Tue, March 31

Verde Heritage 1971: Babbitt's Cottonwood Lumber

"Babbitt's Cottonwood Lumber will celebrate a grand opening tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday at it's new location on Cottonwood Street [now, the 89A Bypass], off U.S. 89A."

"The manager of the big, modern, handsome and highly functional facility is Mike Medgovich, who said highlights of the two-day event will be refreshments, favors, door prizes and drawings for valuable prizes, including paneling, doors and Fuller paints."

"Mike Medigovich was owner of the Cottonwood Lumber Company, when it was purchased by Babbitt's June 1, 1969, and has been manager since that time. He had been acssociated with Cottonwood Lumber since July 1, 1934."

"Considered to be one of the finest lumber yards in the southwest, the new Babbitt's Cottonwood Lumber is built to provide the most modern methods of merchandise handling for any building project."

"'The investment here indicates our great confidence in the growth of the Verde Valley,' said a spokesman for Babbitt's Flagstaff facility."

"Herman Langford is the assistant manager of the new store. The office manager is Fred Thomas, who has been with Babbitt's 7 years in their Flagstaff office. The bookkeeper is Sharon Shelby."

"The main building has 22,000 square feet, including a front hardware and building supplies store of 8,000 square feet. From the front of the yard to the back fence is 336 feet and the length of the storage yard across the back is 500 feet. The main lumber shed runs 200 feet and there is a saw and pipe shed. A planing shop and cabinet shop is being completed." ... "Babbitt's has gone all-out to make the Cottonwood yard its largest and best in order to serve the fast growing Verde Valley."

"The store at the front entrance is laid out for modern merchandising of hardware, electrical, plumbing supplies, and tools, along with complete displays of builder materials such as doors, paneling, plumbing and electrical fixtures, and all kinds of paints and accessories."

"At the back of the store are attractive management offices, coffee room, rest rooms and a home improvement center. A passageway leads through this portion of the front to the central warehouse where all materials racks are prepared for forklift movement of merchandise."

"Clyde Minard was in charge of erection of the Butler type building by Walmsley Industrial Building Company, of Phoenix. Among contractors and suppliers who participated in the new store and yard facilities were Tony Stadleman, carpentry, inside and lumber sheds; Eddie's Plumbing; Tasa's T & T Refrigeration, electrical, heating and cooling; Larry Brundick's Verde Concrete Aggregate Company, ready-mix concrete; J & J Construction, paving; Rocky Mills and Son, painting; Dean Shough and Son, storage racks; Dennis Langford, counters; Harenberg Block; Alldredge, ditching; Sedona Concrete Materials; Simpson Timber Company; Meritt Welding; Smith Steel and Pipe; Bill Wombacher, masonry; Castle Sign; and Babbitt's floor covering department."

The new store was "built with the future of the Verde Valley in mind. Ever mindful of the continuing growth, Babbitt's is now geared to handle all the building needs of the Verde Valley for years to come and to continue to provide first quality lines and customer satisfaction at all times."

In downtown Cottonwood, "the vacant Cottonwood Lumber building is flanked by several other empty store fronts." ... "Cottonwood Lumber for 45 years has served the needs of the community well."

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, August 12, 1971; pages 8, 10, 18.)

W. Frank Edens owned and operated Cottonwood Lumber in a building on the lots now occupied by the Iron Horse Inn. Some time after the 1925 fire, he reconstructed a building in downtown Cottonwood on the site of the 1917 historic 2-story Pioneer Hotel, which had been owned by Mary Stemmer, mother of long-time Cottonwood Postmaster whose Post Office was next door on the north [it collapsed during the 1967 snowstorm and is now a driveway owned by the City of Cottonwood]. After Cottonwood Lumber was located in this drive-thru building with lumber sheds in back on what is now Cactus Street, the original lumberyard building was demolished during the 1930's and a motel called Eden Court was built. Mattie, the daughter of Frank Edens, married Mike Medigovich.

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