top of page
  • Writer's pictureBob Graham

Hayden House (Monti's La Casa Vieja) - Part I

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

The historical background to Hayden House is presented in five parts. Below is part I:

Historical Background Introduction

Built by Charles Trumbull Hayden in 1873, the Hayden House is the oldest extant Anglo-American building in the Salt River Valley. Hayden and his fam- ily, including his son, Senator Carl Hayden, lived at this residence through Senator Hayden’s childhood. The building is the oldest continually-occupied adobe structure in the city of Tempe. It is also a very good, increasingly-rare example of Sonoran-style adobe vernacular architecture, and Arizona’s first example of preservation of an historic building, launching the career of prominent architect Robert T. Evans.

Charles Trumbull Hayden

Charles Trumbull Hayden was a notable Arizona pioneer. Born on April 4, 1825, in Windsor, Connecticut, he moved West and became a prominent trader on the Santa Fe Trail, and one of the first Anglo-American merchants to open a business in Tucson. He is generally credited as being the founder of Tempe. As a young man, Hayden began his career as a teacher. He taught in New Jersey, Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri, but when he arrived in Independence, Missouri, in the late 1840s he took a job as a clerk in a mercantile business. In 1848 Hayden bought a wagon and went to Santa Fe with a load of goods. His first independent business venture was quite profitable.

Hayden decided to stay and open a store in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. With a partner in Missouri providing a stock of trade goods, Hayden established one of the most successful freighting businesses operating on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1850s. The Gadsden Purchase was negotiated with the Mexican government in 1853, and in 1856 the United States took possession of what are now the southernmost portions of Arizona and New Mexico. Seeing a new opportunity, Hayden immediately went to Tubac, a small isolated village south of Tucson that had become the headquarters for the Santa Rita Silver Mining Company. There was clearly a market for tools, manufactured goods, and other provisions in this western part of New Mexico, which became the Arizona Territory in 1863; Hayden planned to be one of the first to serve it.

When an overland mail route from St. Louis to San Francisco was established in 1858, Hayden was a passenger on the first regularly scheduled stage coach to arrive in Tucson. He opened a store in Tucson, which would become the new base of operations for his mercantile company. Hayden was among the first non-native settlers in the old Mexican village, which had a population of about 500. His freighting business quickly grew to become one of the largest commercial enterprises in the Arizona Territory. Hayden’s wagons were loaded with goods at the ports of San Diego, San Francisco, and Guaymas, Sonora; at Fort Yuma, where supplies were brought up the Colorado River by steamboat; and at supply points on the old trade routes to Missouri and Arkansas. Within five years, the Tucson-based C.T. Hayden Company was supplying food, livestock feed, lumber, and all types of goods to dozens of mining camps and army forts throughout the Arizona Territory.


bottom of page