Group wants Tempe Butte desginated as historic

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TEMPE -- The Tempe Historic Preservation Commission is looking to designate Tempe Butte as an historic location. They've made that recommendation to the city council.

Designation will raise community awareness

Known as "A Mountain," the big desert hill overlooks Sun Devil Stadium. The area is already a city park with trails that thousands of people hike every year.

In addition, university students go up the mountain every year to paint the huge concrete "A" that gave the butte its nickname.

The Tempe Historic Preservation Commission's chairman said all of that traffic and activity have left their marks on the butte.

In 1869, Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden went to the top of Tempe Butte and looked out over the Salt River Valley, which was still largely deserted. That's when he decided the area would be a good place to call home.

Going back even further, the Hohokam Indians lived on the butte between 500 and 1450 A.D. until their mysterious disappearance. They left behind hundreds of petroglyphs on the rocks there. Designating the butte as historic might help save those writings.

Naming a site does not guarantee protection, said Historic Preservation Officer Joe Nucci. It does, however, focus the community's attention on the area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.