Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum

 

welcomes you to historic Bullion Plaza School!

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 those days.

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 and Germany’s Adolph Hitler.

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 front steps.

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 Amber Yocum.

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 Plaza Cultural 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.

We 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.

The Museum is currently OPEN
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm
OR by appointment.

The Museum is a proud member of the
Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bullion Plaza School and Dance Plaza, circa 1927, Miami, Arizona

 

Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum
PO Box 786
Miami, AZ 85539

Phone 928-473-3700

Open Friday & Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm & by appointment

Copyright 2003-2006 Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum
All Rights & All Media Reserved, No Parts Should Be Copied or Reproduced Without Our Permission
This page was created and is maintained by
Kathe Quinn, volunteer web mistress.