Friday, November 17, 2006

Original foundation of Tempe's Hayden Flour Mill found

[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] -- The past and future of the Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe collided Thursday as archaeologists announced that they’d found the original foundation of the mill and a developer revealed plans to restore the historic building. The activities made for one of the best days for the mill after nearly a decade of bad developments — the mill’s 1998 closing, a fire that destroyed part of the structure and a nasty legal battle between the city and a developer.

Now Tempe’s biggest downtown developer, Avenue Communities, is planning a $500 million project that would restore the mill and add shops, restaurants, and condos. The Phoenix-based company, which also is building the 30-story Centerpoint Condominiums downtown, intends to do the mill restoration and construct some of the new buildings next year. Before that starts, archaeologists are finishing what could be the last chance to scour the site before new buildings make future exploration impossible.

And they dug up more than expected. One big find was a crude rock and concrete foundation from the original adobe mill, built in 1874. It had been assumed the current building was on top of the old one and would have forever hidden clues about one of Tempe’s first buildings. But the foundation was just a bit north of the current mill. “We were surprised to find that there,” said Bob Stokes, a principal investigator with Tempe-based Archaeological Consulting Services.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of excavators examining canal by Leigh Shelle Robertus, East Valley Tribune.]