Tempe, Arizona

Last updated

O'odham: Oidbaḍ
City of Tempe
Flag of Tempe, Arizona.svg
Maricopa County Arizona Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Tempe Highlighted 0473000.svg
Location of Tempe in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°24′46″N111°56′35″W / 33.41278°N 111.94306°W / 33.41278; -111.94306 Coordinates: 33°24′46″N111°56′35″W / 33.41278°N 111.94306°W / 33.41278; -111.94306
Country United States
State Arizona
County Maricopa
Incorporated October 15, 1892
  Body Tempe City Council
   Mayor Mark Mitchell (D)
   City 40.22 sq mi (104.18 km2)
  Land39.98 sq mi (103.54 km2)
  Water0.25 sq mi (0.64 km2)
1,140–1,495 ft (347.47 – 455.68 m)
 (2010) [2]
   City 161,719
(2018) [3]
  RankUS: 133rd
  Density4,811.87/sq mi (1,857.85/km2)
4,574,531 (US: 12th)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP code
85281, 85282, 85283, 85284, 85285, 85287
Area codes 480 and 602
FIPS code 04-73000
Website www.tempe.gov

Tempe ( /tɛmˈp/ tem-PEE; [4] Oidbaḍ in O'odham), is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2017 population of 185,038. [5] The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale and the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.

Maricopa County, Arizona County in Arizona

Maricopa County is located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population was 4,410,824 as of 2018, making it the state's most populous county, and the fourth-most populous in the United States, containing more than half the population of Arizona. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States.

Arizona U.S. state in the United States

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.



Tempe between 1870 and 1880. Tempe, Arizona c1870.jpg
Tempe between 1870 and 1880.

The Hohokam lived in this area and built canals to support their agriculture. They abandoned their settlements during the 15th century, with a few individuals and families remaining nearby.

Hohokam ethnic group

Hohokam was a society located in the North American Southwest, in the areas now part of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Hohokam practiced a specific culture, sometimes referred to as Hohokam culture, which has been distinguished by archaeologists. People who practiced this culture can be called Hohokam as well, but more often they are distinguished as Hohokam people to avoid confusion.

Canal Man-made channel for water

Canals, or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles. It can be thought as an artificial version of a river.

Fort McDowell was established approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of present downtown Tempe on the upper Salt River in 1865 allowing for new towns to be built farther down the Salt River. US military service members and Hispanic workers were hired to grow food and animal feed to supply the fort, and less than a year later, had set up small camps near the river that were the first permanent communities in the Valley after the fall of the Hohokam. (Phoenix was settled shortly afterward, by 1867–68.) The two settlements were 'Hayden's Ferry', named after a ferry service operated by Charles T. Hayden, and 'San Pablo', and were located west and east of Hayden Butte respectively. The ferry became the key river crossing in the area. The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company was soon established by William Kirkland and James McKinney to provide water for alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, and cotton.

Fort McDowell, Arizona Unincorporated community in Arizona, United States

Fort McDowell is an unincorporated community in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Fort McDowell is 23 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. Fort McDowell has a post office with ZIP code 85264.

Salt River (Arizona) stream in the U.S. state of Arizona

The Salt River is a river in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is the largest tributary of the Gila River. The river is about 200 miles (320 km) long. Its drainage basin is about 13,700 square miles (35,000 km2) large. The longest of the Salt River's many tributaries is the 195-mile (314 km) Verde River. The Salt's headwaters tributaries, the Black River and East Fork, increase the river's total length to about 300 miles (480 km). The name Salt River comes from the fact that the river flows over large salt deposits shortly after the merging of the White and Black Rivers.

Charles T. Hayden American businessman and probate judge

Charles Trumbull Hayden was an American businessman and probate judge. His influence was felt in the development of Arizona Territory where he helped found both the city of Tempe and Arizona State University. Hayden is also known as the father of U.S. Senator Carl Hayden.

