Tempe’s history unfolds in pictures at April exhibition; public invited


Using images from Tempe History Museum’s vast photographic collection, a soon-to-open exhibit visually explores the city’s relationship with the Salt River during the past 130 years.

It’s called Ebb and Flow: Changing Views of the Salt River, and it’s sponsored by Tempe Historical Society starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 12.

Vice Mayor Onnie Shekerjian will give remarks and museum staff will provide guided tours of the display. The exhibit can be seen in the museum’s community room through Aug. 4.

In Arizona, where water flowed, civilization followed. In the Tempe area, Hohokam farmers lived along the Salt River for a millennium.

More recently, ranchers, pioneers and farmers made their homes in the area.

The waters of the Salt River, it turns out, have comprised the lifeblood of the community for centuries, ebbing and flowing from a dammed-up dry riverbed to raging floods.

Heavy rains and released waters from Roosevelt Dam came downstream with fury, wiping out trees, roads and even bridges. This isn’t ancient history. The new Mill Avenue Bridge was swept away during its construction in 1993.

The waters also fed crops, which kept local farmers, the Hayden Flour Mill and a variety of other related stores on Mill Avenue in business.

The Salt River is the unconditional reason Tempe exists today.

Other activities include:

Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m. —Pick

and Holler Old Time Appalachian

music. Free.

Sunday, April 7, 1:30 p.m.

TEDxPhoenixChange, a local version of

TEDTalks. $5.

Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack of ASU

Gammage speaks on The Future of the

Performing Arts. Free.

For those who are still thirsty for

more river water, the Youth Library in

the Tempe Public Library also has a

display of art, Water Under the Bridge,

featuring the river. Details: www.


Tempe History Museum is at 809

E. Southern Ave., adjacent to Tempe

Public Library. Admission is free.

Information: 480 350-5100 or


Josh Roffler is curator of

collections at Tempe History Museum.


By Josh Roffler



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