In 1865, the U.S. Army arrived at the eastern end of the Salt River and established Fort McDowell. Along with the army came pioneers such as town “founder” Charles Trumball Hayden, who built a flour mill and started a ferry service across the Salt River. “Hayden’s Ferry” was the only vehicle across the Rio Salado at the time, and the area around the ferry grew with mercantiles, shops, saloons, and other small businesses along Mill Ave. An English traveler compared the area to the beautiful Vale of Tempe in Greece, and thus the city name of Tempe was born. In 1886, the Arizona Territorial Normal School welcomed its first class of 31 students in the Old Main building at Arizona State University (ASU).
This college town and agricultural community continued to grow throughout World War II’s Baby Boom and beyond. In recent years, Tempe has grown from a college town and bedroom community to a center for corporate America, learning, culture and technology, and Downtown Tempe (between Tempe Town Lake and ASU) is a unique mecca for those seeking an urban lifestyle that allows for “live, work, and play” in one location. It is Arizona’s 7th largest city with a population of over 160,000 residents.
For many years, Tempe depended on ASU for its prosperity and with over 60,000 students and 10,000 staff members, the University is certainly a major industry of its own. But, in the past decade or so, Tempe has developed a strong, multi-faceted economic base of over 800 manufacturing firms with over 22,000 workers. Not surprisingly, with its proximity to the University, Tempe has a young, highly educated and skilled workforce that fuels a diversified economic base with many technology companies. The city has the highest concentration of technology firms in the state and is ground zero for the Tech Oasis of Metro Phoenix.
Not only is Tempe a hotspot for business, but it has also flourished into a Valley mecca for entertainment. Tempe is packed with history, culture, shopping, dining, nightlife, sports and special events and festivals. Enjoy an ASU football game (or any of the other numerous sports events played there!), a shopping spree in the Mill Avenue District, a concert at Tempe Town Lake, a Broadway performance at ASU Gammage, hiking in Papago Park, and miles of walking paths, numerous parks, tennis courts, and golf courses.