Pioneer Darrell Duppa is credited with suggesting Tempe's name, adopted in 1879, after comparing the Salt River valley near a 300-foot (91 m)-tall butte, to the Vale of Tempe near Mount Olympus in Greece. [6]

Phillip Darrell Duppa American pioneer

Phillip Darrell Duppa was a pioneer in the settlement of Arizona prior to its statehood.

Butte Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top

In geomorphology, a butte is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller landforms than mesas, plateaus, and tablelands. The word "butte" comes from a French word meaning "small hill"; its use is prevalent in the Western United States, including the southwest where "mesa" is used for the larger landform. Because of their distinctive shapes, buttes are frequently landmarks in plains and mountainous areas. In differentiating mesas and buttes, geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top that is wider than its height, while a butte has a top that is narrower than its height.

Vale of Tempe gorge in northern Thessaly, Greece

The Vale of Tempe is a gorge in the Tempi municipality of northern Thessaly, Greece, located between Olympus to the north and Ossa to the south, and between the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.

From its founding in 1871 until the early 1960s, Tempe was a sundown town where African Americans were permitted to work but encouraged to live elsewhere. [7]

Sundown town All-white municipalities that enforced discriminatory local laws through intimidation and violence

Sundown towns, also known as sunset towns or gray towns, were all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practiced a form of segregation by enforcing restrictions excluding non-whites via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence. The term came from signs posted that "colored people" had to leave town by sundown. "At least until the early 1960s...northern states could be nearly as inhospitable to black travelers as states like Alabama or Georgia."

In 1885, the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature chose Tempe for the site of the Territorial Normal School, which became Arizona Normal School, Arizona State Teachers College, Arizona State College and finally Arizona State University.

The 13th Arizona Territorial Legislative Assembly was a session of the Arizona Territorial Legislature which began on January 12, 1885, in Prescott, Arizona. The session's accomplishments included allocation of a variety of territorial institution including a university, normal school, prison, and insane asylum. Nicknames bestowed to the session include the "bloody thirteenth" due to fights in the halls of government and nearby saloons, and the "thieving thirteenth" due to the very large appropriations approved by this legislature.

Arizona State University Public university located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, United States

Arizona State University is a public metropolitan research university on five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona.

The Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad, built in 1887, crossed the Salt River at Tempe, linking the town to the nation's growing transportation system. The Tempe Land and Improvement Company was formed to sell lots in the booming town. Tempe became an economic hub for the surrounding agricultural area. The city incorporated in 1894.

The completion of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 guaranteed enough water to meet the growing needs of Valley farmers. On his way to dedicate the dam, former President Theodore Roosevelt applauded the accomplishments of the people of central Arizona and predicted that their towns would be prosperous cities in the future. Less than a year later, Arizona was admitted as the 48th state, and the Salt River Valley continued to develop.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tempe has expanded as a suburb of Phoenix, and as a center of education and commerce.


Tempe is an inner suburb, located between the core city of Phoenix and the rest of the East Valley. Due to this as well as being the home of the main campus of Arizona State University, Tempe has a fairly dense, urbanized development pattern in the northern part of the city with a growing skyline. Going south, development becomes less dense, consisting of single-family homes, strip malls and lower-density office parks.

Within Tempe are the Tempe Buttes. The Salt River runs west through the northern part of Tempe; part of the river is dammed in two places to create Tempe Town Lake.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the landlocked city has a total area of 40.2 square miles (104 km2). The city of Tempe is bordered by Mesa to the east, Scottsdale and the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community to the north, Phoenix and Guadalupe to the west, and Chandler to the south. 40.1 square miles (104 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it is water. The total area is 0.32% water including Tempe Town Lake.

Tempe is generally flat, except for Hayden Butte (generally known as A-Mountain for Arizona State University's "A" logo located on its south face), located next to Sun Devil Stadium, Twin Buttes and Bell Butte on the western edge of Tempe, and Papago Park northwest of Tempe, inside Phoenix. Elevation ranges from 1,140 feet (350 m) at Tempe Town Lake to 1,495 feet (456 m) atop Hayden Butte.

