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Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse is a former school building in the sparsely populated Arizona Strip in far northwestern Arizona. A visit to this historic landmark will give you a glimpse into what pioneer life was like in a remote area.
The settlement of the area began in the early 1900s. Mormon pioneers from Utah set out to the beautiful Upper Hurricane Valley at the base of Mt. Trumbull. In 1916 they filed for a land grant of 640 acres to be used for farming. The town of Bundyville was born that same year, taking name from a local family, the Bundy’s (no relation to that Bundy). The town grew as other families moved in. A schoolhouse and central meeting place was needed.
In 1918 a schoolhouse was built on the present site. It was named for the nearby volcanic peak to the east, Mount Trumbull. A post office named Bundyville was established in 1919. The little community boomed and the town grew to about 250 people in the 1930s. In 1934, the Taylor Grazing Act was passed and encouraged residents to switch from farming to cattle ranching and grazing, a lifestyle that is still very much present in the area today.
The one-room schoolhouse had a variety of uses throughout its lifetime. In addition to being used for teaching, the building was also used for town hall meetings, church, dances, and other community events. A strong sense of community resulted from the isolation of the town. The nearest town (St. George, Utah) was 60 miles away, and at the time, was a long wagon ride or car ride over bumpy trails.
The town thrived up until the 1950s. The population slowly dwindled as ranching slowed down and many families moved north into Utah. The post office was closed in 1950. The schoolhouse lasted up until 1966 when it was shut down. The building sat abandoned for decades. In 1990, in an attempt to preserve the unique history of the area, restoration efforts started on the schoolhouse and were finished by 1994. Unfortunately, on July 31, 2000, the building was burned down by arsonists. In an effort to further preserve the history for future generations, a committee decided to rebuild the schoolhouse in the same spot. It was opened in 2001 and built to specs of the original schoolhouse, bell on top and all.
Today, Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse provides an in depth look at a history of the area. The inside is always open and is well preserved with historic photos, artifacts, and benches. The outside has informational signs, numerous old vehicles and relics, as well as a bathroom. The easiest way to get to the schoolhouse is from St. George, UT. Head south on River Road. At the state line continue left onto BLM 1069. 1069 becomes County Road #5. The entire route is dirt roads and is about 60 miles. The drive is bumpy but doesn’t require high-clearance. In winter, conditions may not be suitable for most vehicles. You can also access the schoolhouse via Toroweap Overlook to the east and Hidden Canyon/Grand Gulch Mine to the west.