Following the establishment of Fort McDowell on the eastern edge of central Arizona’s Salt River Valley in 1865, enterprising farmers moved into the area. They dug out the irrigation canals left by the prehistoric Hohokam people and built new ones to carry Salt River water to their fields. Valley farms soon supplied food to Arizona’s military posts and mining towns.
The first settlers to move to the Tempe area, south of the Salt River and east of Phoenix, were Hispanic families from southern Arizona. They helped construct the first two irrigation canals, the Kirkland-McKinney Ditch and the San Francisco Canal, and started small farms to the east and west of a large butte (Tempe Butte). In 1872, some of these Mexican settlers founded a town called San Pablo east of Tempe Butte.
Tempe is well known nationally as the home of the Fiesta Bowl and the Arizona Cardinals. It is the seventh largest city in Arizona, with a strong modern economy based on commerce, tourism, and electronics manufacturing.