Tempe Hardware Building

 

Survey Number: HPS-244
Year Built: 1898
Architectural Style: Panel Brick Commercial

THEME / CONTEXT
The Tempe Hardware Building is associated with the context of Commerce/Tourism. It falls under the theme of retail development - retail store.

HISTORIC ASSOCIATION
The Tempe Hardware Building was originally built as the Odd Fellows Hall in 1899. The building has also served as home to a variety of fraternal organizations, churches and civic groups, in addition to a number of businesses. The Tempe Town Council met in the building, prior to construction of the first Town Hall in 1924. The Tempe Hardware Co. occupied the ground floor from 1906 until it closed in 1976, making it one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in Tempe history.

ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION
Designed by well-known territorial architect James Creighton, the 3-story, 14,000 square-foot, unreinforced brick structure is notable for its detailed Victorian territorial "panel brick commercial" façade with Neo-Classical elements and a second floor ballroom, and as the oldest 3-story brick commercial building in Maricopa County. The central bay features a semi-circular cut-stone arch supported on stone piers (inspiration for the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission logo).

Rehabilitation completed in 1982 restored the original stairwell, wainscoting and windows were and modern elements treated in a contemporary fashion. The building now houses retail shops on the first floor, a salon and gallery on the second (in the former meeting hall/ballroom space) and offices on the third.

SUMMARY
The Tempe Hardware Building, constructed in 1898, is the oldest remaining three-story brick commercial building from the Territorial period in Maricopa County. It was an important focus of the commercial, social, political and religious life of Tempe in the early twentieth century. The cornerstone of the Odd Fellows Building was laid with great ceremony on April 14, 1898. The Odd Fellows, and other fraternal organizations, were a favored method of community fellowship in Tempe, and both men and women often belonged to several groups at once. The ballroom in the new building was used by the Masonic Lodge, Pythian Sisters, American Legion, Rotary Club, Good Templars, and many other social groups. The ballroom and its weekly dances became central to the early social life of the community. The building was also used for political meetings and speeches, and its many rooms had served as Tempe City Council chambers, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and headquarters for the Salt River Valley Water Users Association. The first businesses to occupy the ground floor of the building were short-lived hardware companies, but in 1906, M. E. Curry, George L. Compton, and B. B. Moeur formed the Tempe Hardware Company, which occupied the building for more than 70 years. The business closed in 1976, making it one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in Tempe history. The building was rehabilitated in 1982, and has since been occupied by various offices and commercial retail businesses.

The Tempe Hardware Building is a three-story brick structure, rectangular in plan, with the main facade facing on Mill Avenue. The façade is divided into three bays with a continuous brick cornice across the top. The north and south edges of the façade are articulated with brick pilasters on the upper stories and stone on the ground level. The central bay features a semicircular cut stone arch supported on stone piers. Brick rises from the springline of the arch with paired, arched, double-hung windows on the second and third floors. A long, low segmental arch of rusticated bricks tops the central bay. Original double entry doors no longer remain, but the original transom light frame is intact. The remaining north and south bays are identical and recessed. There is a storefront on each ground level bay; the original wood and glass elements have been replaced with aluminum and brick. Original elements on the second and third floors consist of smooth brick wall planes, rusticated brick band courses at the sill lines, triplicate double-hung windows with rusticated brick flat arches on the second floor and round arched double-hung windows with rusticated brick on the third floor. Internally the ground floor is divided into two 21-foot bays with a six-foot bay to the north occupied by the second floor stairway. The second floor consists of an office area and the two-story I00F Hall or ballroom. The third floor has several offices. Many changes had been made to the Tempe Hardware Building through the years, but the original appearance of the building was restored in 1982.

The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

SOURCES
Staff Report to the Historic Preservation Commission May 3, 2001 by Eric M. Hansen

Tempe 1997 Multiple Resource Area Update

LINKS
National Register Nomination Update : : Draft prepared by Rebecca Andersen 03/08/2011

Tempe Historic Property Survey HPS-244 Tempe Hardware Building 

Tempe Redevelopment Guide: Three Decades of Development  

Staff Report to Historic Preservation Commission :: 05/03/2001