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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; 160 feet wide, 108 feet deep; Romanesque
Budget/Cost: $30,000

Foundation: concrete stone
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:  shingle or Metallic tile
Other Materials Used: basement finished in cement, floors of Oregon pine
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
(18) The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) July 27, 1901
(19) The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) May 18, 1901 Architects submit plans
(20) The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) June 01, 1901 Plans of Trost are accepted
(21) The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) August 24, 1901 Bids for school
(22) Graham Guardian (Safford, Arizona) June 07, 1901 Plans accepted last week
(23) The Florence Tribune (Florence, Arizona) June 15, 1901
(24) The Arizona Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) June 11, 1901 page 4
(25) Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) January 01, 1902
(26) The Oasis (Arizola, Arizona) August 16, 1902 shows a drawing of the building

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.

In the July 27, 1901 newspaper article from The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) it states that samples of stone along the railroad was being tested by Mr. Trost as to their adaptability for the use intended.

In the May 18,1901 newspaper article from The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) it list the architects who submitted plans for the school – Henry C. Trost of Tucson, AZ , J.R. Miner of Prescott, AZ , J.C. Johnson of Bisbee, AZ and Forbes & Molan of Tucson, AZ

In the June 15, 1901 newspaper article from The Florence Tribune (Florence, Arizona) it describe the school. The building will be 160×108 feet, two stories in height, built of brick; the floors will be of Oregon pine and the roof will be of shingles or metallic tile. The foundation will be of concrete stone. The will be a basement under the kitchen and dining room; the portion under the kitchen will be the boiler room and laundry and the portion under the dining room can be use for a workshop. The front steps, porch and floor in the basement will be cement. The building will be heated with the hot water system of heating. The first floor will contain reception floor, superintendent’s office and living rooms, library, school rooms and dining rooms, separate for boys and girls, and kitchen. The second floor will contain sleeping, toilets, and bathrooms and chapel. The style of the building is Spanish mission, shaped in the form of a cross, the center portion having a large reception hall, entering as arcade with towers seventy feet in height. The two arms or wings are the dormitories or school rooms.

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.