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  • Writer's pictureBob Graham

Hayden House (Monti's La Case Vieja) - Part III The Hayden Family in Tempe

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

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

The Hayden Family in Tempe

Charles T. Hayden married Sallie Calvert Davis in Nevada City, California, on October 4, 1876. After the wedding they traveled to San Bernardino by railroad, and continued the journey to Hayden’s Ferry on one of Hayden’s wagons. On October 2, 1877, the Haydens’ first child, Carl, was born. Three daughters—Sara, Mary, and Annie—soon followed. Annie tragically died in 1885 and was buried in the garden at the Hayden House. Charles Hayden went to great lengths to provide a comfortable life for his family, and the Hayden House featured the first wood floor and the first Bermuda grass lawn in the Salt River Valley. However, things were rapidly changing in the rustic frontier settlement. With the completion of the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad, a spur line from Southern Pacific station at Maricopa, there was direct rail service to Tempe and Phoenix. With the arrival of the first train in 1887, investors who had financed the railroad formed the Tempe Land and Improvement Company to develop and promote a modern town site at Tempe. They bought 305 acres from Charles Hayden and another 400 acres of lands to the south from others. The Tempe townsite was surveyed, and blocks, lots, and streets were laid out. This immediately started a construction boom. New homes and businesses were being built within a month, and property values started rising. Charles Hayden had one of the largest businesses in the Arizona Territory, but by the 1880s he experienced several financial setbacks. The cost of building the flour mill and the rapid expansion of other operations had a considerable impact on his assets. Competition came from the proliferation of rail lines and the opening of new mercantile firms. From late 1883 to early 1885 at least 21 lawsuits were filed against Hayden, mostly by California firms that had provided a large volume of manufactured goods on credit. Wealthy local farmers Michael Wormser and Neils Petersen offered Hayden financial assistance and took over some of his business operations until they were repaid.

Hayden also consolidated debts with mortgages on his large landholdings. In 1887 he was able to make a payment of $20,000 to Alexander Davis of St. Louis, Missouri, for a partial release of mortgage so that he could sell some properties without restriction and raise enough money to settle his remaining debt. Five years later he paid Davis the balance of $30,000.

House with second story additions, c.1900 (Tempe Historical Museum)

House with second story additions, c.1904 (Tempe Historical Museum)

In 1891 the Arizona Daily Star estimated Charles Hayden’s net assets to be $150,000; however, many disastrous events outside his control continued to plague his business for another decade. In the late 1880s the Arizona Canal Company built a massive new canal to consolidate all irrigation systems on the north side of the river and open new farmland farther north. This caused a considerable drop in the flow of the Salt River downstream, and due to the decreasing amount of water flowing into the Tempe Canal, Hayden was required to cut mill operations down to just two days per week. In 1888 Hayden filed suit against the operators of the Arizona Canal, claiming that he was entitled to use enough water to operate his mill but the upstream appropriation denied his prior right to the river water. Hayden’s action was one of many demanding clarification of vaguely defined water rights in the Salt River Valley. Judge Joseph H. Kibbey, of the U.S. District Court’s 2nd Judicial District, consolidated Hayden’s complaint, Charles T. Hayden vs. Arizona Canal Company, et al., with other similar cases under the name Wormser, et al. vs. Salt River Valley Canal Company, et al. In 1892 Kibbey decided the case in favor of the earliest water users, concluding that Hayden, the Tempe farmers, and other early water users had priority rights to the Salt River.

This case was followed by very destructive floods that hit the Salt River Valley in 1890 and 1891, washing away farmlands and homes. This was followed by the Panic of 1893, which precipitated a devastating national depression through the mid-1890s. Apparently Hayden was too quick to forgive debts owed to him by local farmers, contributing to his losses. Joseph A. Ford of the San Francisco firm of Murphy, Grant & Company took over management of Hayden’s store on two different occasions but Hayden always managed to repay his debts and hold on to his most important properties.

Hayden House c. 1900

The Hayden family lived in the house on Mill Avenue through the 1870s and 1880s, but the Tempe Land and Improvement Company’s aggressive promotion of the town site brought new residents and the construction of new homes and stores started crowding the house and grounds. In 1889 the Hayden family moved to a spacious 80-acre ranch two miles east of town, but Charles Hayden continued to live at the old house most of the time to be near his commercial operations. Sallie Hayden acquired a cash entry patent for the north half of the northwest quarter of Section 24, Township 1 North, Range 4 East, in 1894. After the family moved out of the old Hayden House it was used as a boarding house, with most of the tenants being employees of the C.T. Hayden Company. Hayden family members occasionally returned to live at the old Hayden House for brief periods of time. Initially, the family planned to turn the building into a hotel known as Hayden’s Lodging House or Hotel Hayden.

