Guadalupe is a Yaqui Indian and Mexican community
between Phoenix and Tempe at the base of South Mountain. The
town proudly maintains a strong cultural and ethnic identity. It is
named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
Guadalupe was founded by Yaqui Indians around the turn of
the century. The Yaquis had fled their traditional homeland along
the Yaqui River in Sonora to avoid persecution and enslavement by
the Mexican government under Porforio Diaz. Many Yaquis entered
Arizona and several villages were established. Over the years many
Mexican families also located in Guadalupe.
The Town of Guadalupe was incorporated in 1975 and is
approximately one square mile in area. It will remain this size since it
is “surrounded” by man-made boundaries: Interstate 10 and the
City of Phoenix on the west; Baseline Road and the City of Tempe
on the north; the City of Tempe on the south; and by the Salt River
Project’s Highline Canal on the east.
Guadalupe is primarily a residential community with retail and
service businesses catering to both locals and visitors. The community
has two commercial districts. Along Baseline Road and I-10 are
several restaurants and hotels, which generate significant revenue.
Along Guadalupe’s “main street,” Avenida Del Yaqui is another
commercial area, which caters primarily to local and pedestrian traffic.
It is here that in 1983, El Tianguis, a bright blue Mexican-style
shopping square opened with restaurants and shops offering products
from south of the border. A mix of manufacturing and service work
accounts for about 50 percent of local employment. Agricultural work
ranks third in importance, employing about 15 percent of the population.
Most residents of Guadalupe commute to jobs in Phoenix or Tempe.
Guadalupe has a large open area in the center of town. This
traditional plaza is bordered by Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
and the Yaqui Temple (El Templo). Both buildings have historic significance.
Each Easter season Yaqui ceremonial rites are held in the plaza.
The rites blend traditional Indian beliefs with Christian teachings.
These rituals are an ancient and sacred obligation of the participants
and date back some 300 years. Although not performed for tourists,
respectful visitors are welcome to observe. It is illegal to take photographs.
Nearby attractions, include South Mountain Park and Papago
Park with its zoo and botanical gardens. Arizona State University
offers a variety of activities including sports (the NFL Cardinals play
there), music, theater, and museums. South of Guadalupe is Firebird
Lake with powerboat races.
The Phoenix metro area has professional football, hockey, basketball, and baseball; classical music, ballet, and opera; museums;
and all forms of popular entertainment.