Mormon Mesa

Tour curated by: Stephen G. Williams

Since the first group of Mormon Pioneers arrived in fifteen wagons in 1877 to found the city of Mesa, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have worked to build and strengthen their community. Over the years Mesa has become home to hundreds of thousands from all walks of life. This is a tour of some sites significant to both the LDS community and the founding of Mesa.

Locations for Tour

Religion and railroads played a prominent role in the settlement of Mesa. Mormons played a prominent role in settling multiple communities that grew together into Mesa, including the Lehi & Stringtown communities. The presence of a Church of…

Prior to the construction of the Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), church members wishing to marry in a temple were required to make the grueling journey on the “Honeymoon Trail.” The trail was…

The Temple is decorated on its corners with frieze panels that depict Latter-day Saint beliefs about the gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth as prophesied by Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible. A.B. Wright crafted the…

The first visitors’ center for the Mesa Temple consisted of a small table and literature racks set up at the temple’s west entrance in the late 1940s. This set-up was soon found to be inadequate and a permanent structure, the Bureau of…

The Phoenix Suns played their inaugural NBA season in 1968-1969. Prior to the start of the season, the Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers played a series of exhibition games around the state to generate publicity for the team. On October 1, 1968 the…

The intersection of Main and Center street has been at the heart of Mesa's history for over a century. Now home to the Mesa Arts Center, conceived Mesa's firs shopping center was built in 1908 by A.J. Chandler on the corner of Main and…

The Vance Auditorium was built in 1904 by John Thomas Vance. People all around Mesa came to the dances. At the time of its construction, it was the biggest auditorium in the southwest. In 1919, Vance sold the building to the Maricopa Stake of The…

Citrus played a prominent role in Mesa's history. Along the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks near Creamery Road (present-day Broadway) sat a packing house for citrus. C.H. McKellips' plant washed and waxed citrus fruit before it shipped across the…

Settled by Mormon pioneers in 1880, “Stringtown” emerged as one of Mesa's earliest settlements-a linear district running south for a couple of miles along present-day Alma School Road.   Settlers dug an extension of the Mesa Canal canal…
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