Brown/Strong House

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Location: 604 S. Ash Avenue
Survey Number: HPS-119
Year Built: 1883
Architectural Style: Neo-Colonial

A: SUMMARY
The 1883 Neo-Colonial/Georgian Revival style Brown/Strong House is significant for its association with Samuel Brown, a former Mayor of Tempe; with William Strong, a territorial rancher; and as a rare surviving example of one of Tempe's earliest homes.

B: PERSONS
This large Territorial style house was originally built as a small flat-roofed adobe home for Samuel Brown in 1883. Brown was a blacksmith who served as a member of the Territorial Legislature, Mayor of Tempe, and long-time President of the Alianza Hispano-Americana, an early civil rights organization.

Samuel Brown was a blacksmith who came to Tempe in 1878 and started working for Charles T. Hayden. By 1883, he opened his own blacksmith shop at 6th Street and Mill, along with a partner named White and later had a partnership with Alejandro Moraga, with a shop at 7th Street and Ash Avenue. He also operated a saloon. Brown was actively involved in local and territorial politics and was elected to the 20th Territorial Legislature. He then served two terms on the Tempe Town Council, from 1898 to 1904, and was Mayor of Tempe, 1902-1903. On May 4, 1903, he resigned as Mayor to take the position of Town Marshal, tax collector, and supervisor of streets until 1912. Brown was also on the Board of Trustees for both the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District.

Samuel Brown was also an important Mexican-American leader. In 1897, he helped organize Lodge No. 5 of the Alianza Hispano-Americana (Spanish-American Alliance). This organization helped protect the legal rights of Hispanic people throughout the Southwest, and fought against segregation and racial discrimination. Samuel Brown served as Supreme President of the Tucson-based Alianza Hispano-Americana for 26 years, from 1902 to 1927.

C: ARCHITECTURE
The Brown/Strong House is a rare surviving example of Tempe's earliest homes. The house is representative of the Georgian Revival and Southern Colonial styles of architecture that were popular in Arizona around the turn of the century. Its design combines regional, vernacular material, adobe, with the high-style massing and detailing of Eastlake Victorian. William H. Strong purchased the property in 1901 and expanded the house, using brick and "high-style" detailing to create the present Neo-Colonial/Georgian Revival appearance, complete with wrap-around veranda and simulated "widow's walk." The surrounding screened veranda and thick, insulating adobe walls demonstrate passive solar design strategies used in the arid southwest during the 19th century.

SOURCES
Tempe History Museum Historic Property Survey: HPS-119 Brown/Strong House

Tempe History Museum Biographical File: Samuel Brown (1852-c1929)

Tempe Historical Museum Research Library. See the File Contents for HPS-119

Tempe Community Development Department Three Decades of Development