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One of the entrepreneurial pioneers who established the settlement of Tempe, Arizona, was a man named Charles Hayden. Mr. Hayden used the water from the river in the canal for his flour mill. The water ran over a large screw that turned the mill, after flowing through the flour mill. The water fell through a 25 foot waterfall after it left the mill, to the base of the Hayden Butte. Mr. Hayden constructed his home to be a port for his ferry service, which was located across from the mill. Mr. Hayden' son named Carl Hayden who sometime later became a senator for the United States.
In 1879 the official name for Tempe came from the mythology of the Greek Vale of Tempe. The Hayden burned to the ground and in1979, the flour mill was rebuilt. The Salt River offered a rather cool escape from the desert heat during the 1920's. Pioneers would gather close to the Tempe Park on the beach gather at the base of the State Bridge. A named Red Harkins constructed a theater in the Tempe Park on the beach Park where he provided the movies for a nickel. Mr. Harkins also constructed wooden bleachers where the movie goers could watch the films.
Crews built constructed the Mill Avenue Bridge, in 1931, which was located across the Salt River. The Tuberculosis Sanitarium was constructed on Curry Road that overlooked the Salt River during the 1930's. This exquisite facility served rich Tuberculosis patients who had relocated to Arizona as the result of the low allergens as well as the dry climate.
These pioneers were the first of what would eventually be a booming tourist industry. The Lenard Monti Family bought the house across from the flour mill that the Hayden family owned, in 1954. The Lenard Monti family opened the house as a steak house that was named the Monti's La Casa Viejo. The location of this landmark restaurant is at the intersection of Rio Salado Parkway and Mil.
The Sun Devil Stadium was constructed at the base of Hayden Butte. !958 was also the year that the Tempe Normal School, which was the original name of the school, became the official name of the Arizona State University in 1958. However, floods damaged the bridge across the river, which divided the Valley, during the early 1980's. The only bridge that was still open was the old Mill Avenue Bridge. Residents and employees alike used trains and boats in order to cross the river. The Development District of Rio Salado was established and started developing a Valley wide master plan from to Agua Fria from Granite Reef that was within the 100 year flood plain. This redevelopment began in the downtown Tempe region around Mill Avenue. The name of the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel was changed to the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in 1985. This hotel offered a 30,000 foot outdoor and indoor meeting place, a four building in the center of Tempe, six suites, and 303 rooms. The hotel started successful relationship with Destination Hotels and Resorts, which was a subsidiary of Low enterprise as well as being the 4th largest privately owned hotel management company in the nation.
A man named Ken McKenzie became the General Manager of the Tempe Mission Palms hotel in 1992. The Conference Center as well as the Hotel is still in operation. Conference Center and continues to be to this day. Mr. McKenzie is the most tenured General Manager with Destination Resorts and Hotels from the Hotel Division.
The studies of the Mill Avenue Bridge were almost completed by 1990. Plans for commercial development and Flood control channelization, recreation, water treatment, and wildlife management were completed. Tempe starting talks with the bureau of Land Management about leases. Next the community started the process of choosing the development of the reclaimed the property was developed from the flood plain. The master plan for Rio Salado indicated a community Lake concept that had a continuous body of water between the south and north shores. Before, the lake concept included islands. However, in order to meet the flow capacity if the river channel, this concept was modified. The Tempe Community Lake was opened to the public in 1999.
The Tempe community burst in 2010s. One of the eight inflatable bladders that prevent the waters from escaping from the Tempe Community Lake burst. However, when this happened, the community of Tempe was in the process of replacing the bladders. Almost one billion gallons of water was drained from the lake. In 2010, the Tempe Community Lake reopened to the public.
The place where the community comes together to share the past of the community is the Tempe History Museum, past, as well as sharing the present and imagine its future. There is free admission. Visitors and their families can enjoy free events that include special exhibitions and Legend City and the days of Hayden's Ferry, which are on display all throughout the summertime.
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