Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is Arizona's way of permanently preserving and publicizing exceptional deeds by heroic people, significant historical events, and a few noteworthy groups that have had an impact on Arizona. Located directly in front of the Arizona State Capitol, some of our cherished memories are carved in stone and cast in bronze.
The manicured grounds and gardens of the Plaza invite a leisurely walk. The monuments here demonstrate Arizona's commitment to diversity, and include commemorations for those who died in various battles, Armenian Holocaust victims, fallen police dogs, great leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Arizona Pioneer Women, and dozens more.
A great time for people-watching at the Plaza is during one of its political rallies, peaceful demonstrations, or memorial ceremonies.
The Plaza will always be a work-in-progress, under the control of the Arizona House of Representatives and the Governor. As Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) on the hit television show "The Wonder Years" said,
Visit Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, and become acquainted with the uncommon stuff of living courageously in ways that really matter to Arizona citizens.
Top L-R: Purple Heart Recipients, AZ Peace Officers, Desert Storm
Bottom L-R: AZ Pioneer Women, Fallen K-9s, Navajo Code Talkers, U.S.S. AZ Signal Mast
The memorials, statues, and monuments in the two square blocks of Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza pay tribute to the sacrifices and contributions of service personnel and civilian and government workers in Arizona, as well as significant events that helped shape our state.
Hailing Service Personnel and Their Sacrifices
From Pearl Harbor, WWII
Hailing Civilians and Their Contributions
Hailing Government Workers and Their Contributions
Remembering Victims of Heinous Tragedies
Some consider the following memorials controversial, and they have sparked debates regarding their inclusion in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza.
The 9/11/2001 and Ten Commandments Memorials
Those opposed to the monument believe that it should focus on remembering those who were injured and who courageously sacrificed their lives on 9/11, and not be a political platform. They assert that some of the inscriptions on the monument are at best meaningless, and at worst anti-American. The responsible Commission is reviewing the matter as we write this Page.
Erected 14 years before the re-naming of this government mall to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in 1978, the ACLU filed suit in 2003 for its removal, and lost. The controversy lingers, based on the argument that the memorial violates the concept of separation of church and state.
In 1964, the Fraternal Order of Eagles sponsored this memorial in recognition of Movie Director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film, The Ten Commandments. It's included in the Plaza because the movie was filmed in Arizona at Lake Powell.
Although there are no restrooms in the Plaza, there's considerable free parking, and it's ADA compliant.
In 1978, the Arizona House of Representatives and Governor Bruce Babbitt changed the name of a prominently-located government mall with existing memorials to the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. Our Publisher, Marie, remembers this event, which received broad support as a well-deserved and lasting recognition for the honoree, Wesley Bolin.
Born in Missouri, Wesley Bolin moved to Arizona when he was 6. After serving as a West Phoenix Constable and a Justice of the Peace, he became the Arizona Secretary of State, for which he served 13 consecutive terms (1949-1977).
When Arizona Governor Raul Castro resigned in 1978 to become Ambassador to Argentina under President Jimmy Carter, Democrat Bolin served as Governor until his death just under 5 months later, on March 4th.
Wesley Bolin, the 15th Governor of Arizona, always considered himself a businessman, was trusted, seemingly a-political, efficient, and highly respected. Our Publisher, Marie, knew him through his significant support of the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum. The photo here of Mr. Bolin is from Marie's personal collection.
On June 10, 2012, Rose Mofford's 90th birthday, a section of 17th Street (between Jefferson and Adams Streets) leading to the Capitol was officially renamed "Rose Mofford Way."
In 1977, Wesley Bolin appointed Mofford Arizona's first woman Secretary of State when he became Governor. And in 1988, Mofford became Arizona's first woman Governor.
A much beloved figure in Arizona, Mofford was present for the dedication ceremony, during which Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton also designated June 10 "Rose Mofford Day," saying:
Our Publisher, Marie, has known former Governor Mofford for many years, and this is a well earned recognition. Congratulations, Rose!
Rose Mofford Way separates Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and the Arizona State Capitol and Museum. It’s a short walk from the Plaza to the Capitol, and admission is free.
And don't miss these other Phoenix Points of Pride located nearby in downtown Phoenix: