Map Reveals Adobe Bricks That Built Tempe

Published: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 5:05am
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Tempe’s adobe buildings range from C.T. Hayden House, the Valley’s oldest occupied home built in 1873, to the Sandra Day O’Connor House built in 1959.

“That really tells the span of the community’s history in terms of culture, in terms of economics, in terms of growth, connection to the outside world,” said Tempe Historic Preservation Officer John Southard.

Hispanic heritage is represented in the Elias-Rodriguez house on Eighth Street. One of the Valley’s early winter visitors in the Rose Eisendrath House. ASU’s unofficial first dorm was in the Farmer-Goodwin House.

All were made of adobe, a building material comprised of sand, silt and clay and often reinforced with other substances such as straw.

It’s one of the world’s oldest building technologies and especially popular in the desert for its thermic qualities. Thick adobe bricks keep the air inside cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The city has created a new online interactive map exploring the area’s adobe buildings.

Map created by the Tempe Enterprise GIS Team, the Tempe History Museum and the Tempe Historic Preservation Office.

On The Map

The Rose Eisendrath House has overlooked Tempe since 1930.

“Aside from pink which is the biggest identifier, it has a Pueblo Revival style design,” Southard said.

Think circular wooden roof beams that stick out and an irregular boxy shape— very southwestern.

Arizona architect Robert T. Evans build the house for Rose Eisendrath, the widow of a Chicago glove maker, in 1930.

As the story goes, Eisendrath tried to find other lodging in the Valley, but was turned away because she was Jewish, so she built her own winter home.

The house changed hands over the years and by the time Tempe bought it in the early 2000s it was crumbling. One wall was even infested with bees.

The process to restore the house took almost two decades and $4.3 million raised by the Rio Salado Foundation and other groups.

Now known as the Eisendrath Center for Water Conservation it’s a meeting space and event venue.

The home is now open for tours by appointment on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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