08. Elliot Road

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    Elliot Road runs east/west through Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler. The Elliot family’s time in Arizona began with Reginald C. Elliot. Reginald was from California, born in 1888. He married Marie Emma Stewart and the couple had two children, Helen and Hazel. Hazel married Thomas Owens, whose mother was Edith Mae Warner. Helen wed as well, taking the last name Polingo. In Furlong’s book, Hazel remembers having a sewing bee one summer and making a quilt. Reginald died in 1922, and Marie Emma married Harry Allen Hazard. She lived in the Elliot House at 1010 S. Maple in Tempe from July 1929 until at least 1940. Marie Emma died in 1978.


    The family homesteaded in the Kyrene area. In 1919, the Elliot’s owned 120 acres of land near the southeast corner of Elliot Road and Kyrene Road. When Reginald died, the land became Marie Emma’s, and in 1923, she owned eight acres of land at Priest Road and Elliot Road. At that time, Kyrene residents had just built the new Kyrene School. It consisted of four concrete cottages and totaled $25,000. There was a large playground, and at first there wasn’t any grass. Beth Collier Dipple remembers that there was a picnic on the last day of school, and then the students would plant grass. The schoolyard was flooded and everyone would go down by the canal and dig up the Bermuda grass, bring it back and plant it. By 1920, the practice of separating Mexican-American students from other children during the first three years was implemented. For the rest of the decade, the primary way to make a living in Kyrene was through farming, and electricity became more common. This meant the introduction of more telephones, with the first service being party lines. There were eight to ten families per party line. The first female member of the Board was elected in the 1920s, Minnie B. Old. She served for three years, and later became Chandler’s first public librarian.


    In 1926, Marie Emma Elliot still owned the family ranch, and increased its size. Three years later, she owned the parcel near Kyrene Road and Elliot Road, but one of her daughters owned the land at Elliot Road and Priest Road. Both of these plots were valuable farmland because they were bisected by canals. The Highline Canal of the South Branch goes through the Priest acreage, while the Kyrene Branch of the Western Canal goes through the parcel on Kyrene Road. The Arizona Eastern Railroad line runs through the corner of the land at Kyrene Road. The section of railway that ran through the property was known as Hansen’s Spur.


    About seven miles west of town, the Kyrene-Hansen spur from the Maricopa and Salt River Valley Railroad had been established in 1905, which ran from the town of Maricopa into Tempe. The Kyrene-Hansen spur ran from the main railroad that went from Maricopa to Tempe into the town site of Kyrene, located near today’s Kyrene and Warner Roads. In Kyrene, which was almost nothing but desert and sagebrush, there was a cotton gin and melon fields on the A.J. Hansen ranch. In 1921, the small train depot near Kyrene was re-named West Chandler. Six years later, melon shipments began to dwindle, and the tracks for this spur were removed in 1935.


    During the 1930s, farmers switched to crops and livestock that were basic food sources. Thomas Owens, who was related to both the Elliot and Warner families, remembers that his family “…grew a lot of pigs. We fed them on grain which we raised and ground ourselves.” Children’s help on the family farm was important, and during this time, the eighth grade was widely considered the end of one’s formal education.

    By Melanie Hartmann

     

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