Sat, Aug. 17

1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; Charles D. Willard Building, Part 2.

The fire on April 20 destroyed buildings on the west side of Main Street. The Emma Mahurin Building was rebuilt as part of the Charles D. Willard Building and a second story 50 x 100 feet was added in 1926.

"WILLARD BUILDS: Another vacant place since the great fire of nearly a year ago is being filled in. That is the old place formerly occupied by Harry Riley and owned at the time by Mrs. Emma Mahurin. Charles D. Willard bought the property back after the fire, as he was the former owner when the town was laid out, and he is now extending the building occupied by the White Grocery back to the alley and is going to build the Mahurin back to the alley and will go up two stories ... leaving the Thorbeck structure one story up to within 30 feet of the front. The second floor will be utilized as a lodge and dance floor 50 x 70 feet in area. The excavations are about all done for the foundations and sand and gravel are already being massed on the job for the pouring of the concrete." ... (Verde Copper News; Friday, March 5, 1926; page 5, column 4.)

"POURING FOUNDATION: The pouring of the foundation of the Willard Building was begun last week and the work of putting in the forms for the first floor of the big structure will soon be started. ... 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. ... Jess Hood is supervisor general, and he expects to make the building one of the outstanding features in the new Cottonwood." (Verde Copper News; Thursday, March 9, 1926; page 2, column 4.)

"LAYING TILE: Despite the inclement weather, considerable headway has been made in the laying of tile for the new Willard Building which will absorb and overshadow the White Grocery and the old Mahurin property. The building will be 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and two stories in height." (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, March 16, 1926; page 5, column 4.)

"BUILDING FORMS: Jess Hood who is putting up the new Willard Building is putting in the forms for the middle wall that is to be poured. When this is done, the side and ends will be ready for the heavy joists that will support the spacious floor in the second story of the structure." (Verde Copper News; Friday, March 19, 1926; page 6, column 4.)

"WORK PROGRESSING: Now that the lumber has arrived for the joists of the new Willard Building the work of placing the heavy structure for the floor of the upper story is rushing preparations for the walls of the second floor. The joists are 2 x 12's and are being laid 8 inches on centers, are braced and counter-braced throughout the length of the building and when completed will make the most substantial floor ever built in a frame structure in the Verde valley. A large force of men are at work dismantling the top of the walls of the Thorbeck building and the Luna B. Willard Building in advance of the laying of the joists, and in the general construction work. Jess Hood is running the job, Roy Bigelow is chief of the tile layers and C. D. Willard himself as financier and general manager of the works. The Pugh Lumber Company is furnishing the lumber on this building." (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, March 30, 1926; page 2, column 2.)

"MAKING PROGRESS: Charles D. Willard is making great progress with his new two-story building. The overhead trussing for the roof is all in place and ready for sheathing and roof. He is putting on a porch in front and when finished it will be the largest building in Cottonwood." (Verde Copper News; Friday, April 30, 1926; page 2, column 2.)

"WILLARD HALL: The visitor to Cottonwood will be taken by surprise at Willard Hall that is under process of construction on west Main street just 100 feet south of the post office. The structure is 50 x 100 and two stories high and rises about 35 feet above the level of the street. The front is fitted with a balcony 8 x 50 feet. Nine windows and doors open out on it, and in the rear several windows and doors lend light and air to the interior while other means of ventilation are also numerous. ... Fred Sheldon of Clemenceau holds a lease on it and will undoubtedly give a whopper of a big dance at its opening." (Verde Copper News; Friday, June 4, 1926; page 5, column 3.)

"SECOND BIG DANCE AT WILLARD HALL: Last Saturday night's dance at the new Willard Hall in Cottonwood proved to be THE dance of the season. The new floor, polished, oiled and otherwise in shape for the most particular of dance lovers, took care of a crowd that did full justice to the music poured out by Julian's super-dance band. Wednesday, June 23, Fred --- the old boy himself of clubhouse dance bands --- is giving the second dance at the Willard Hall. 'Be there,' says Fred, 'or listen to your friends tell you about it, and you won't feel happy over missing what they tell you, either.' ... Miss Mildred Shryreed, 'The Radio Girl of KSAD,' will entertain. There is nothing more to say except that Julian's dance band will be on the job." (Verde Copper News; June 22, 1926; page 1, column 5.)

"BUILDING COMPLETE: The Charles D. Willard Building, known as Willard Hall, is complete except for a little detail work. The lower floor will be occupied on the south side by its present incumbent, the White Grocery operated by the Thorbecke's and the north portion will be the new home of the Pontiac and the Oakland." ... (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, July 13, 1926; page 5, column 3.)

"SKATES ARE ROLLING: The new skating rink in Willard Hall, under the management of Fred Sheldon, is proving a winner and each night scores of residents, young and old, of the Verde district, put on skates. ... Most of those who attend have never skated before and they do quite well for beginners. H. A. Arnold goes up to the rink evenings after closing his place of business and assists Sheldon in operating the amusement. There are some few striving to become graceful skaters. ... There are always about 50 spectators." ... (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, October 5, 1926; page 5, columns 4-5.)

"A terrific wind and rain storm hit Cottonwood and adjoining towns Monday afternoon and damage amounting to several thousand dollars was done. The lightning struck Willard Hall, tearing the chimney down and tearing up the roof. As the heavy timbers flying through the air, passed over the J. O. Braley Garage, they tore large sections of the garage roof off. One timber came with such force it was driven straight through the concrete in the front of the garage. The White Agency and the Home Bakery located in the Willard Building suffered considerable damage due to the water which flooded their places after the roof was torn off. A number of small buildings and garages were damaged by the wind. The soda works belonging to Jack Baker was damaged; the front being blown out and the rear of the building was blown in." ... (Verde Copper News; Tuesday, July 31, 1928; page 4, column 1.)

Jones Furniture Store was in the north part of the building for many years. Thomas B. Jones (1880-1960) became the Secretary of the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce and had that name lettered on the front window.

The second story, called Willard Hall, collapsed during a snow storm in December, 1967, and was never rebuilt.

The Charles D. Willard Building is located on Lots 4 and 5, Block 2 of Willard Addition. The property remained in the Willard family until Ersel and Jennie (Willard) Garrison conveyed it to the Verde Valley Community Guidance Clinic, Inc., on December 9, 1977. (#35409, Book 1113, page 374.)

Fire Mountain Wines moved into the 1925 building at 1010 North Main Street in 2013. Pillsbury Wine Company opened in the 1926 building at 1012 North Main Street in 2010. (see: the Verde Independent; "Pillsbury Wine Co. offers sales, tastings;" September 14, 2010.)