Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hayden Butte (A Mountain)

A Mountain and the Hayden flour mill, date unknown (photo by Paolo Vescia)

A Mountain and the ASU football stadium, date unknown (courtesy of Tim Trumble and ASU)

Students working on A Mountain, 1940 (courtesy of Tim Trumble and ASU)
Located just south of Rio Salado Parkway between Mill Ave and Rural Dr. in Tempe, AZ
                    Tempe A-Mountain also known as Tempe Butte or Hayden Butte is located at the beginning of the Mill Avenue district next to Sun Devil Stadium on Mill Ave. and 5th St. and is one of the most significant trademarks of the Arizona State University campus.  The significance of A-Mountain is major because it gives the ASU students something to be proud of, even though not much history of the Butte is given to the students about the history of their prized possession.  Tempe Butte or Hayden Butte got its name from Charles Trumbull Hayden, a pioneer who is said to be the founder of Tempe in the mid 1800’s. Before then it is said that the area had been settled by the Hohokam people as well as the San Pablo people in the early 1800’s and many of their artifacts have been found on the butte as well as around it.  A- Mountain is also significant because just to the north of it is the Salt River, which was a big source of importing and exporting in the early 1800’s.  The Salt River was dammed to form Tempe Town Lake in later years.  The Hayden Flour Mill is also located on A-Mountain which is the oldest used industrial site in the Salt River Valley.  The first original Mill and the second one were burned down and the one you see at the foot of the mountain now was built in 1918 and is kept with its original integrity and only has been slightly modified to fit the accommodate the recent building around the butte.  
                   The original letter that was put on the mountain was a “N” for the first school that was established in Tempe known as the Tempe Normal School and then was changed in 1925 to a “T” when the school changed its name to Arizona State Teacher’s College and finally in 1938 the “T” was changed to an “A”.  Even though the history of the Butte is not recognized on regular bases, the students at ASU take much pride in their beloved A-Mountain and also have made traditions with the “A” by changing it to different colors as well as guarding it from rival schools from painting it their schools colors.  A-Mountain is significant because it signifies the pride that the city of Tempe has for its beloved University.  A-Mountain is an example of America’s manifest destiny.  The land was once settled by the Hohokam and San Pablo people, but was but became the property of Charles Hayden when he put a claim on it.  Therefore the recognition was taken from the people who settled the land before the claim of Tempe or Hayden Butte was placed on it.  These days Hayden Butte is preserved by ASU and the city of Tempe. During the year ASU takes students atop of A-mountain to paint the “A” different colors to represent different meanings.  Also, trails have been placed going up the mountain for the community to enjoy and view the mountain.
 - Travis Simpson, Jr., Devon Veater, and Seth Fawcett
Gomez, Laura E., Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race (New York: NYU Press, 2008)

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