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Territorial Reform School
Benson, Arizona

 

Description: Territorial Reform School
Other Names: Arizona Industrial School
Address: east of Benson, Cochise County, Arizona
Type: governmental: reform school
Original Client: Reform School Commission
Date: 1901-1903; November 1902
Condition: abandoned as poorly constructed and considered dangerous for occupancy in 1912; [demolished]

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Rust [Henry C. Trost & Robert E. Rust]
Contractors: [J. S.] Fifield & Gallagher, Phoenix; brick supplied by a Benson brick works, Arizona Mfg. Clay Co., owned by Miguel F. Castenada, his son, and others
Dimensions and Orientation: two stories and basement; 120 feet wide, 55 feet deep
Budget/Cost: $30,000

Foundation:
Wall Materials: brick and stone; the brick from was from Arizona Mfg. Clay Co., Benson; the stone was sandstone from Gold Gulch, just south of Bisbee (according to: Tom Vaughan, Bisbee’s Transition Years: 1899-1918,volume XIV, number 4 (Winter, 1984), page 22), and/or stone from the Tucson mountains, about five miles from Tucson according to: Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, March 11, 1902, page [12]
Roofing Materials:
Other Materials Used: basement finished in cement
Remodeling and Additions:

Location of Drawings:
Location of Documentary Photographs: Arizona State Library, Phoenix: Benson, Territorial Industrial School file: photograph of main building photo by [two unread initials] Willman, and anonymous photograph of service buildings

Bibliography: (1) Happy Benson, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, March 24, 1901, page [4]: jubilation in Benson over the new reform school, plot described as 40 acres in size
(2) Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, March 29, 1901, page [4]: The trustees of the new territorial reform school at Benson are H. Gerwein and B. A. Packard of Cochise county and Chas. T. Connell of Tucson, Pima county.
(3) General Building Notes, Arizona, The Builder and Contractor (Los Angeles), May 9, 1901: Bids for the construction of the new reform school, to be built at Benson, were opened by the board of trustees in Benson, on the last Monday. The cost of the structure is not to exceed $30,000. Chas. T. Connell is clerk of the board.
(4) Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, June 7, 1901, page [4], description of a board meeting to consider and settle upon plans offered by architects.
(5) Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, June 8, 1901, page [4]: H. C. Trost and Chas. T. Connell are in Benson today, the former in connection with architectural plans for the Reform School and the latter to sit in judgment on several plans presented. Henry Gerwein of Benson and B. A. Packard of Bisbee sit with Mr. Connell who is clerk of the board.
(6) The Builder and Contractor (Los Angeles), September 5, 1901, page [1]: Bids for the construction of the reform school, at Benson, Ariz., from the plans of Architects Trost & Rush [i.e., Rust], Tucson, will be opened by the board of trustees, at Tucson, September 10. Further information may be obtained from H. Buehman, clerk of the board, Tucson.
(7)Phoenix Clips, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, December 19, 1901, page 5, Contractor named, budget set at $25,000, and start of work set as January 1, 1902
(8) Busy Benson, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, January 25, 1902. page(8): an article describing the new brick works in Benson supplying its first output of bricks to the contractors of the reform school, Fifield & Gallagher; naming the Reform School Commission members; and ending with this passage: The stone masons will complete their work this month, and the Benson brick will then be placed in walls for the first time.
(9) Territorial Notes, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, February 27, 1902, page [2], plans are outlined for a corner stone laying ceremony to take place March 9, 1902
(10) Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, March 11, 1902, page [12]: J. S. Fifield, one of the contractors of the reform school said that the stone work was about one fourth finished. The stone that is being used comes from the Tucson Mountains, five miles from this city.
(11) Tucson Daily Star, May 3, 1902: J. S. Fifield of Fifield & Gallagher, Contractors, came over [to Tucson] from Benson. This firm has the reform school well-nigh towards roofing.
(12) Tucson Daily Star, May 16, 1902, page [8], description of fire that occurred about midnight, May 13, 1902, destroying the brickyard in Benson
(13) Territorial Reform School, Tucson Daily Star, August 15, 1902, page [5], budget, dimensions, general description, report on progress of construction
(14) Ward R. Adams, History of Arizona, volume II (Phoenix: Record Publisher Co., 1930): page 174; The Twenty first Territorial Legislature met in Phoenix, January 21, 1901; page 188: The territorial reform school to be located at Benson was created by this Legislature, who voted $33,000 for its construction.
(15) Jay J. Wagoner, Arizona Territory, 1863-1912; a Political History (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, [1970]), page 404: In December, 1903, the school opened under the superintendence of Frank O’Brien. Before a decade had elapsed [i.e., in 1912], however, the institution was transferred to Fort Grant because the building at Benson had been poorly constructed and was considered dangerous for occupancy. Also, the site offered no facilities for farming or other industries.
(16) El Paso Herald, December 20, 1901 page 10 ‘Arizona Spending Much Money on Fine Buildings’
(17) Weekly Journal-Miner (Prescott, Arizona), May 29, 1901 page 4

Remarks: The Territorial Reform School is one of two buildings designed by Henry C. Trost known to have suffered a building failure. The reason for this failure may have been that the brickyard supplying the bricks, the Arizona Mfg. Clay Co., was new, and the bricks used in the Reform School were the very first bricks it produced. The fact that the brickyard had only been in production a short time, when it was destroyed by fire, might be an indication that it had been poorly managed. Moreover, one of the person’s active in the Benson firm was T. L. Myers of the American Clay Working Machine company, of Bucyrus, Ohio, the firm that had shipped the plant to Benson. It is possible that Myers may not have understood the properties of the local clay used by the Benson firm.

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990.