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Verde Heritage 1928: Cottonwood Board of Trade

The need for fire protection and a volunteer fire department were discussed during a meeting. During 1922, the U.V.X. had offered 2 acres of land to the town to be used for a park.

"The inadequacy of fire protection and the need of a more satisfactory water system together with the proposed taking over of the two-acre park in downtown Cottonwood from the United Verde Extension Mining Company [U.V.X.], formed the basis for a spirited meeting of the Cottonwood Board of Trade at Willard Hall last night."

"Cottonwood, which is not incorporated, is dependent on various citizen's committees with the cooperation of the Board of Trade to solve its problems. The meeting last night was the first session of the body since 1924. The lethargy of the community from a civic standpoint was pointed out in a brief talk which almost reached heights of a tirade when C. C. Stemmer, postmaster, assailed the business men for their lack of interest, first, in developing the section of ground in Cottonwood into a beautiful park. The mining company offered the town this ground in 1922, providing it would be beautified and maintained."

"Now Cottonwood business men threaten to purchase this valuable property from the U. V. X. for business purposes. The section is located centrally in the town and is used for carnival entertainments and baseball games. Its utility as a park which could be developed into one of the true beauty spots of the Verde District cannot be exaggerated."

"The park proposition was tentatively solved when a committee was appointed by Ersel Garrison, chairman, to wait on the company and determine exactly what would be demanded of the town should it enter into the park agreement. [Land located on the southeast corner of Main and Pima, now City Hall, parking lot, fenced park, etc.]

"The sad situation confronting Cottonwood property owners because of the almost useless fire protection system was brought out by Joe Hall and Mr. Stemmer. Their talks disclosed that individuals possess the only hose in town; that there are only three chemical fire extinguishers in the town; that two-inch water mains constitute the pressure system and that there are 46 business houses in Cottonwood constantly menaced by the fire hazard."

"Charles Willard, one of the oldest residents of the town, owns and controls the entire water system. The gathering made an appeal to him to improve the service by extending his lines with larger pipe and creating greater pressure. Mr. Willard's retort was that more than one-third of his revenue goes to the Arizona Power Company and a large portion is expended for repairs leaving only a small amount of money to allow an expenditure for such a program of expansion."

"A 50-50 cry, both from Mr. Willard and the representative business men, appeared to have appeased the feelings of the greater number. The plan proposed is that the town of Cottonwood purchase fire plugs and hose and Mr. Willard extend his water system to meet the proper conditions. A committee was appointed to confer with Mr. Willard and secure an ultimatum on the proposition."

"The organization of a volunteer fire department in Cottonwood was also urged by leaders at the meeting. There was talk of a benefit dance or show of some nature to provide funds for the organization of such a body."

"Another meeting of the Board of Trade will be held at 8 o'clock next Thursday evening at Willard Hall, at which time reports from the park and water committees will be heard.

(Verde Copper News; Friday, May 11, 1928; pages 1 and 4.)

See: The Verde Independent: "1917 COTTONWOOD FIRE; December 3;" December 3, 2012; and "1917: COTTONWOOD FIRE REMEMBERED;" December 10, 2012; and "1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; East Side of Main Street;" April 19, 2013; and "1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; West Side of Main Street, April 20;" April 20, 2013; and "1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; Joseph R. Hall Building, 1925-1926;" October 23, 2013; and "1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; Charles D. Willard Building;" Part 1, August 17, 2013, and Part 2, August 18, 2013. The upper floor of the Charles D. Willard Building was known as Willard Hall; it collapsed during 1967; "The GREAT snow storm of December 1967;" December 20, 2014.

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