|Phoenix Union High School|
|512 East Van Buren
|Type||Public secondary school|
|Color(s)||Green and gold|
Phoenix Union High School Historic District
|Location||512 E Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona|
|Area||18 acres (7.3 ha)|
|Architect||Fitzhugh and Byron (designed the Phoenix College, now Unit A)|
|Architectural style||Beaux Arts, Renaissance, Mission/Spanish Revival|
|NRHP reference #||82002085|
|Added to NRHP||July 15, 1982|
School segregation in the Phoenix Union High School District began, following anti-African American sentiments that increased after World War I. A "Department for Colored Students" was established at a rear room of PUHS's Commercial Building in 1918, with one teacher. The school's African American students were then housed in two small cottages that was separated from the PUHS campus by an irrigation ditch.
School segregation persisted until 1954, a year after a judge at the Maricopa County Superior Court struck down school segregation in Phoenix high schools as unconstitutional, in the case Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High Schools and Junior College District.
Phoenix Union High School District's website makes few references to the school's segregated past, merely stating that Carver High was built to accommodate the district's African American population, and stating the school was closed, following integration.
The school's African American and Hispanic population increased during the 1950s and 1960s. By 1970, the school's White population fell to 19.3% of the student body, becoming a majority minority school, but the school's ethnic minorities had little say in determining and conducting education at the school. Meanwhile, violence between the school's Hispanic and African American population eventually played a large role in everyday school life, with each side blaming the other side.
In October 1970, Chicano leaders in Phoenix called for a boycott of the school, as a way to voice concerns over school security and educational quality.
Items showcasing the school's history are on display at the school's former Administration Building, now known as the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium.
Phoenix voters passed a bond to purchase the Churchill Mansion near 5th Avenue and Van Buren in 1897, and convert it into the Phoenix Union High School. The school campus sits on a former residential area, bordered in part by two arterial streets, which was a factor in its selection as the site for PUHS. The school also affected later developmental patterns in the area.
The school campus was later remodeled and enlarged in 1899 and 1910, respectively. The school campus consists of nine buildings, of different architectural styles, and includes a stadium with a track and football field. The school's gymnasium, built in 1941, was noted to have a lamella wooden roof that is the only such gymnasium roof known to exist in Arizona.
Following the school's closure, portions of the school's former campus served as the site of Phoenix's municipal court, until the courts moved into a new court complex built next to the city hall. The campus now houses University of Arizona's medical school campus in Phoenix.
The school was noted for having a large student body. In 1964, 6,320 students attended the school. In 1965 alone, more than 1,000 students graduated from the school. The school's student body declined from 1964, reaching 1,129 by 1981.
The school's football team was considered to be a powerhouse in Arizona, winning 25 state championships before the school's closure, including nine consecutive state titles from 1920 to 1928.
A high number of students enrolled at the school was seen as a reason behind its dominance.
At mid-century, state law mandated segregation in the elementary schools but made it optional in the high schools.