Arizona State Teachers College, is elected to the United States House of Representatives.
1940 The population of Tempe is 2,900.

Tempe’s first official hospital, Tempe Community Hospital, opens.

1945 Arizona State Teachers College is renamed Arizona State College at Tempe.
1946 The Tempe Beach Pool "No Mexicans Allowed" segregation policy is ended.  Hispanic Tempe veterans lead the effort to desegregate the pool.
1950 Howard Pyle is elected Governor of Arizona.
1950 The population of Tempe is 7,684.
1958 Arizona voters change the name of Arizona State College at Tempe to Arizona State University.
1958 ASU Sun Devil Stadium is built.  It is expanded several times over the years.
1960 Tempe's population grows to 24,897.
1965 Tempe's population is now 45, 919 -- an increase of 84.4% in five years.
1962 Broadway Plaza is completed at Broadway Road and Mill Avenue.
1964 Tempe becomes a charter government city and elects its mayor directly for the first time.
1964 Laird and Dines Drug Store closes after 68 years of operation at the corner of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street.
1964 ASU has 16,818 students, with a campus on 300 acres of land.
1967 Tempe adopts its first General Plan to direct the development of the city.
1968 Ground is broken for a new Post Office facility at Southern and College avenues.
1968 Carl Trumbull Hayden retires from the United States Senate after 56 years of service in Congress.  Hayden still holds the record for the longest term of service in the Congress.
1968 ASU has 23,341 students.
1968 The Interstate-10 freeway is built through Tempe.
1968 Diablo Stadium is built.
1969 The first Mill Avenue arts and crafts fair is held.
1970 A new City Hall complex is completed.
1970 Construction of "The Lakes" housing development begins just outside of Tempe's city limits.
1970 Tempe's population is 63,550.
1971 The first building constructed specifically for the Tempe Public Library is completed at Southern Avenue and Rural Road.  Today this building houses the Tempe History Museum.
1972 The City of Tempe purchases land for Kiwanis Park.
1974 The City of Chandler annexes land along Ray Road, blocking Tempe's last avenue of expansion.  Tempe becomes landlocked. 
1980 Tempe's population is 106,743.
1980 Major floods close every bridge in the valley except the Mill Avenue Bridge and the Central Avenue Bridge in Phoenix.
1988 The Phoenix Cardinals begin playing at Sun Devil Stadium and open a training facility in Tempe.
1988 The Kiwanis Recreation Center and Wave Pool open to the public.
1989 The new Tempe Public Library building opens.
1989 The Tempe City Council approves the Rio Salado Project.
1989 The Tempe Police Department becomes the 100th accredited department in the nation.
1989-94 The Maricopa County Flood Control district channelizes the Salt River.
1990 Tempe's population is 141,000.
1990 Tempe voters approve an ordinance to provide funding for public art.
1991 The Tempe Historical Museum reopens in the former Tempe Public Library.
1993 The Tempe/Arizona Public Service Joint Fire Training Center is dedicated.
1994 The Arizona Department of Transportation completes the Loop 202 freeway through north Tempe.
1996 Super Bowl XXX is played in Sun Devil Stadium.
1997 The Hayden Flour Mill closes after 123 years of operation.  The Mill's last operator was Bay State Milling, which purchased the mill in 1981.  Limited operations continued until March 1998.
The Tempe Fire Department becomes the first fire department in the United States to be accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. 
1998 Construction of the Rio Salado Project begins.
1999 The Tempe Town Lake is completed.  Tempe Beach Park is rededicated.
1999 The Tempe Fire Department opens a new Fire Station and Administration Offices on East Apache Boulevard. The new facility is named Fire Station #1.
1999 The Human Relations Commission establishes the Diversity Award to recognize individuals, community groups and businesses who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in Tempe.
2000 Tempe's population is 158,625.
2002 The old Hayden Flour Mill burns for the third time in its history. The Fire Department saves the 1918 portion and the 1951 grain silos.
2005 Tempe's population is 165,796.
2006 The Arizona Cardinals (formerly the Phoenix Cardinals) move from Sun Devil Stadium to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
The Tempe Center for the Arts opens by Town Lake.
2008 Corey Woods is the first African American to be elected to the Tempe City Council.
2008 The light rail transit system begins operation in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa.
2009 The East Valley Tribune, the latest version of the Tempe Daily News, ceases circulation in Tempe, marking the end of 122 years of continuous newspaper coverage.
2009 President Barack Obama speaks at the Arizona State University commencement.