VERDE HERITAGE 1914: Verde Valley Prosperity
One year before the new smelter at Clarkdale began operations and four years before the new smelter at Verde/Clemenceau began filling the skies with smoke, farms, orchards, and vineyards were thriving. Irrigation water from artesian wells drilled after 1911 and ditch development brought agricultural prosperity to valley farmers who sold what they produced to the residents of the mining and smelter towns.
"The great activity in the Verde Valley is well told in the following article from the 'Phoenix Gazette:'"
"The new business houses are being constructed in Clarkdale, and more will be under way just as soon as the work force can get to them. The foundations are of cement and the body of the buildings will be of brick."
"The whole town of Jerome and many of the plain farmers of the Verde Valley are in the throes of automania. While the grade is steep the roads of this part of the country are well kept up and it is nothing unusual to see twenty-five or thirty motor cars whiz by on a Sunday afternoon in the valley. Jerome has organized an auto club which has placed sign boards at all principal road crossings. It also employs an extra man to put certain finishing touches on certain spots of the road leading between Jerome and Clarkdale. Telephone boxes are maintained for the benefit of stranded parties in some places. There is talk of a Phoenix sociability run in the near future."
"Never did real estate look so pleasing or profitable as at present in the Verde Valley. Thompson acres, some seven miles from Jerome, which was subdivided and sold to Jeromites, is now being improved and a number of residences are being erected. [Oasis Colony subdivision was recorded on October 11, 1913. The Van Deren crossing of the Verde River became known as Thompson's Crossing until after the Rutherford Bridge was dedicated on October 10, 1920. This area became known as Bridgeport.] The parties who own homes here own autos or motorcycles and run to Jerome or Clarkdale daily for the transaction of their business. This colony of 'little landers' or suburbanites intend to organize soon. Among the improvements planned are to be golf links, tennis courts, and other places for recreation. It is said some of the owners intend to have artesian wells drilled to supply drinking water."
"Between eight hundred and a thousand acres of land is now in the process of reclamation in the valley. On the Upper Verde many new pumping plants are being installed. Most of these are slight lifts of from twenty to thirty feet, and a series of bucket elevators are most commonly the type used. On Middle Verde the ranchers on the west side of the river are taking out a new ditch which will irrigate some four or five hundred acres. This ditch is taken out at a point near the old Conger mill dam. [The Conger mill, operating during early 1880's, was purchased by the Etta Mining and Milling Company in 1887. The Etta dam, completed on October 7, 1889, measured 268 feet long, bank to bank, and backed the Verde River up for a mile and three-quarters.] Many years ago a ditch was taken out at this point but freshets in the river tore away a long stretch of it leaving nothing but a bare rock wall for nearly a half mile. At this time land was so cheap and so apparently worthless that the cost would have been too great to have put the ditch back in such formation. This new outfit has its ditch well under way and hopes to have it completed in time for a crop this season."
"Oil corporations are the quietest they have been for over two years, as not a machine in the valley is in operation at the present time. Drilling ceased in the Jerome-Verde well over three months ago and one by one the other drills shut down. But the hope of somebody finding oil in paying quantities in this valley is by no means dead in the hearts of many of our citizens. The deepest well sunk was not two thousand feet while all the experts who have looked over the field claimed that oil would not be struck under 2,500 or 3,000 feet. The drilling so far has proven that a little oil has shown up in practically all of the five or six wells drilled. Frank Turner is the authority for saying that a Los Angeles outfit has purchased the rig of one of the local companies and will enter the field right away. This company, it is claimed, will have sufficient funds to penetrate the lowest strata of the earth if necessary. It is still the strong belief of many that oil in paying quantities awaits the man who has the pluck and the price to go after it."
"A mass of filaria in full bloom bedecks the mesas and deserts in this section of Arizona. Bounteous rains of winter and spring have caused the earth to take on a coat of green and the range stock are looking well. The season here is later than in the Salt River Valley. We are now in the midst of peach, plum, and apricot blossoms. The ranchers have their spring plowing pretty well completed. Unless a cold snap should strike us, a bumper fruit crop is expected."
PROSPEROUS CONDITIONS CAUSED THE HOUSING SHORTAGE
"That the present house supply in Jerome is inadequate can not be disputed. There is a crying demand for more houses. This is caused by the great activity and general prosperous conditions of the Jerome District. The population of Jerome is not a migratory one as some believe. The class of residences found in this city are well built structures and make comfortable homes for the men who labor in the mines. The absence of the many shacks so common in mining communities is a noticeable feature of Jerome."
"Although with the smelter at Clarkdale in operation [after May of 1915] we will lose probably 175 smeltermen, yet it is the general belief that the present force of miners will be nearly doubled, binging their number up to about 1,600."
"Jerome is getting a great amount of advertising throughout the country. Many newcomers are looking this way. With the new railroad penetrating the Verde Valley it means an outlet for one of the richest valleys in the state. What benefits Clarkdale benefits Jerome."
"This year will no doubt be one of the most prosperous in our history, and we should have plenty of good substantial buildings for the many new citizens that are sure to come."
(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Friday, March 20, 1914; page 1.)
"LAND ONCE CONSIDERED ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS IS RECLAIMED"
"David Scott, of Cottonwood, was a caller at 'The News' office this week. Mr. Scott is one of the successful ranchers of the Verde Valley, and has successfully demonstrated what hard work and faith in the valley can accomplish. Mr. Scott has two tracts of land; one of 80 acres, just below Cottonwood [Cottonwood Cemetery southward, subdivided in 1917 as Scott Addition and Smelter City north of the corner of Mingus and Main], and one of 160 acres [along the river south of Aspen]."
"Mr. Scott was the first man to get artesian water [in 1911], and now has four wells, the last one being finished a few days ago. Three wells were drilled to a depth of 400 feet, while the fourth is 125 feet. The water is very pure and the supply is unlimited. Mr. Scott has fields of alfalfa, corn, etc., in fact anything can be raised."
"He has one of the finest stallions in the state --- a beautiful dapple gray, full-blooded Percheron, six years old. This animal cost Mr. Scott $800, when a two-year old."
"He has great faith in the future of the valley and believes that the man who is willing to work hard will be a success in that garden spot."
(Verde Copper News; Friday, March 20,1914; page 1.)
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