This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Crossing the Salt River to and from Tempe before 1913


In 1913, a bridge for cars was built over the Salt River to and from Tempe, Arizona. Before that, you had other choices. You could have crossed at Central after 1911, you could have gone across on the railroad, going back to 1887, or you could have walked across the river when it was low (and many people did), or you could have paid someone, like Charles Hayden to ferry you across in a boat.

Let's time travel back to 1895 and take a ferry across the Salt River. It'll be another eighteen years until the Ash Avenue Bridge will be built, and we're not about to pay freight charges to take a train. It's winter, and the water is high, but it's flowing slowly, so we'll be fine. The horses are a bit nervous, but then again, they always are. I'll just sit here in the buggy and relax. I guess the women folk can stand in back.

1878 ad for Hayden's Ferry, Tempe, Arizona.

I was talking to Charles Hayden, over at his store near the mill, and he's convinced that there's a bright future for Tempe. He tells me that some day the Normal School there will be a University, and it will attract students who will probably enjoy watching that great American game, "foot ball".

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Looks like we're almost to the other bank. That didn't didn't take very long! OK, everyone off, and I'll drive the team off the ferry boat. We'll be in Phoenix in no time, all we need to do is to follow the Tempe Road. This will be a whole lot easier once they get that bridge built!

The Ash Avenue Bridge nearing completion in 1913, Tempe, Arizona.


Image at the top of the post: Hayden's Ferry in 1895, on the Salt River, Tempe, Arizona.