1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; Charles D. Willard Building, Part 1.
The fire on April 20 destroyed buildings on the west side of Main Street. The south half of the Charles D. Willard Building at 1010 North Main, was completed in 1925. The Mahurin property at 1012 North Main, became the north half of the building in 1926. A second story was constructed over both buildings, which collapsed during a heavy snow storm in 1967.
"EXCAVATING BEGAN: Yesterday morning Charles D. Willard put a force of men at work excavating for the new concrete building to be erected on the site of the one formerly occupied by the H. B. Ashby Grocery company. Fred Hanni is chief contractor and has already done considerable trenching. The one remaining wall that divided the Mahurin property from Willard's still stands and it may be possible that it will be found safe to build to, but Willard has not yet decided just how that will come out. It may be necessary to take the wall down. The building Willard is starting will be about the same width as the old one and about 50 feet in length. H. B. Ashby plans to occupy it as soon as it is finished." (Verde Copper News; Saturday, May 9, 1925; page 4, column 1.)
"GETTING MATERIAL: Charles D. Willard is already getting material on the job for the construction of his building to be occupied by the H. B. Ashby Grocery company. The building will be 25 feet wide and 60 feet in length and will be planned in front a great deal similar to the post office building. Possibly the windows will be not quite so wide and a foot higher. It is planned within 90 days to have some of the new building ready for occupancy." (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, May 12, 1925; page 3, column 4.)
"MORE EXCAVATIONS: Now there are three of the burned buildings being started. Charles D. Willard is rebuilding the one he lost, ... J. R. Hall is putting in one to replace his recent loss and Mac Willard [younger brother of C. D. Willard], the state game warden, is also beginning to excavate for his foundation. It is likely that while they are about it the crew that is now at work will pour all of the foundations in that particular block before they go on any further as they have a power concrete mixer in action. With the Eckert bakery on the corner, it means that 100 feet are already sure of being rebuilt, and the possibilities are that within 30 days another section will be commenced." (Verde Copper News; May 14, 1925; page 3, column 5.)
"POURING CONCRETE: C. D. Willard and Mac Willard have begun pouring concrete in their foundations and are getting along quite rapidly with the work. It will not be so very long until the walls of the new structure will be commenced." (Verde Copper News; Friday, May 15, 1925; page 1, column 6.)
"LAYING BLOCK: The work of putting up the walls on the Charles D. Willard building has already begun, and Mr. Brewsher is chief brick mason. He and Mr. McCrory will probably do all the mason work on the job. The walls are being made of the Clarkdale cement blocks which seem to be a very excellent building material. They are partially hollow and still have tensile strength for any kind of buildings to be built in this entire district." (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, May 19, 1925; page 5, columns 2-3.)
"FANCY FRONT: Charles D. Willard is going to inject a little individuality into the appearance of the front of his building on Main Street, and has shipped in from Clarkdale cement brick, regular size, that have been soaked on one end or side in a copper colored solution that gives them a nice green hue. These brick, laid in rich black mortar and pointed, make a beautiful finish for any building." (Verde Copper News; Monday, May 25, 1925; page 4, column 5.)
"BUYS LOT AND WALL: "Charles D. Willard bought the lot and remaining walls and floor of the building belonging to Mrs. Emma Mahurin." (Verde Copper News; Monday, May 25, 1925; page 4, column 5.) Emma Scott Mahurin is the sister of his wife, Etta Scott Willard.
"BEAUTIFUL WORK: The ornamental brickwork on the front of the Charles D. Willard building is very beautiful and reflects the skill of the workmen, Rollie and Melvin Mounts, as well as the beauty of the bricks themselves. The boys are putting them in place with a heavy black mortar that sets them off well. It will be the prettiest front in the district when completed and the boys may be called upon to put in some more. The Mounts Brothers have the contract to build the clubhouse at the golf links in Clarkdale." (Verde Copper News; Wednesday, May 27, 1925; page 3, column 5.)
"QUICK WORK: A. T. McCrory is pushing the work on the C. D. Willard building to rapid completion and already the ceiling joists have been laid and the ornamental front is up to the level of the tops of the jambs for the windows and door of the building." (Verde Copper News; Thursday, May 28, 1925; page 3, column 5.)
"THORBECK BUYS IN: H. B. Ashby has sold out his entie grocery stock and fixtures to August Thorbeck of Jerome." ... (Verde Copper News; Wednesday, June 3, 1925; page 1, column 4.)
"LAYING FLOOR: The crew on Willard's building are now busily engaged in laying the concrete floor of the building to be occupied by Gus Thorbeck. The plastering is all done and with the floor laid, there is still the metallic ceiling, the casing and front to be put in." (Verde Copper News; Friday, June 12, 1925; page 2, column 4.)
"ALMOST COMPLETED: The Charles D. Willard building on Main Street is almost completed and the incoming tenant, Gus Thorbeck, is already moving stock in the building preparatory to his formal opening. Young McCrory who has charge of the building has put in the heavy plate glass front and all transoms and doors, and Jack Lay has been painting the plaster board overhead and all the wood work. The building is now the neatest and finest appearing in the town and speaks volumes for the greater Cottonwood." (Verde Copper News; Monday, June 22, 1925; page 4, column 3.)
"ABOUT READY TO OPEN: Gus Thorbeck has about arrived at the point where he can throw open his doors to the public and begin to serve them with all kinds of groceries. It will be remembered that the building that preceded the one now occupied by Thorbeck was occupied by H. B. Ashby now with the Oldsmobile people. ... (Verde Copper News; Thursday, July 9, 1925; page 3, column 2.)
"OPEN FULL BLAST: Gus Thorbeck is now open in his new store permanently. ... He has a neat building and a fine grocery stock." (Verde Copper News; Friday, July 24, 1925; page 3, column 4.)
White Grocery was the name of the business operated by August "Gus" Thorbeck. Phase 1 of the Charles D. Willard Building did not extend back to the alley until 1926.
"WILLARD BUILDS:" Charles D. Willard "is now extending the building occupied by the White Grocery back to the alley and is going to build the Mahurin building back to the alley also and will go up two stories ... and come to the street front over the old Mahurin building, leaving the Thorbeck structure one story up to within 30 feet of the front." (Verde Copper News; Friday, March 5, 1926; page 5, column 4.)
"POURING FOUNDATION: Mr. Willard has decided to carry the entire structure to the street line and when completed, the building will represent an upstairs space of 5000 square feet and an additional floor space on the ground floor of 3500 square feet and will be the tallest building in town with the possible exception of the Cottonwood Hotel." (Verde Copper News; Thursday, March 9, 1926; page 2, column 4.)