Mon, Jan. 20

Verde Heritage: The GREAT snow storm of December 1967

"The green valley has turned white --- with a vengeance. Valley dwellers have been shivering, shoveling and skidding in the deepest and most persistent snowfall in valley history."

"Even the valley's oldtimers, pitting dimming memories of former snows against the feet-and-inches statistics of the current storm, are inclined to concede that this is indeed the living worst! Snow depths ranging from 23 inches to" 41 inches have been recorded.

"Oldtimers dig back in their memories and come up with big storms in 1898, 1915 and 1950. Time-faded recollections are of the 1893 storm which spread three feet of snow on the level at Bridgeport. Mrs. Frank Zalesky recalls that her late mother, Mrs. Anna Grey Scott, used to tell of that storm."

"Other oldtimers report the 1915 storm as striking in mid- or late December, and reports are that on Dec, 28 the snow measured 16 inches in Cottonwood and 20 inches at Camp Verde, where 'the water ran over the Black Bridge.'"

"HEAVY STORM DAMAGE IN ALL VALLEY AREAS. Friday was a day of disasters for Verde Valley communities."

"The heavy snowfall, whose first installment began early Wednesday," December 13, "and lasted almost continuously through Saturday, cost Valley property owners untold thousands of dollars in collapsed buildings."

"At the height of the storm Friday, a fire of undetermined origin, completely destroyed the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Osborne on Rocking Chair Road."

"The moisture laden snow began collapsing roofs Friday morning. One of the first to go was a portion of the Cottonwood Lumber Company roof, which fell in on a new loaded truck. Extent of the damage had not been determined when The Verde Independent went to press."

"One of the most harrowing events of the day was late Friday afternoon when the top story of the Willard Building in downtown Cottonwood fell into the street, and through the roof of the Photo Lab, located next to the Willard Building. Tons of debris poured into the photo store, covering and crushing stock and fixtures. Owners of the store, Mr. and Mrs. Don Barrows, were not injured."

"Parked in front of the Willard Building was a Volkswagen bus which was crushed by the falling bricks. The bus belonged to Ivo Grimmett of Lake Montezuma, who had left it only minutes before the crash. In back of the building, a car belonging to Mike Medigovich was completely demolished when the top story fell. Heavy damage was reported by Milady's Salon of Hair Style, which was on the first floor of the Willard Building. Also housed in the building is the Verde Valley Community Guidance Clinic Thrift Shop, but the amount of damage to the store was not known."

"The roof of the Stemmer Building located next to Cottonwood Lumber, collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow as did many car ports, garages and barns in communities throughout the Valley."

"One of the biggest financial losses occurred when the hangar and another building collapsed at Clemenceau Airport. Reports varied on the number of airplanes damaged, between 5 and 11."

"Heaviest snowfall occurred in Jerome, where 41 inches were reported. Damage was heavy there. Many Jerome residents were completely marooned in the storm, which was complicated by power failures. Jerome residents who could struggle out, reported Monday they had seen no state snow removal equipment since Friday. Verde Valley Civil Defense workers and other volunteers carried food to stranded Jerome residents Saturday and Sunday."

"Valley ranchers said the heavy snow requires them to take feed to their cattle, and one said a feed airlift might be necessary where stock cannot be reached by truck."

"Fruit growers reported many of their trees were badly broken by the heavy snow."

"Yavapai County road crews worked tirelessly to keep roads open, but state snow removal equipment was noticeably absent in any quantity in the Valley."

"Mail service from Prescott was practically nonexistent after Wednesday until late Sunday. A large shipment of mail arrived Monday afternoon in Cottonwood, after it followed a snow plow from Prescott through Mayer and Cordes Junction."

"One way traffic was reported on the Black Canyon Highway Monday afternoon between Cordes Junction and the Cienega. Snow fell nearly all day Monday."

"Clarkdale officials and Bert Owens, Yavapai County Supervisor for this district, expressed their appreciation to the crews who worked around the clock to open roads and streets, and to the people of the area for being patient and understanding."

(The Verde Independent; Cottonwood; Thursday, December 21, 1967; pages 1 and 7.)

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