Blog Posts Tagged ‘clarkdale’

Town of Clarkdale Receives Award for Program Excellence


The Town of Clarkdale was among 10 local governments who have been recognized for their outstanding programmatic contributions to local government by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association. ICMA’s 2016 Annual Awards Program recipients will be officially honored at a Celebration of Service to the Profession, as part of the organization’s 102nd Annual Conference on September 28, 2016.   The Town of Clarkdale’s award will be officially presented to the Clarkdale Town Council during their meeting on Tuesday, October11, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

The Town of Clarkdale received a Program Excellence Award in the Community Sustainability category for the demonstration of water sustainability in their Centennial Plaza project.  The award recognizes innovative local government programs or processes that creatively balance a community’s social, economic, environmental, and cultural needs.

According to Town Manager Gayle Mabery, “The Town of Clarkdale is very honored to receive this prestigious award from the International City/County Management Association.  This an award our whole community should celebrate!  Our Town Council set a vision for a sustainable community, our citizen’s endorsed that vision through the adoption of the Town’s 2012 General Plan, and our staff worked hard at every stage of this project: planning, construction, implementation and maintenance … to achieve not only an award-worthy result for Clarkdale, but a project that is a true demonstration of sustainability for our community.”

The ICMA Local Government Excellence Awards Program highlights creative contributions to professional local government management while demonstrating the difference that this kind of management makes to the quality of life in our communities. ICMA’s Program Excellence Awards are presented to local governments, their chief administrators, and others within the 10,000+ member organization in recognition of their innovative and successful programs.  This year, an independent, 21-member evaluation panel reviewed the eligible nominations.

“We congratulate the recipients of our 2016 Program Excellence Awards and the administrators and managers who lead them,” says ICMA Executive Director Bob O’Neill. “The communities and men and women recognized this year set the standard for innovation, effectiveness, and creativity. We thank them for their commitment to improving the lives of the constituents they serve every day.”

Naming Contest Underway for Eaglet Hatched in Clarkdale this Week

2016 eaglet first pic

Word is quickly spreading that Clarkdale’s local celebrity Bald Eagle couple, Clark and Dale, successfully hatched a baby eaglet in their nest near TAPCO on the Verde River @ Clarkdale.  In February, 2014, Clark and Dale gained local recognition when their nest was discovered in a tree at the boat launch site that the Town of Clarkdale was developing as a public river access point.

To help insure protection of the nest site, and increase the chances that Clark and Dale would successfully fledge an eaglet, the Town of Clarkdale and land owner Freeport McMoran, Inc. took action immediately, and relocated the public river access point to its new location at the Lower TAPCO RAP (3400 Sycamore Canyon Road).

Unfortunately, Clark and Dale’s 2014 egg did not hatch, nor did the egg they laid in a nearby nest in the 2015 season.  This year, after a tip from Verde Canyon Railroad employees, Nest Watch volunteers documented that Clark and Dale had moved their nest to another new location (near the Verde Canyon Railroad tracks) and a single egg was incubated at the end of January, 2016.

Employees on the Verde Canyon Railroad have continued to observe Clark and Dale alternating shifts on the nest throughout the first quarter of the year, and were the first to report a sighting of the hatched eaglet in early April, 2016!

April will be a sensitive period for the young hatchling, as it will be vulnerable to the elements.  Strong spring winds in Arizona have been known to blow nests out of trees, killing the young hatchlings in the process.  At 4 to 8 weeks (during May), the vulnerability gradually decreases.  The biggest risks during this time occur if nestlings miss feedings or leave the nest prematurely due to disruption.  The period after the nestlings reach 8 weeks old (in early June) is another very sensitive time.   The eaglet is gaining flight capability, but may not be quite ready to test its wings.  If flushed from the nest prematurely due to disruption, the eaglet can die.

While uncharacteristic human activity in the area of the nest could pose disruption, the fact that Clark and Dale chose to nest near the train tracks indicates their tolerance for the daily trips associated with the Verde Canyon Railroad, and those trips should pose no unusual disruption for Clark, Dale and their young nestling.  Passengers on the train will get the enviable opportunity to catch a glimpse of the young nestling as it continues to mature before leaving the nest.  Because other activity in the area could pose a risk to the eagles, the Verde Canyon Railroad has established a Flickr photo page dedicated to watching the progress of this new eaglet!  Those who can’t ride the train to see the baby will have the opportunity to enjoy the progress here.

We’re hoping to see our young eaglet not only survive, but thrive, and take to the air sometime in June.  As we continue to follow its progress, we’d like the public to weigh in to help name the young eaglet.  On-line voting for a name will begin April 11th on the Town of Clarkdale website.

Cottonwood Historic Road

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A scenic stretch of State Route 89A — the Jerome-Clarkdale-Cottonwood Historic Road — overlooks the Verde River Valley, exposing spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim and Colorado Plateau. As travelers approach from Prescott on State 89A, a steep drop followed by a final hill pitches right onto Main Street in the heart of Jerome and the start of the historic road designated in May 1992.

The once-roaring mining community became a ghost town and then transformed into today’s thriving art community, all while clinging precariously to the side of Cleopatra Hill. Buildings balance cautiously, clutching the steep grade. Retaining walls and flat pads hold some structures in place, while others hang on at seemingly impossible angles. Headlines in the February 5, 1903, issue of the New York Sun read, “This Jerome is a Bad One — The Arizona Copper Camp Now the Wickedest Town.”

Jerome started as a mining camp, nothing more than a settlement of tents. But the surrounding hills were full of copper, and soon a lawyer named Eugene Jerome invested $200,000 in a mining operation to extract it. His claim would eventually make Jerome one of the largest towns in Arizona. He also hired a surveyor to lay out the twisted town of Jerome, a namesake he insisted upon although he never visited there.

