The Cottonwoods— Tempe, Arizona

Before it was The Cottonwoods, the ground at the southwest corner of Price and Guadalupe roads in Tempe was a cotton farm and maybe a turkey farm. Before that, it was the home of the Ancestral O’Odham people of the Salt River Valley.

I moved away from the East Valley in 1978, and moved back in 2021, buying a townhome in The Cottonwoods. On a visit to the Tempe History Museum one afternoon, I saw a picture of the old cottonwood trees along Price Road, at what had been the Cottrell farm. I asked the archivist if the museum had more information, and most of what I’ve posted here is the result of that collaboration. Thank you, archivist Jared Smith of the museum.

This site is my hobby. I do not represent the community in any official capacity, but I do live there. I’m interested in adding oral or written histories from current or past residents and owners. With 68 units, the stories abound.

The Beginning. The city of Tempe has acknowledged the ancestral peoples of this land via Resolution No. R2021.08. It says, in part: We wish to acknowledge that Tempe is the homeland of the Native people who have inhabited this landscape since time immemorial. Anthropological studies document large and advanced Ancestral O’Odham settlements located throughout the entirety of present-day Tempe and recognize the ancestral lands of the O’Odham (known as the Pima), Piipaash (known as the Maricopa), and their ancestors as extending far beyond our community.

1900s. Farming included Pima cotton.

1986. The Cottonwoods of Anozira offering booklet describes the planned community, designed by architect Adolf deRoy Mark. Landscape architect was A. Wayne Smith and Associates. The PDF of that booklet follows.