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In 1856, after Fort McDowell was established in the Salt River Valley of central Arizona, some enterprising farmers relocated to the region in 1865. The prehistoric Hohokam Indian tribe dug out the irrigation canals. These farmers constructed new ones that would carry water from the Salt River onto their fields. It wasn't long before Valley farms were supplying food to the mining communities and the military posts in Arizona.
The first white pioneer to relocate to the Tempe region, east of Phoenix, and south of the Salt River, were Hispanic families that were from southern Arizona. They assisted with the building of the first two irrigation canals, known as the San Francisco canal that the Kirkland/McKinney Ditch. This effort started small farms to the west and east of a large butte known as the Tempe Butte. Some of these Mexican pioneers established a community known as San Pablo, which was located east of the Tempe Butte in 1872.
There was another small community that was named Hayden's Ferry that was established, and located west of Tempe Butte. In 1870, a man named Charles Hayden, who was the owner of a freighting business as well as mercantile business in Tucson, homesteaded this location in 1870. Mr. Hayden had established a ferry, a blacksmith shop, a flourmill, warehouses, and a store. The community was rapidly becoming the trade center for the Salt River Valley on the south side.
Both small communities grew rather rapidly and it wasn't long before one community was established. In 1879, the small community was known as Tempe. The name originated from the Vale of Tempe in ancient Greece.
In 1865, another group of enterprising farmers arrived. These farmers relocated to what is currently known as the small community of Tempe, Arizona. These early pioneers rebuilt the previous build canals so that they would sustain the farms that supplied food to the mining communities and the military posts in Arizona.
In 1870, a man named Charles Hayden arrived in the area. Mr. Hayden was an innovative and gutsy type of guy. Mr. Hayden constructed another small community that was named Hayden's Ferry, and was located next to the banks of the Salt River. Mr. Hayden a ferry across the Salt River, blacksmith shops, warehouses, a flourmill, as well as a store, all within a few years. Until the 1900's the flourmill was still operational. These days, the flourmill is the most iconic landmarks in Tempe. The home of Mr. Hayden is located on the corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. It is also a major historical landmark.
Some Hispanic families, who came from northern Mexico and southern Arizona, established a settlement that was known as San Pablo in 1872. They introduced their own social activities, cuisine, and culture, cuisine that included music and entertainment that included Cinco de Mayo every year as well as concerts, and dances. These days, Tempe is celebrating the historical significance of Hispanic community during the annual Tempe Tardeada.
The two communities of Hayden's Ferry and San Pablo and Hayden's Ferry combined into one diverse and dynamic, community in 1879. This distinct community became known Tempe. The name originated from of the Vale of Tempe in Greece.
As addition farmers arrived to live in the Valley, they began raising grains and alfalfa for feeding their livestock. All of the required water was provided by, the Tempe Irrigating Canal Company. Having a series of canals that were many miles that was just south of the river, irrigation water was transported to some acres of rich farmland. They raised crops of oats, barley, and wheat to ensure a prosperous business for the Hayden Mill. Then, the flour that was milled was then transported to other small communities and forts throughout the territory. There were farmers who began growing new cash crops that included citrus fruits, and dates by the 1890's.
The legislature in Arizona chose Tempe as the location for the Territorial Normal School that trained the teachers in Arizona in 1885. It wasn't long before other changes in Tempe encouraged the development of the small farming settlement. In 1887, the Phoenix and Maricopa railroad arrived in the area. This railroad crossed the Salt River at Tempe, which linked the communities to the growing transportation system in the country. The Tempe Improvement and Land Company were established in order to sell lots in the booming community. Tempe became one of the most important shipping as well as business a business center for the surrounding agricultural region.
In 1911, the Roosevelt Dam was completed. This would provide sufficient water to meet the ever increasing requirements of the farmers in the Valley. President Theodore Roosevelt, who was on his way to dedicate the dam, predicted that their communities would grow to become prosperous cities and applauded the accomplishments of the people of central Arizona. Within one year, Arizona was granted statehood and became the 48th state. The Salt River Valley was also well on its way to becoming the new population center of the Southwest.
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