Tempe Town Lake (3).jpg
Tempe cityscape from Tempe Town Lake


Climate data for Tempe, Arizona
Average high °F (°C)69
Average low °F (°C)39
Average precipitation inches (mm)1.08
Source: The Weather Channel [8]


Historical population
1880 135
1890 897564.4%
1900 885−1.3%
1910 1,47366.4%
1920 1,96333.3%
1930 2,49527.1%
1940 2,90616.5%
1950 7,684164.4%
1960 24,897224.0%
1970 63,550155.3%
1980 106,91968.2%
1990 141,86532.7%
2000 158,94512.0%
2010 161,7191.7%
Est. 2018192,364 [3] 18.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [9]
Downtown Tempe from Hayden Butte. Downtowntempe2.jpg
Downtown Tempe from Hayden Butte.

As of the 2010 census, there were 161,719 people, 63,602 households, and 33,645 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,959.4 people per square mile (1,528.8/km²). There were 67,068 housing units at an average density of 1,674.1 per square mile (646.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.51% White, 5.9% Black or African American, 2.9% Native American, 5.7% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 8.49% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 21.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 63,602 households out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.4% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.1% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, 19.8% of the population was under the age of 18, 21.3% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,361, and the median income for a family was $55,237. Males had a median income of $36,406 versus $28,605 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,406. About 7.5% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.


Hayden Ferry Lakeside development on the north end of Downtown Tempe Haydenferry.jpg
Hayden Ferry Lakeside development on the north end of Downtown Tempe

Tempe is the headquarters and executive office of one Fortune 500 company: Insight Enterprises. Limelight Networks, [10] LifeLock, [11] First Solar, [12] [13] the Salt River Project, Circle K, Fulton Homes and Mobile Mini are also headquartered in Tempe. Cold Stone Creamery was originally headquartered in Tempe and location #0001 is still in operation today at 3330 S McClintock Drive in Tempe. Many businesses that have originated in Tempe continue to thrive within city limits and beyond; companies such as Ahimsa Essentials, Huss Brewing Co., Carolyn's Classics, and Doctor Hummus. [14] Tempe prides itself in assisting burgeoning businesses and has a variety of resources and programs available, such as FABRiC (Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center) and BRiC (Business Resource and Innovation Center). [15] Tempe is also home to the first and largest campus of Arizona State University. It was the longtime host of the Fiesta Bowl, although the BCS game moved to University of Phoenix Stadium, located in Glendale, in 2007. It then began hosting the Insight Bowl which is now known as the Cheez-It Bowl. As of 2018, there is no bowl game in Tempe because of renovations to Sun Devil Stadium. Edward Jones Investments and State Farm Insurance have regional headquarters in Tempe. [16]

Tempe houses several great performance venues including Gammage Auditorium and the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Tempe Town Lake is home to many national and international events, such as Ironman Arizona and Rock n Roll Marathon. Gammage Auditorium was also the site of one of the three Presidential debates in 2004, and Super Bowl XXX was played at Sun Devil Stadium. Additionally, Tempe is the spring training host city of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

One of Arizona's largest shopping malls, Arizona Mills, sits near the border with the town of Guadalupe. The city also serves as the first Arizona IKEA branch location, also near the southern boundary. Tempe Marketplace a large open air mall featuring live music and water and laser shows is located just southeast of Tempe Town Lake. Tempe can boast an array of wholesalers and manufacturers. Mill Avenue, located just west of Hayden Butte, is a shopping and entertainment area in the city popular with pedestrians and students. With the completion of Tempe Town Lake, commercial and high-rise development along the reservoir quickly transformed the cityscape of Mill Avenue and the skyline of downtown Tempe. Many gourmet foods are made in Tempe, such as Decio Pasta, Sting and Linger Salsa, Cartel Coffee, Four Peaks Brewery Beer and much more. Tempe is now produces more blue-veined cheese than anywhere else in the country other than Wisconsin, thanks to Arizona Cheese Company. Visit www/tempe.gov/MadeinTempe