In ca.1893 a second story addition was built across the full length of the north wing. As late as 1897 there was still optimism that the building would be a successful hotel: Mrs. E.N. Durley, late of Wichita, Kansas, has taken charge of Hayden House, which is undergoing many improvements. The location and arrangements of Hayden House make it particularly desirable place for people coming here to spend the winter and for Normal School students. It is quiet and homelike and is altogether the most desirable place in town. However, by the early 1900s Hotel Hayden never had more than a handful of boarders, and the physical condition of the structure declined through the beginning of the 20th century.

Charles Trumbull Hayden died on February 5, 1900, just before his 75th birthday. He was mourned as one of the last true pioneers of Arizona. He had a reputation as an honest and generous businessman, and was greatly respected for his contributions to Tempe and Arizona. Hayden was the primary employer for Tempe’s Mexican-American community, where he was known as “Don Carlos.” He extended credit and support to the first Mormon settlers who founded Mesa, and he was an outspoken defender of the Pimas and Maricopas at a time when there was bitter hostility toward any Native Americans in the valley. He had served as Probate Judge during his time in Tucson and as a County Supervisor for Maricopa County in the 1880s. Hayden also worked successfully for the es- tablishment of the Territorial Normal School in Tempe, which has grown to become Arizona State University. At the time of his passing, Tempe was entering a new era at the turn of the century.

Room in which Charles T. Hayden reputedly died, c. 1900

His son Carl Hayden had served as secretary of the C.T. Hayden Company, and though his father had discussed future plans for the company with him, Carl’s ambitions were not as a merchant. After his father’s death he returned to Tempe from Stanford University and reluctantly took charge of the family business. As one of his first significant changes, Carl Hayden had the first electric lights installed in the flour mill, store, and hotel. However, his primary concern was to be- gin liquidating the company assets. Carl Hayden joined John S. Armstrong’s Arizona Mercantile Company as secretary. He transferred his father’s inventory to the partnership in 1901 and closed the C.T. Hayden Store. The Hayden Flour Mill was leased to Alfred J. Peters, who had helped manage his father’s businesses for more than 20 years. The Hayden House, which was occupied by employees of both the mill and the Arizona Mercantile Company, was managed by Mrs. E.A. Hackett.

Charles Hayden’s widow, Sallie D. Hayden, died in 1907. The distribution of the estate to her three surviving children in 1910 gave Carl, Sara, and Mary each a one-third interest in the remaining properties. The Hayden siblings initially did nothing with these properties. Carl was busy pursuing a career in government; Sara (who now went by the name Sallie) was a student at the Tempe Normal School and later at Stanford University; and Mary married Larry McEllherren and devoted her time to raising a family. They sold the family ranch east of Tempe, but the neglected old Hayden House on Mill Avenue served as a low-rent tenement house for the next 10 years.

Carl Hayden

Charles and Sallie Hayden’s son, Carl Trumbull Hayden, also was a very prominent figure in Arizona history. He was born in the room in the northeast corner of Charles Hayden House on October 2, 1877, and lived there until the family moved to their ranch east of town in 1889. Carl Hayden graduated from the Territorial Normal School in Tempe in 1896 and attended Stanford University, 1896–1900. He returned home when his father died in 1900 and became president and general manager of the C. T. Hayden Company, but he sold or leased all remaining business interests by 1904. Carl Hayden’s primary ambition was in politics.

He was elected to the Tempe Town Council in 1902 and was a delegate from Arizona to the Democratic National Convention in 1904. He served as Maricopa County treasurer, 1905–06, and Maricopa County sheriff, 1907–12. There was one particular incident during his tenure as sheriff that he became widely known for in Arizona. On May 11, 1910 armed men robbed a train in Tempe and fled on horseback. Hayden borrowed one of the few automobiles in town, chased the robbers down, and arrested them. He married Nan Downing in 1908 and moved from the Hayden ranch near Tempe to Phoenix.

When Arizona was granted statehood in 1912, Carl Hayden was elected as Arizona’s first representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served in the House for 14 years and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1926, where he served until 1969. During his long congressional career he was a strong advocate for federal funding for high- ways and reclamation projects, two areas that were of great importance for the development of Arizona. He served 56 years in Congress, which at the time of his retirement was the longest that anyone had ever served. He died on January 25, 1972. As his birthplace and childhood home, the Hayden House is the one site most closely associated with the life of Senator Carl Hayden.


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