Douglas Mansion project wins Governor's award

Among the Governor's Awards presented for Arizona Public Archaeology and Heritage Preservation announced June 24, was an award for the stabilization project of the Douglas Mansion at Jerome State Historic Park near Jerome. The award ceremony took place at the University Park Marriott in Tucson during the 9th Annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference.

The Douglas Mansion project was recognized as a partnership among Arizona State Parks, Yavapai County, the Town of Jerome and the Jerome Historical Society.

The Jerome State Historic Park, with the Douglas Mansion as its centerpiece, reopened Oct. 14, after the stabilization project was completed. The popular state park was closed suddenly in February 2009 due to budget sweeps and needed repairs. No one was expecting the park to reopen in the foreseeable future. But a partnership of sorts among the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the State Parks Board, the Douglas family and the Town of Jerome gave the park new life.

The partnership brought about the reopening of the park much sooner than expected.

Chip Davis, county supervisor for District 3, convinced the board to kick in $30,000. The Douglas family chipped in $15,000, and the State Parks Heritage Fund came up with grants for the project.

The Douglas Mansion was built in 1916 by Jimmy "Rawhide" Douglas, and it became a state park in 1965.

Douglas designed the mansion as a home for his family and as a hotel for mining officials and investors. Originally, the mansion featured a billiard room, wine cellar and steam heat. Built from adobe bricks made on site, the home was well ahead of the times with a central vacuum system.

Now the museum features many exhibits, mining artifacts, photographs, minerals and a three-dimensional model of Jerome with its underground mines and tunnels.

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