Top employers

State Farm is among the top employers in Tempe, with a regional campus along Tempe Town Lake which opened in 2015. According to Tempe's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [17] the top employers in the city are:

1 Arizona State University 8,380
2 State Farm 6,120
3 SRP 2,810
4 Wells Fargo 2,550
5 ABM Industries 2,000
6City of Tempe1,894
7 JP Morgan Chase 1,630
8 Honeywell 1,610
9 Express Scripts 1,520
10 Tempe Elementary School District #3 1,520

Arts and culture

The Public Art program coordinates artists with building designers to install permanent and temporary public art projects. Since 1988, more than 50 projects have been commissioned by the Tempe's Cultural Services Division. The Art in Private Development ordinance of 1991 has helped add more than 60 privately owned pieces of art to the city, accessible by the public. [18]

Performing arts

Tempe enjoyed a thriving alternative music scene throughout the 1980s and '90s, producing such acts as the Gin Blossoms, Meat Puppets, Dead Hot Workshop, The Refreshments, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Hans Olson, The Maine, and Injury Reserve.

Tempe Music Walk

The Tempe Music Walk honors select bands, musicians and musical venues with plaques embedded in the sidewalk on Mill Avenue. Tempe is the first Phoenix Metropolitan Area city to honor its musicians in this way. Honorees are Walt Richardson, The Gin Blossoms, Hans Olson, and Long Wong's. [19]

Public libraries

Tempe Public Library serves Tempe. The children's library is now 18,816 square feet large. [20]


Many of the reasons people visit Tempe are places and events, such as P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, Tempe Marketplace, Arizona Mills, Mill Avenue, and Tempe Town Lake. [21] Downtown Tempe offers more than 175 restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops to cater to city guests. [22]

Mill Ave is a famous Arizona bar district in Tempe containing several bars and restaurants that cater to the growing university crowd and Tempe's Music Walk, which honors select bands, musicians and musical venues with plaques embedded in the sidewalk on Mill Avenue. Along with bars and restaurants are business complexes and university buildings. Several longtime bar establishments include Mill Ave Cue Club and Rula Bula Irish Pub.

The Tempe Tourism Office, located on Mill Avenue's downtown district, provides maps and additional information about hotels and upcoming city events. [23]

Historic properties

There are numerous properties in the city of Tempe which are considered to be historical and have been included either in the National Register of Historic Places. [24]


Sun Devil Stadium Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe Arizona.jpg
Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe Diablo Stadium T-Tempe Diablo Stadium2.JPG
Tempe Diablo Stadium

There are currently no major league professional sports teams playing in Tempe. However, from 1988 to 2005, Sun Devil Stadium hosted the Arizona Cardinals (named the Phoenix Cardinals from 1988 to 1993) of the National Football League. They have since moved to State Farm Stadium in Glendale for games, but maintain their headquarters and training facility in Tempe. Many residents follow the teams in nearby Phoenix and Glendale. (For more information, read the sports section on the Phoenix page ) [25]

The Arizona State University Sun Devils compete in football, basketball, baseball, as well as a number of other sports in the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The Sun Devils football team plays their games at Sun Devil Stadium. Their nearest rival is the University of Arizona Wildcats, in Tucson. The two teams compete in the "Duel in the Desert" for control of the Territorial Cup. The Sun Devil Stadium had hosted the annual Fiesta Bowl, until the 2007 game moved to the new University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The Los Angeles Angels have their spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Tempe Diablo Stadium was built in 1968 and holds 9,785 people. The Angels moved to Tempe in 1993 from Palm Springs, California.

The Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football played their one season in Tempe in early 2019. The league folded before the season was completed.

