Monday, August 20, 2007

Arizona State University Historic Properties

Arizona State University was established in 1885 as a teachers college on twenty acres of a former cow pasture donated by local residences. It became Arizona State College in 1945 and Arizona State University in 1958. Throughout the twentieth century, the university’s life was symbiotic to the history of Tempe and the State of Arizona. This legacy is reflected in the varying styles of architecture located on and around the Tempe campus.

In 2003, Ryden Architects conducted a study of historic preservation policy and procedures on ASU-owned historic properties. The Ryden report states that ASU is in disagreement with the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) as to the National Register of Historic Places eligibility of over a dozen historic buildings in their possession. Four of the buildings mentioned in the report have already been demolished.

With the precedence set for demolition of historic structures that the university does not see as historic, whether lawfully or otherwise, the following properties on or adjacent to the Tempe campus are at risk (National Register properties astericked): Harrington/Birchett House (1895); Industrial Arts/Anthropology Building (1914)*; Matthews Hall (1925)*; Men's Gymnasium (1927); and Matthews Library (1930); B.B. Moeur Activity Building (1939)*; Center for Family Studies (1939); Irish Hall (1940); Lyceum Theater (1940); West Hall (1940); Dixie Gammage Hall (1941); Science/Agriculture Building (1948).

[For more information, contact Joe Nucci, historic preservation officer, City of Tempe, at 480-350-8870 or e-mail. Photo source of West Hall: Vince Murray.]

February 2008 Update: