welcomes you to historic Bullion Plaza
Bullion Plaza was opened as a grammar school in 1923.
It now houses the Bullion Plaza Cultural
Center and Museum.
The main two story-building
contains over 20 classrooms and a small theater-auditorium. Bullion is an
excellent example of neoclassical architecture reflecting pride and
commitment to public education and is listed in the National Register of
Historic Places. It was constructed with lightly reinforced, cast-in-place
concrete and plaster exterior walls, wood frame first and second floors and
a wood frame roof. Interior walls are typically plaster
on wood frame. The foundation consists of continuous spread wall footings
and isolated pier footings. The construction methods and materials are
typical for structures of this age and type.
Bullion Plaza served as a grammar school from 1923 to
1994 when it was closed because of concern that it had fallen into a state
of disrepair making it unsuitable for use as a public school.
Bullion was operated most of
its lifetime as the town’s "Mexican" school reflecting the
segregation pattern which prevailed in many Arizona communities including the public
school system. Bullion was desegregated during the 1950-51 school year and
began integrating Anglo students into Bullion Plaza.
During its segregated years,
the teaching staff consisted only of Anglo teachers. These teachers
uniformly reflected an almost missionary sense of devotion to the students.
High academic standards and expectations plus strict discipline were the
rule of the day. A system of physical punishment was used on students who
would forget the "English only" rule. A trip to the principal’s
office where the paddling was administered for speaking Spanish and for
other infractions was something the students tried to avoid at all costs in
Loyalty to the school and pride
in its history remain characteristic hallmarks of its graduates despite the
school’s rigid segregation culture.
During World War II the main
lobby was occupied by a booth set up by the students where they would
eagerly sell "defense stamps". The volume of defense stamps sold
was reflected by stamps pasted over giant-sized posters of Japan’s leader Tojo
Patriotic competition was
generated by students’ efforts at covering up those faces with
purchases of defense stamps to help the war effort. During those years
graduation night would bring out a large number of the town’s
residents to share the excitement of the students and their proud parents.
The town’s officials would cooperate by putting up road barriers to
close off the street fronting the school from car traffic. Folding chairs
would fill the street and the overflow crowds would sit along the curbside
to witness the graduation ceremonies that were held on the school’s
While the classrooms have been
slightly modified from the original design, the building remains essentially
unchanged. A favorite of former student visitors is the Library Room which
still contains a colorful mural painted in the late 1930’s by grammar
school students Alice Mendez and "Canuto"
Hernandez under the watchful guidance of Librarian and art instructor Miss
In 1997 the Town of Miami purchased the
school from the school district and committed to using it as a cultural
center and museum. Since then volunteers have worked to transform the
School into the Bullion
Center and Museum.
The Museum is still in the early stages of development and planning.
Long range plans call for the
ground floor to be used to tell the history of the region with five
galleries and a workshop.
The second floor is expected to
focus primarily on the diverse ethnic heritage of our area with twelve
exhibit galleries and a theater that would bring together the stories of
the people, places and events of Miami-Globe history.
The cavernous basement area
will eventually be used to depict a mining experience dealing in the
region’s mining history, including educational hands-on activities.
Initial planning and design
work has already been largely completed. The Museum’s Board of
Directors and members are always seeking to identify financial and other resources
with which to operate and plan for future expansion. The Directors welcome
inquiries and offers of in-kind or financial donations contributed to our
nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c) (3) Museum.
invite you to visit at your leisure and enjoy our Museum’s
interesting collection of artifacts and memorabilia reflecting the rich
cultural diversity, mining and ranching history of our region.
Museum is currently OPEN
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm
OR by appointment.