Fri, July 19

Verde Heritage -- 1923-1952: Cottonwood Contractor; W. Frank Edens

W. Frank and Elta Edens opened their Cottonwood Lumber Company on the site of the old McConnell Lumber Company on Main Street in Cottonwood (now the Iron Horse Inn). Frank had arrived in Arizona Territory during 1903, and had been involved in various construction projects, then he managed lumber companies in Phoenix, Hayden, Winkleman, and Ray from 1914 until 1922.

Cottonwood Lumber Company supplied the materials for residential and commercial construction projects. After the devastating fires on both sides of Main Street during the early part of 1925, Frank Edens was hired to be the contractor for several building projects. He used the original plans drawn by architect J. S. Button, of Williams, to rebuild the Cottonwood Hotel. Across the side street (now Pinal), he also rebuilt the bakery and the new drugstore for Fred Eckert (now, Olive Oil Traders).

"W. F. Edens began construction of a fine new four-room Mission style residence for Mrs. Luna B. Willard" on December 9, 1925. (Verde Copper News; December 15, 1925.) "The new cement-block house is rapidly nearing completion and is about ready for the roof. Mounts brothers have been doing the laying of the cement tile in the walls. The building will be one of the finest and most modern little residences of Cottonwood." (Verde Copper News; December 24, 1925.) "W. F. Edens is the contractor and manufactured the tile for the job at his Cottonwood plant." (Verde Copper News; January 1, 1926.) "The Luna B. Willard building was turned over to Mrs. Willard by W. F. Edens after he finished the neat little porch." (Verde Copper News; February 2, 1926.) Frank Edens acquired this property from the Willard family on January 18, 1927. It became the Edens family home.

W. Frank Edens was the contractor for the building on Main Street used for the Cottonwood Café and other businesses (now, Pillars).

Frank and Elta Edens purchased the site of Mary Stemmer's 1917 Pioneer Hotel which had burned on April 20, 1925, then built their Cottonwood Lumber Company during 1929. (Verde Copper News; May 21, and June 4, 1929.) This building at 1020 N. Main Street had a drive-through from the main street to the alley. The offices were on the north side of the building with hardware, appliances, etc., on the south side of the building. Across the alley there was a large drive-through warehouse with an exit on what is now Cactus Street. Lumber and other building materials were in this warehouse in addition to saws and other equipment for the lumberyard.

The old 1917 lumber company building was dismantled. Construction of Edens modern auto tourist camp began during 1930. It was to have "25 modern apartments with all conveniences including running hot and cold water, shower baths," etc. (Verde Copper News; September 16, 1930.) During the Depression years, lumber company employees were kept busy building lodging for tourists, so this project took several years to complete. Eden Court eventually became the Sundial and is being remodeled for the Iron Horse Inn.

Frank Edens opened the Camp Verde Lumber Company with Perry Langford as the manager.

After an auto accident, Elta (Langford) Edens died in a Phoenix hospital on January 10, 1950. Frank Edens disposed of his property and businesses, then retired to Lake Buchanan in Texas.

During a visit with his family in Cottonwood during January of 1969, with his 2nd wife, Johnnie, he said, "You can take the man out of Arizona, but you can't take Arizona out of the man, and I already feel 100% better since we've decided to sell out in Texas and return here to spend the rest of our days." (The Verde Independent; January 2, 1969.) William Francis Edens had lived in Sun City 4 years before he died in his home at the age of 87 on June 12, 1973. He is buried next to Elta in the Cottonwood Cemetery (plots A 012-013). (Arizona Republic; June 13, 1973; Section D.)

The children of William Francis "Frank" and Elta (Langford) Edens grew up in Cottonwood and also became involved in various business enterprises in Cottonwood.

Mattie L. Edens married Michael "Mike" Medigovich. They worked together in the Cottonwood Lumber Company and lived in a house in "Old Town." Mattie and Mike's Cottonwood Lumber Company became affiliated with the Sedona Lumber Company during October of 1952. After Frank Edens returned to Texas, they lived in the "W. Frank and Elta L. Edens House" on Cactus Street. Their home was sold to Darlene and Ronald Moen during 1973

Joe Francis Edens worked in the Cottonwood Lumber Company. He and his wife lived in their home in "Old Town."

William B. "Balis" Edens managed "Balis' Shop: Cooling, Heating, Plumbing, Sheet-metal" in the Mariani Building (where the City Council meets), during the 1950's and 1960's. He and his wife lived in their home on Main Street (across from the old Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial Hospital).

Elton L. Edens worked at the Clemenceau Airport. He was a mechanic and an excellent pilot. He was also an instructor and taught numerous people how to fly airplanes. Elton and his wife, a nurse, lived in their home near the airport.

The "W. F. "Frank" and Elta L. Edens House" was listed on the National Register of Historic Places during 1986. This home will be featured on the 2nd Annual Cottonwood Historic Home Tour on Saturday, November 14, 2015..