Thu, Aug. 22

1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; Joseph Becchetti Building, 1926.

Charles D. Willard sold lot 10 on Main Street and lot 15 on what is now Cactus, to Peter Leonesio on August 13, 1917. A 2-story building was constructed for the "Portola Theater." Joseph Becchetti changed the name to the "Rialto Theater." Later, Joseph Becchetti built the "new" Rialto Theater (now The Tavern) in 1923, then opened for business in 1924.

The old theater was divided and rented. The back of the building became a restaurant operated by Tommy Moore. During the early morning of April 20, 1925, a fire originated in the back of this building, which burned the west side of Main Street from the John MacIntyre Building north to the Charles C. Stemmer building (now a driveway), plus buildings and homes across the alley to the west.

Silvio and Mary A. Baruffa sold lots 10 and 15 to Joe Becchetti on September 12, 1925, recorded October 15, 1925 (Book of Deeds 136, page 1).

"READY TO BUILD: Joe Bechetti is getting ready to erect a building between the Lysons and Requena buildings and has Architect Gilford of Clarkdale busily engaged in getting out the plans and specifications. Various contractors are buzzing around, busy as bees, and to date nothing as to who is to put up the building has been made public. Bechetti has two walls already back for about 72 feet in which he owns half interest and it will not take a great while to construct his building with the two ends close in and put in the floor and roof. When this building is completed it will complete all that was burned along Main street in that block." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; February 23, 1926, page 5, columns 4-5.)

"BECHETTI BUILDS: Work has begun in earnest on the Bechetti building between the Lysons news stand and the Requena building. The structure will be one story in height, will be 74 feet long and 26 feet wide and will brobably be divided into two store rooms extending the full length of the building. George Barnett of Clarkdale has the contract and Architect Gilford is the designer of the building, and has drawn the plans and specifications." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; March 5, 1926; page 5, column 4.)

"FRONT POURED: George Barnett has had the concrete front of the Bechetti building poured and will soon be ready to go to work with the rear wall. This building will be novel in its construction and will have a front that will show also a distinctive individuality." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; March 19, 1926; page 6, column 4.)

"TRUSSING ROOF: Contractor George Barnett is trussing the roof on the Bechetti building and getting it ready for occupation as quickly as possible." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; March 26, 1926; page 6, column 4.)

"MOVED: Joe Jaber, the successor of A. Giordano of the old Sport Shop, has moved into the north side of the building recently completed by Joe Bechetti and occupied by H. W. Jones. Jaber has styled his new location, the Boston Store and handles a stock of dry goods." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; June 4, 1926; page 5, column 3.)

The original building was divided unevenly. The north side was larger, with a recessed entry and large display windows with transom windows above them.

"JONES SOON OPENS: W. H. Jones is getting ready to open his soda fountain and cafe in a few days. He has a fine new fountain and all fine restaurant equipment as well, and will have one of the most artistic little places in the new Bechetti building there is in the Verde district. Jones is well and favorably known as also is his wife and they have hosts of friends who will be attracted to their new venture." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; June 4, 1926; page 5, columns 3-4.)

The south side of the building was smaller and had an entry door directly out to the sidewalk, with one large display window and transom windows above. Toward the back of the building there is a door into the neighboring Leo N. Requena Building, which opened as a pool hall in 1925. After prohibition ended, it was a saloon and pool hall. After 1965 it was the Tumbleweed Bar.

The north side of the building (924 N. Main) was the Central Barber Shop for many years. Men would enter and leave through the barber shop door, then use the side door to spend long hours next door to play pool, drink, and socialize with their friends. This tradition continued through several changes in ownership of businesses on both sides of the wall.

Standard lots in Willard Addition are 25 feet wide. The Joseph Becchetti Building occupies all of lot 10 and a strip 6 inches wide and 100 feet long of lot 9, which is the wall Joe shared with Leo Requena. The original building was 74 feet long. County records indicate that the retail stores occupy 1699 square feet. The residence added at the back of the building occupies 887 square feet.

A Quit-Claim Deed signed by James and Ellen Budd on December 18, 1973, transferring the property to Robert and Marcene Budd, was recorded on February 9, 1979 (Book 1197, page 295). Robert Budd did business as the Cottonwood Bakery, probably before 1974. During the survey of Cottonwood in 1985, the flat canopy across the front of the building, supported by 3 metal posts, had the name "Old Town Bakery" across the front. The doors, windows and transoms were intact, so the building retained its historic integrity. (see: Historic Property Inventory Form; 1985, S.015.)

Robert and Marcene Budd sold the property to Dale and Pamela Deratany in December, 1985, (Book 1782, page 105) who later sold it to S & N Enterprises, Inc., in July of 1996 (Book 3246, page 417). Nick and Susan Nichols bought the property in April of 1997 (Book 3399, page 035). By 1999, air conditioning units had been installed in 2 of the transom windows. The building was occupied by The Wooden Eagle and Mountain Lady. Part of the interior partition was removed about 1996. The historic integrity of the building was still intact. The Joseph Becchetti Building was considered to be a "contributing element" of the Cottonwood Commercial Historic District. (see: National Register of Historic Places; Historic Property Inventory Form; 1999, OTC-14.)

Remodeling work done on the Joseph Becchetti Building after 1999 destroyed the historic integrity. The door, window and transoms were removed on the south side and replaced with a display window with a smaller window above it. On the north side, windows were replaced and the transom windows were replaced with 2 fixed windows. The recessed entry and door remains.

After "Cinnabar" closed, "Bonnie Lait" cheese and chocolate opened on May 3, 2011. The business address is now 926 North Main.

Cat's Meow, owned by Judy Scharfencamp, moved to this location in 2013. This store offers an eclectic mix of antiques and collectables.

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