Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

Why ASU was called a Normal School when it first began in 1885

As an ASU grad, and someone who is interested in history, I have to admit that the first time I saw the school called “Tempe Normal School”, I thought it was pretty funny. When I went there, it wasn't normal, and I can't imagine that is nowadays.


Anyway, a Normal School is just the old-fashioned name for a school that specialized in teaching teachers, that is, a Teacher's College, which what the name of the school became in 1926, and in 1958 it became Arizona State University.

By the way, in case anyone asks you, and I doubt that they will, the original name of the team was the Normals. That's why the football players in the photo at the top of this post have an "N" on their jerseys. Then when the school changed its name to the Tempe State Teacher's College, it was the Bulldogs. Then in 1946, they became the Sun Devils, and the cartoon character that we know now was created by an ex-Disney cartoonist named Berk Antony.

Berk Antony and "Sparky"

So there you go. I am proud of being a Sun Devil, as I would have been of being a Bulldog, or being a Normal. Although I have to admit I like the sound of Sun Devil best!

Go Devils!

Support Arizona history by becoming a patron on Patreon

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring blog posts are shared there daily, also there's "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, and super high-resolution photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona