300 E. Indian School Rd. (3rd St. and Indian School Rd.)
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Map to the Park
Park Manager: 602-534-4810
Memorial Hall: 602-534-8659
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Steele Indian School Park is the premiere special event park in central Phoenix, featuring acres of green grass, mature shade trees and a historic setting.
History of Steele Indian School Park
In 1890, the Federal Government purchased 160 acres of farmland from a local landowner for $9,000. Federal officials opened the Phoenix Indian School one year later. At its peak in 1935, 900 students attended the school. Among its most popular features were its marching band, which was a frequent participant in local and statewide festivals, and athletic program. The federal government closed the boarding school in 1990.*
The city of Phoenix was able to obtain the land in 1996 through an intricate three-way land exchange involving the Baron Collier Company and the federal government.
The park is named after Horace C. Steele. He founded the Steele Foundation in 1980 to fund charitable, educational, and scientific programs; primarily in Arizona. The Steele foundation donated $2.5 million dollars to start development of the park and in 1997 the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board approved naming the Park for this successful businessman and philanthropist.
The park is designed in the spirit of the City Beautiful movement, a design theory that evolved at the end of the 19th century. Its basic premise is simple: city dwellers need passive, open green space in city centers to serve as a refuge from the physical confinement of urban living. The movement also held that open, public spaces are an essential element in nurturing civic pride and a sense of community. The park's design also pays homage to the site's Native American history. Many of the design elements, as outlined in the features section, reflect Native American concepts of life, earth and the universe.
The Park opened in November 2001.
* Sources of historical information:
�The Phoenix Indian School," 1988 by Robert Trennert, Jr.
"Phoenix Indian High School," 1990 by Dorothy R. Parker
The Circle of Life
The Circle of Life lies at the heart of the 75-acre park. This wide circular walkway encompasses the three historic buildings remaining on site from the old Phoenix Indian School. In the center of this area is a water cistern. Etched into the concrete around the cistern is a poem that explains the Native American design theme of the park. The Circle of Life is 600 feet in diameter and features 24 interpretive columns depicting the history of the Phoenix Indian School.
The dog park features both large and small dog areas that include separate fenced turf areas for each. The small dog section is intended for those under 20 pounds. Pet owners can enjoy shade trees and picnic table seating, although food is not allowed in the off-leash area. The dog park is open during park operation hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Parking can be accessed off of 7th Street just north of the VA Hospital. For dog park notices and closure information, call 602-495-0739 and press line 1.
Memorial Hall is available to rent for various functions. It offers a stunning setting for special arts presentations, performances, meetings and community space. The acoustics of this building make it an ideal facility for choral and musical presentations. Memorial Hall is available for rental by private, public, commercial and nonprofit groups. The facility is accessible to persons with disabilities. To check availability call 602-534-8659.
American Indian Veterans Memorial Site
The American Indian Veterans Memorial Organization is created to establish a memorial to honor the American Indian veterans of all wars and to establish a place for such veterans, their families and friends to gather, and pay tribute to living and deceased American Indian veterans.
The two historic buildings will be renovated as funds become available:
Band Building - Built in 1933, this building was originally the elementary school and in later years became the band building. Future use: Museum/Administrative Offices
Dining Hall - Built in 1901. Future use: Native American Cultural Center
Leading from the Circle of Life is the Arbor Bridge that leads into the 15-acre Entry Garden, which also makes use of circular form. The garden features a spiraling walkway that gradually descends down into the earth - a trail meant for contemplation and meditation. Native American poems are etched into the concrete and native desert plants adorn the path as it winds its way toward a cistern at the end of the trail.
Neighborhood Park Neighborhood Park
The 15-acre Neighborhood Park on the north side of the park features a playground, two half-court basketball courts and sand volleyball courts. Ramadas provide shade for picnics and parties, and provide shelter for parents supervising their children.