Rugby union is a developing sport in Tempe as well as in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The multiple clubs, ranging from men's and women's clubs to collegiate and Under 19, are part of the Arizona Rugby Union. [26] Notable clubs are Arizona State University Rugby Football Club and the Tempe "Old Devils" Rugby Club. [27]

Parks and recreation

Tempe is home to many outdoor activities. Tempe Town Lake is a publicly accessible lake that is run by City of Tempe. The lake provides recreation activities to residents and tourists, but also helps protect the surrounding area from flooding. The City of Tempe estimated that 2.7 million people visited the lake in 2013. [28] Papago and South Mountain Parks offer hiking, mountain and road biking, rock climbing, frisbee golf, and equestrian activities. Tempe is also home to the annual Ironman Triathlon, which takes place in late November.


The city has had 31 mayors since 1894.


Tempe is served by multiple school districts. Most of Tempe is within the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District; however, other portions are served by the Kyrene School District (K–8), Scottsdale Unified School District (K–12), and Mesa Public Schools (K–12). James Madison Preparatory School and Tempe Preparatory Academy are also located in the area.

Emmanuel Lutheran School is a Christian Pre-K-8 grade school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Tempe. [29]

Tempe also contains one of the state's three major universities, Arizona State University, the Maricopa County Community College District administrative offices and the headquarters of Rio Salado Community College. Arizona State University is known for its numerous studies and innovations, particularly in the field of science which include furthering the knowledge of certain cancers, business management research, and population science. [30] [31] [32] Tempe is also the home of several career schools, including the University of Phoenix, Brookline College, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Bryan University and Lamson Junior College.




Mill Avenue bridges over Tempe Town Lake at night Tempe Town Lake (2).jpg
Mill Avenue bridges over Tempe Town Lake at night

Tempe is one of the most densely populated cities in the state and serves as a crossroads for the area's largest communities.

Freeways make up the major transportation system for the Valley. Included in the system surrounding Tempe are Interstate 10 near the western edge as it traverses the Broadway Curve, Loop 202 crossing the northern side, Loop 101 following the eastern border, and U.S. Route 60 running east–west through the geographic center of the city.

Phoenix light rail over Tempe Town Lake at night Phoenix Exterior Bridge.2008.jpg
Phoenix light rail over Tempe Town Lake at night

Valley Metro operates bus routes and the Valley Metro Rail system that serves Downtown Tempe and Arizona State University, providing service to Phoenix and Mesa. The City of Tempe operates a free neighborhood circulator service called Orbit involving five free shuttle routes near Arizona State University that operate on a regular basis seven days a week. [34] Three other FLASH (Free Local Area Shuttle) circulate in northern Tempe around the university. Tempe residents and commuters make extensive use of public transit and service is offered on a more frequent basis than elsewhere in the greater Phoenix valley, or in the entire state. Most Tempe buses offer 15 minute service during rush hour and 30 minute service throughout the rest of the day.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, located 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Tempe, provides extensive air service to points throughout North America and to London, England, and various cities in Hawaii.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is located in Mesa, and offers air service to many additional destinations.

Tempe was the location of the world's first reported killing of a pedestrian by a self-driving car on 19 March 2018. An Uber car under software control was driving at 38 mph on a 35 mph limit road when it collided with 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg who was crossing the road. [35]

Notable people

Phillip Darrell Duppa is credited with giving Tempe its name. Phillip Darrell Duppa.jpg
Phillip Darrell Duppa is credited with giving Tempe its name.

Twin towns and sister cities

Tempe has ten sister cities , as designated by Sister Cities International : [41]

Flag of France.svg Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Flag of Ireland.svg Carlow, Carlow, Ireland
Flag of New Zealand.svg Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Flag of Germany.svg Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany
Flag of North Macedonia.svg Skopje, North Macedonia [42]
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
Flag of Mali.svg Timbuktu, Mali
Flag of Ecuador.svg Cuenca, Ecuador
Flag of Peru.svg Cuzco, Peru
Flag of Sweden.svg Trollhättan, Sweden

Tempe has had a Sister City with Skopje, North Macedonia, since 1971. The newest sister city is Trollhättan, Sweden, in 2015. Tempe has been voted "Best Overall Sister City Program" in 1998, 2004 and 2008. [43]

See also

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