About Palo Christi
Kingman’s first schoolhouse was built with private donations on the corner of Oak and Fourth Streets in 1886. This school remained in use until 1896.
Before construction of a new, modern brick school the original building was relocated to Spring Street, now the site of the historic Catholic Church. The new school built of brick on a stone foundation by the Hartley, Cooper, and Hines construction company at a cost of $4,900 which included landscaping as well as furnishing. It opened in 1896 and remained in use until December 1928.
A small snippet published in the local paper on May 25, 1928, noted that, “Excavation was started on the new school this past Monday.” When compared to the quaint little red brick schoolhouse the Kingman Grammar School project with a cost of $109,368 mirrored the dramatic transformation of Kingman in the years following statehood.
John S. Mulligan, Jr., son of John Mulligan, the contractor that built the Elks Lodge, Brunswick Hotel and Hotel Beale, and that did the concrete work on the territorial jail, was the architect for the new Kingman Grammar School. Initially the two-story school consisted of eleven classrooms, a science room, a kindergarten, a nurse’s station, a library, and a principal’s office.
The first classes were held in January 1929. In that same year Pierson and Johnson, the Phoenix contractors who had built the original building, commenced construction of the gymnasium auditorium, a project with an $11,419 price tag. A manual training building was added to the 18-acre complex in 1936.
In 1940, the largest class up to that time graduated from the Kingman Grammar School with a mere 57 students. This was the year that a school lunch program in the new cafeteria building commenced. But Kingman was now a fast-growing community and in 1948, the 7th and 8th grades were moved to the new Kingman Junior High School near the high school on First Street.
In 1963 an array of upgrades and improvements were made at the school, and the name was changed to Palo Christi School. Then to accommodate growth in the community, the following year a separate building with additional classes was built behind the original building. By 1979 the historic Palo Christi School campus had grown to include additional buildings, and nearly 500 students were enrolled. The school was closed in May 2013.