Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Town Lake, 2011 (Photo by Gabriela Mena)

Tempe Town Lake, 2011 (Photo by Gabriela Mena)
Tempe Town Lake ran alongside downtown Tempe and Arizona State University as a utility corridor. Now, it has been converted into a 220-acre lake, 5.5-mile park and new commercial and residential projects. Tempe Town lake, was known as Hayden’s Ferry because of its ferry system. The main road from the ferry was known as Mill Street. A railroad bridge was built around 1874 but later destroyed by a flood. First settlers were the Hohokam Indians; No Caucasian families were around for a while. (Blanton, 2007)

Early settlers of Tempe contributed to the Salt River; Niel Perterson rebuilt the rock and bush dams across the Lake. The first bale of cotton ever grown in Arizona was featured at the fair in Phoenix in 1885. Today James Redden Ranch, 310 acres is now McClintock Drive. Floyd Miller’s quarter section along the Creamery is now Rural Road, (Blanton, 2007).

In late 1990s, there was a proposal to develop the dry riverbed of Salt River into a 220-acre, 800 to 100 foot wide lake. “City of Tempe’s desire to improve the condition and value of its riverfront property was to convert a 4-km length of the dry riverbed to a lake, with the hope of attracting new business with shoreline parks and recreational amenities” (Defries, 2004). The idea was brought on by the city as a place of Economic benefit, such as tourism, public recreational amenities, and a growth in businesses and complexes. Tempe Town Lake is filled by water delivered from nearby canals, (Defries, 2004). According to Ecosystems and Land Use Changes, “The trade-off between floodplain development and flood protection in the Salt River is expressed as technological innovations, such as collapsible and inflatable rubber dams, that allow re-establishment of the lake after recession of floods” (Defries, 2004). There is a lot of diversity, different ethnic groups since it is next to Arizona State University. There is no discrimination; the location is perfect for great economic growth. Economic growth has taken place around the Lake and it is rapidly growing as many wish to be by the Lake and railroad access.

Tempe Town Lake went from being a plantation site because it provided lots of water, to being a site for economic growth. Change occurred for everyone, Hohokam Indians still own land off of McClintock Rd. They were the first to settle by the Lake and they only own a fraction of the land. Much of the Agriculture is gone today, but there are now lots of birds. There are many signs around the lake stating, “Do not feed birds” (Eschenfelder, 2000). The bird strikes have increased since the Tempe Town Lake was filled causing problem for airlines. I personally enjoy the view, but precaution must be taken for airlines. Tempe Town Lake has developed around us as a change of growth bringing many different cultures together.

- Gabriela Mena and Arielle Gauna


Blanton, Shirley R. (2007). “Tempe.” Published by Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved October 28, 2011.

Defries, Ruth S; Gregory P. Asner; Richard A. Houghton. (2004). “Ecosystems and Land Use Changes.” American Geophysical Union. Retrieved November 23, 2011.

Eschenfelder, Paul. (2000). “International Bird Strike Committee.” US Airline Pilot Association. Retrieved November 23, 2011.,3

1 comment:

  1. This tempe town lake looks pretty good. I think we must plan for a day trip to visit this nice lake.
    meet and greet at Luton