Tempe Beach Park, like Tempe it has had a long and storied history. It has changed, adapted and arguably readapted to its environment, each time achieving a greater level of success than the time before.
Tempe Beach Park has been the main gathering place for Valley residents and visitors since its development in the early 1920’s. At its earliest stages, the major attraction at Tempe Beach Park was Arizona’s first Olympic-sized pool, built in 1923. The pool hosted two women’s national championship swim meets in the 1930s, and provided much-needed refreshment for local families. Even through the dark days of the Great Depression, Tempe Beach Park remained the Valley’s most popular recreational venue, expanding to include a baseball diamond, a cobblestone bathhouse and bleachers. Later in 1934, the new concept of an open-air movie theater came to Tempe Beach.
Many Tempeans recall Tempe Beach Park with fond memories. Former city councilmember and McKemy Middle School principal Joe Spracale was both a lifeguard and pool manager at the Tempe Beach Pool. It was there where he met his future bride to be Sandy Palmer, daughter of Vic Palmer who served at Tempe’s first Parks and Recreation Department Director. Former City Councilmember Pat Hatton also found true love through Tempe Beach where she and husband Roger first kindled their romance.
And who can forget the years of use of the Little League baseball diamond where Wallace and Ladmo coached Tempe summer ball teams giving guidance, discipline and inspiration to youth such as news anchor Bill Mosely, APS CEO Bill Post and City Councilmember Ben Arredondo. For those who grew up with Tempe in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s Tempe Beach was the place to go and be seen.
While there have been renovations to Tempe Beach Park over the years, the most recent came in 1999 with the construction of Tempe Town Lake. Tempe Beach Park is still one of the top recreational attractions in Arizona and the centerpiece to our Tempe community. The 25-acre park is the perfect setting for outdoor fun and relaxation for everybody, offering more than five miles of paths and exercise trails, picnic areas, ramadas, Luis Gonzalez Arizona Diamondbacks Field of Dreams baseball diamond and the Cox Splash Playground. Tempe Beach Park also hosts over 75 events of all shapes and sizes each year, including the Ford Ironman Arizona, PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Fourth of July celebration, Circle K Tempe Music Festival, Way Out West Oktoberfest and many, many others.
Tempe Beach Park is the crown jewel in a parks system that is the envy of cities and town throughout the state and country.