In Tempe, a Mayer-Osborn elevator complements the historic Hayden Mill

Story and Photos by Ronald Ahrens

Tempe, Ariz.–Ensconced amid sleek office buildings on South Mill Avenue here, the Hayden Flour Mill represents the very origin of this city now best known as the home of Arizona State University.

Charles Trumbull Hayden’s mill was built of adobe in 1874, burned in 1917, and rebuilt in concrete in the following year. In 1951, Mayer-Osborn constructed the elevator beside it, looking up to Hayden Butte, which is famous as the freeloader’s vantage point for watching football games in Sun Devil Stadium to the east.

The mill and elevator fell into disuse in the 1980s.

plan announced in 2011 (with implementation already overdue) calls for the mill building to get a coat of paint and a lawn as the first step in a redevelopment effort.

The elevator could use some new glass while they’re at it. And wouldn’t it be interesting if the lettering on the west side of the seven silos were restored?

I was in Scottsdale last weekend for the Barrett-Jackson auction and made a run down to Tempe on Saturday morning. It was impossible to make out the second name in faded paint on that west side. Is it Hayden Elbup Mills?

At any rate, this is a handsome elevator.

With a little thought–designers, awaken!–it could be an interesting complement to the surroundings.

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