Mon, Sept. 28

VERDE HERITAGE 1971: COTTONWOOD; The Copper Strand Resident Hotel


"The old [Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial] hospital building will make an ideal senior citizens' home. It has three patios, a lobby, a smoker, a library, and a coffee bar. The basement is to be converted to a craft and recreation area. It will feature dancing rooms, a pool room, a shuffleboard court, and a weaving room for the ladies."

"The dining room will not offer the usual 'take it or leave it' fare, but will provide a menu so the guests may select what he prefers."

"There will be six rooms available, at $275 a month for guests who desire private quarters. Rooms for two people rent for $225. There will also be three dormitory rooms which will hold eight people each."

The Copper Strand "is to be opened by Mrs. Ermine Hett and her sister and brother-in-law, the Harvey Hustons. Mrs.Hett will be in charge of administrative matters, and the Hustons will be residence managers. ... Mrs. Hett and the Hustons are now busy supervising the remodeling of the old building. They are hoping to turn it into a charming home for guests who are too old for foolishness, and too smart to quit living."

After leaving Alaska, "Mrs Hett has been a statistician for the Arizona Department of Education in Phoenix" until recently.

"The Hustons are originally from Alaska, where Mr. Huston worked as a conductor for the Alaska Railroad. He has since worked at the Arizona State Prison at Florence, the state hospital at Phoenix, and The Children's Colony at Randolph. Mrs. Marvel Huston has worked for hospitals in Arizona and California."

The old Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial Hospital on Main Street in Cottonwood had been purchased by Mrs. Nora Parsons, of Casa Grande, with the intention of establishing a senior citizens' home. Before information was available about the planned project, Mrs. Parsons sold the property.

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, September 16, 1971; by Opal Neese; page 11.)


"Mrs. Hett and Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Huston, her sister and brother-in-law, who are the resident managers of the Copper Strand, renovated, remodeled, painted, and are still landscaping the old hospital building which they have turned into a resident hotel for 'adult living.'"

"Renovation began in July and the first residents moved in during November [of 1971]. There are currently [in 1972] 12 residents and Mrs. Hett anticipates a total of 30 'when we're finished remodeling and landscaping.'"

"The Copper Strand is not a nursing home, but rather is 'for people who can take care of themselves,' said Mrs. Hett. 'People get older and like a place to live where they don't have to work but who don't want to lose their independence. But they're often lonely and not eating right, and things like that.' At the hotel, residents have their own rooms, are given meals and have recreational opportunities with other residents. Mrs. Hett felt there was a 'tremendous need' for such a 'non-institution' place in this area where the population of older citizens is high."

"Originally from Alaska, Mrs. Hett moved to Phoenix after the 1964 earthquake. 'Phoenix,' she says, is 'ruined by smog.' The Verde Valley drew her attention after she looked three years for a location for a resident hotel."

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, March 30, 1972; page 1.)


"The Copper Strand Residential Hotel was chosen last week by the Board of Adjustment of the Town of Cottonwood for recognition of 'generally improving the appearance' of individual property and the town. A letter of thanks, 'The Orchid Award,' was sent to Mrs. Ermine Hett, business manager of the Copper Strand, for her efforts in renovating the former hospital on Highway 89A, in downtown Cottonwood."

"The recognition is the first in a new program instituted by the Board of Adjustment in hopes of encouraging other businesses and property owners to 'clean up' their premises in an overall beautification drive of the Town of Cottonwood. The monthly award will single out individuals who have 'made remarkable changes' in the looks of the town."

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, March 30, 1972; page 1.)

The Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial Clinic (1939-1945) became the Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial Hospital (1945-1965). The building became the Healing Arts Center during 1994. It is located at 753 North Main Street.

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