Amphitheater and Bird Lake
More information about fishing
The performance/stage area of the outdoor amphitheater is 60 feet in diameter and is large enough for a full symphony orchestra. There is a waterfall on the north side of the amphitheater, which is directly off of the 2.5-acre bird shaped lake. The rubble wall of the waterfall is recycled from the old Phoenix Indian School. The architect saved the WPA (Works Progress Administration) stamps from the old sidewalks and incorporated these into the rubble walls throughout the park. The seating area of the amphitheater has a 1500-person capacity in grass seating and is available for rental. Fees do apply.
The Phoenix Green features thirty acres of rolling grass terrain, meandering walkways and clusters of trees. The raised walkways follow a canal that feeds the lake and provides water to the grass fields of the Phoenix Green. This area of the Park is designed to be a shady oasis with a mix of larger-scale deciduous and evergreen trees that provide a backdrop for the entire site. The Phoenix Green is accessed by an entrance off of 7th Street and also has five family-size picnic ramadas and restrooms.
The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Park phone: 602-534-4810 or 602-534-8659
There are two medium size ramadas available for no charge on a first-come, first served basis. These ramadas can accommodate 100 people and are located in the Neighborhood Park area, one near the volleyball courts and one by the playground. The park also has five family-sized ramadas that accommodate 40 people each, located in the Phoenix Green area of the Park. These also are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Barbecue grills are located near each ramada.
Rules and Guidelines for Ramada use:
1. All open space and ramadas are available on a first come, first served basis. Some events require an approved Special Event Application (see above). Inflatable bounces require certificate of insurance, generator and sandbags. No staking allowed. Pinatas and decorations are prohibited.
No amplified or non-amplified sound, music, DJs, bands or radio stations are allowed in the ramadas. No exceptions. For events with amplified sound a Special Event Application (see above) will need to be submitted. Group is responsible for all clean up of area and disposing of all trash. Glass containers are prohibited. Driving on park property is prohibited. All loading and unloading of equipment must be done from parking lot. Petting zoos, pony rides and dunk tanks are prohibited.
2. Park staff will halt any activity deemed to be disruptive, hazardous, damaging to the facility or threatening to the safety of participants or spectators.
Amphitheater rental - The open-air amphitheater is available for reservation for a fee and deposit. Parties interested in renting the amphitheater must make an appointment by calling park staff at the number above. Fees and deposits are due at the time of reservation.
Special Events - Any activity with 150 or more participants is considered a special event. Security deposits are applicable for special events with 300 or more participants. Deposit amounts vary depending on the projected attendance of the event. Parties wanting to make a reservation for a special event must make an appointment by calling park staff at the number above and filling out a special event application request form.
Special Event Fee and Deposit Information:
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS DEPOSIT AMOUNT
100 to 999 ($500)
1000 to 2999 ($1000)
3000 to 4999 ($1500)
Area of Park Fees
PHOENIX GREEN - Accommodates 3000+
Non-Profit - $500/day
Private - $1000/day
Commercial - $1500/day
CIRCLE OF LIFE - Accommodates 1000 to 3000
Non-Profit - $250/day
Private - $500/day
Commercial - $750
AMPHITHEATER - accommodates up to 1000
Non-Profit - $300/day
Private - $600/day
Commercial - $900/day
Recreation Supervision Fee: $42 per hour/per staff (required for all events)
Maintenance Fee: $59 per hour/per staff
Please visit the Planning a Gathering, Party or Event page for complete details about Special Activity Request (SAR) requirements.
Memorial Hall is one of three buildings that remain at Steele Indian School Park from the former Phoenix Indian School. This two story Mission Revival style building, built out of beautiful red brick, incorporates the Romanesque Revival style as displayed in the use of Roman Arch windows. Recent renovations helped to return Memorial Hall back to its original state.
Memorial Hall is available to rent for various functions. The facility provides a stunning setting for special arts presentations, performances, meetings and community space. The acoustics make it an ideal facility for choral and musical presentations. Reservations are not taken on holidays or for parties, weddings, receptions or dances.
- Inventory of tables, chairs and limited AV equipment
- Professional staff for event coordination and set up
- Affordable space for local performing artists and a meeting space for community groups
Memorial Hall is available for rental by private, public, commercial and nonprofit groups. The facility is accessible to persons with disabilities.
To check availability call 602-534-8659.
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