Then & Now: Cap-stoning the commercial district of Old Town Cottonwood
This is the third in a series of articles looking at historic structures in Cottonwood to bring historic value awareness to the public for the Arizona Centennial. Presented by the Historic Preservation Commission of Cottonwood. Written by Annabel V Sclippa.
THEN: Cottonwood Bridge and Blow Out Bridge
NOW: Cottonwood Bridge and Del Monte Wash Bridge
According to the State of Arizona's Historic Property Inventory Form, Site No OTC-56 of the Cottonwood Bridge near the Old Town Jail was built by the Civil Works Administration (CWA) around 1934 to replace a bridge that had been at the same location since about 1926.
In the State Historic Monument (SHM) album, it is noted to be one of the "outstanding works" of Arizona, implying it had not been completed when the CWA was phased into the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It is possible that the WPA or another Emergency Relief Administration (ERA) group, thanks to F. D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the Depression, finished the bridge, rather than the CWA. The CWA field office was in the Liberty Collision Works building adjacent to the bridge in front of what was recently the old Avatar Tat2 location.
An historic structure, the Cottonwood Bridge is notable for its use of river cobbles, its gracefully arched stone culverts, and its Deco-style lamps.
It's flat deck is asphalted and may have had another surfacing originally, but this fact is unknown. Oddly it is not listed in the ADOT files.
Del Monte Wash Bridge
According to the State of Arizona's Historic Property Inventory Form, Site No OTC-55 of the Del Monte Wash Bridge was built one year later, in 1935, by the WPA. The bridge forms the N Main entrance to the commercial historic district of Old Town at the southeast end, and the Lions Club has created a pocket park to the southeast of the bridge.
Historic design details have changed little since the original construction in the 1930s. It is still a flat-decked bridge/culvert with asphalt paving, concrete, and Verde River cobble construction.
It is ADOT Bridge file # 09624 and is part of the Civic Club History files, due to its proximity to the Civic Center at 805 N Main Street. The Civic Club (then, Civic Center now) was built by the same Roosevelt New Deal WPA program four years later. In conjunction with the CWA, the WPA also improved the Cottonwood Bridge and the Tuzigoot Ruin into the National Monument that it is today.
Due to the age and historic significance of these two bridges, they have become cap-stones for a commercial district that now surpasses their geographic location. Still, they represent the entrance and exit to the two ends of the main artery through the concentration of commercial district in Old Town.
With their original Verde River cobble construction, and timeless strength, they are an asset to our community as an historic structure, acting as landmarks to an increasingly visited destination.
Source: Historic Property Inventory Form; P. Stein, Arizona Preservation Consultants; 1999.