Blog Archives

Phoenix’s 1922 Memorial Hall renovated and reopened

[Source: Nicole McGregor, 12 News Today] — An historic part of Phoenix opens to the public this week.  Memorial Hall was part of the Phoenix Indian School when it began in 1922. Closed in the early 90’s, it sat in disarray, until now.  The $5 million project was not a small undertaking; most of the funding came from bonds passed in 2001 and 2006. The idea was to renovate it, not re-do it.  The goal was to retain much of the integrity of the building.  The original wood floors remain and so do about 40 percent of the ceiling tiles.  Even the same bricks can be seen on the outside where students once carved their names.

Back in the 20’s the Memorial Hall was used for graduation, recitals and assemblies for the school. Regional Park Manager Dorothy Blakely says it is just one of three buildings which still stand at Steele Indian School Park.  The other two, the dining hall and elementary/band building will also be renovated, but only on the outside.  Memorial Hall will be available for rent and used for a musical venue when opportunities arise.   Call 602-534-8198 if you’re interested.  The grand opening is this week.  It’s open for public tours Wednesday, October 29 starting at 6:30 p.m.   (Click here for video.)

[Source: Betty Reid, Arizona Republic] — About 200 people attended the grand opening of the restored Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix on Wednesday night.   It cost nearly $5 million and took two years to restore the building.  The auditorium, which seats 350, is part of the old Phoenix Indian School property.   It was built in 1922 and named to honor those who served during World War I.

Grand opening set for Phoenix Steele Indian School Park’s restored Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall built in 1922 as it is todayThe city of Phoenix will celebrate the grand opening of the newly restored Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.  Memorial Hall is one of three buildings remaining at the park from the Phoenix Indian School, a federally run school for Native Americans that previously occupied the site of the park.  The grand opening celebration will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by self-guided tours from 6:45 to 7:15 and performances by the Phoenix Boys Choir, Phoenix Chorale, and other local musicians at 7:30 that will showcase the hall’s acoustics.  All events are free and open to the public.

After its opening, Memorial Hall will be available for rent as a space for musical performances, special arts presentations, and community meetings.  Originally designed as a musical performance space, the Hall is uniquely suited for choral and musical presentations.  Detailed facility and rental information is available online on the Arts, Culture, and History page of the Parks and Recreation Department website.  The Hall’s renovation recently earned the Valley Forward Crescordia Award for Historic Preservation for 2008.

Memorial Hall, a two-story Mission Revival style building, was constructed in 1922.  The school used it for general assemblies, graduation ceremonies, and theatrical activities.  In the 1930s, students began carving their names in the red brick outside the main entrance, a tradition that students continued over the ensuing decades.  Because the buildings red brick exterior was preserved, those carved names are still visible.  To this day, former students of the school return to the site to find the names they carved decades earlier.

During rehabilitation, the original building fabric was restored to preserve as much of the structure as possible and reduce the need for new materials and increased landfill waste. The original maple floor was refinished and reinstalled, most of the windows were rehabilitated rather than replaced, saving the original wood that was used to make them in 1922, and the standards for the chairs on the balcony level were all reused in the restoration of the seating.  Although many of the tin ceiling panels had been damaged when heating and air conditioning duct work was put in place after the 1940s, many of the stunning ceiling tiles were salvaged in the restoration.  Great care was taken in planning the new heating, cooling, and ventilation system for the building.  A central plant was installed, ductwork was concealed under the crawlspace and in the attic to minimize detrimental effects to the historic character, and insulation was added under the floor and in the attic to improve energy efficiency.  New electrical and plumbing systems were designed with energy efficient lighting, low flow fixtures, and state of the art control systems to reduce long term energy consumption.  The restoration cost just under $5 million, 75% of which came from 2001 and 2006 bonds. The remaining funding came from grants from the National Park Service and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

Tour Phoenix’s rehabbed historic Memorial Hall, Oct. 29

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] — Join the City of Phoenix in celebrating the 6 p.m. ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the newly rehabilitated 1922 Memorial Hall, Wednesday, October 29, 2008.  Tours of the historic building will be held from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. and, at 7:30 p.m., enjoy musical performances by local entertainers.  Location: Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Rd.

Valley Forward honors eight City of Phoenix projects

Memorial Hall, Steele Indian School Park

Memorial Hall, Steele Indian School Park

[Source: City of Phoenix] — The city of Phoenix won eight awards for significant contributions to the environment during the recent Valley Forward Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony.  Phoenix received first-place Crescordia Awards for the following projects:

  • Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park in the category of Buildings and Structures, Historic Preservation
  • Neighborhood Resource Center in the category of Buildings and Structures, Public Works
  • Rio Salado Equestrian Trailhead in the category of Site Development and Landscape, Trails
  • Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area – Solar Irrigation Enhancement in the category of Environmental Technologies

Phoenix received Awards of Merit for:

  • Camelback East Village Core Pedestrian Streetscape and Underpass in the category of Buildings and Structures, Industrial, and Public Works
  • Recycling Changes Everything – On the Weekend in the category of Environmental Education/ Communications, Public Sector
  • Henson Village HOPE VI Development in the category of Livable Communities, Master Planned Communities
  • Arts, Culture, and Small Business Overlay District in the category of Livable Communities, Public Policy/Plans

The Valley Forward Association, which promotes cooperative efforts to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities, received more than 130 entries in this year’s competition.  For more information about Phoenix’s sustainability efforts, click here.

Memorial Hall rehab on track for ’08 completion

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, Historic Preservation Officer, City of Phoenix] — The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, Parks and Recreation Department, and Office of Arts and Culture continue to collaborate on completing the rehabilitation of the 1922 Memorial Hall as a public performing space.  The project is funded by miscellaneous bond funds, state Heritage Fund grant, and National Save America’s Treasures grant. 

The original wood floors are nearly fully restored, the restored pressed metal ceiling is now completely repaired and painted, and the rehabilitated wooden mezzanine chairs are set to be installed the week of May 19.  A new glass rail was recently installed at mezzanine level for code and safety reasons.  The exterior rehabilitation of the building is nearing completion as well.  The finish-out of the basement as a prep space for performers is the major work item still awaiting completion.  The building is set to open to the public in late summer/early fall 2008.