But Eugene Jerome wasn’t the first to discover the abundance of minerals in the Black Hills. Indian tribes in the region were well aware of the riches beneath the mountains long before the Europeans and Spanish entered the area. Somewhere around the year AD 1125, the Sinagua Indians appeared in the Verde Valley, a lush forested land with a dependable water source in the rushing green-blue of the Verde River. They lived a prosperous life, trading with tribes more than 100 miles away and farming the rich valley. Around the year AD 1400, the Sinagua people inexplicably began to migrate from the region. By the year AD 1450, they had disappeared, but left behind a dwelling now called Tuzigoot, an Apache word for “crooked water.”

The 110-room, two-story ruin perches atop a hill between the towns of Cottonwood and Clarkdale. The Sinagua Indians knew of the minerals in the hills and used them to trade for other necessities and pleasures of life, like copper bells and pottery more elaborate than their own brown clay and volcanic ash pieces. Occasionally they used azurite, a mined copper carbonate with a deep-blue hue, to paint their pottery. The museum at Tuzigoot National Monument displays some of their jewelry.

After the Sinagua people disappeared from the area, Spanish explorers stumbled across the land following tales of gold-laden cities and mines with rich veins of colored ore. Many years later, the first American prospectors came, soon to uncover and exploit the multitude of riches buried deep in the Black Hills. On a search for gold in 1583, Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo and his companions traveled through the desert surrounding Jerome and the Black Hills. Greeted by the Indians of the region who gladly showed the explorers their own mining efforts in the hills, the Spaniards had their hearts set on gold. When they realized the Indians were mining mainly copper, they decided to move on, but claimed the land in the name of Spain. They were unaware of the great fortunes that lay waiting just below their feet — copper mostly, but also silver, gold and zinc.

In 1598, Marcos Farfan, also a Spanish explorer, crossed the area looking for gold. He, too, claimed the mines for the Spanish crown, but the rough mountains deterred him. The small amount of gold mixed in with the copper, he believed, was not worth the great effort to remove it. After these two explorations, it would be almost 300 years of only scattered visits from the Spaniards and Anglos before the mad rush for riches brought the miners that would change the area forever.

American settlers arrived in the Verde Valley in 1865, wandering in from the Prescott Valley area. Small-scale mines attempted to extract the precious metals from the mountains, but the difficult desert terrain and rocky mountainsides made excavation uneconomical. Finally a group of prospectors, including future Territorial Governor Frederick A.Tritle, acquired an interest in some of the claims. The work was hard and hot, and the men made $80,000 before transporting the ore became too expensive to continue.

Enter Eugene Jerome, a New York moneyman looking for an easy buck. His investment gave the first breath of life to the United Verde Copper Co. and the twisted face-lift of rickety buildings and zigzag roads that adorn Cleopatra Hill. Jerome owned it all — the mining operation and the town — but in 1888 he sold it to William Andrews Clark, a US senator from Montana and a copper mogul who knew exactly what it would take to profit from the mines in Jerome, and he had the capital to make it happen. Fires deep in the mines forced the company to begin open-pit mining, and the old smelter that sat on top of the mines had to be removed. Clark started construction on a new smelter in 1910 just down the road from Jerome, and then in 1914 built a town around it named Clarkdale. Clarkdale’s historic district is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the first successfully planned company towns. Clark also financed a narrow-gauge railroad line to connect to the Santa Fe railroad, forging the final link to the outside world.

When the mine pumped profits into Clark’s pockets and attracted miners looking for work, the entrepreneurs came also. Bars, brothels, hotels, saloons and boarding houses all popped up, and Jerome became the bad, brawling, billion-dollar mining town that endured many mining deaths, smallpox and scarlet fever epidemics, and a series of devastating fires that ravaged the mountainside buildings between 1897 and 1899. But Jerome survived. The town incorporated in early 1899 and established the Jerome Volunteer Fire Department as well as a building code advising construction with brick and stone to help prevent further fires.

By the 1920s, Jerome had a population of about 15,000 and was the largest copper-producing area in Arizona, but production slowed with the Great Depression of the 1930s. The mine came into the hands of the Phelps Dodge Corp., which still owns it. During the 1930s Phelps Dodge used dynamite blasts in the open pits to go deeper for ore, and in the process made Jerome a “moving” community — literally. Shifting earth caused by the great blasts made parts of the town crack and slide. One large blast caused an entire downtown block to slide one level down the mountain, and resulted — to some amusement — in the relocation of the town jail, which slid a full block from its original site.

The increased demand for copper during World War II revived the mine for a while, but in 1953 the mine closed after more than 70 years of production. Approximately $800 million in copper had been taken from the veins of the mighty mountains. With the closing came the inevitable death of the town as a mining center as miners dispersed across the Southwest looking for work. The 50 to 100 diehards who remained began promoting Jerome as a ghost town, and in 1967 the US government declared Jerome a National Historic Landmark.

Despite the ravaging fires that destroyed much of Jerome in the late 1890s, many of the original buildings still stand and many more have been restored. The spicy flavor of a wild mining environment still permeates the town. Today, known primarily as a tourist attraction and art community, Jerome greets approximately a quarter of a million visitors a year. Leaving Jerome, the first 6 miles of the drive to Cottonwood drop steeply and offer awe-inspiring views of the Mogollon Rim and the Verde Valley. Surrounded by mesas and buttes to the north, and jagged mountains in every other direction, Cottonwood got its name from the cottonwood trees that grow along the Verde River, which runs right through the town.

Cottonwood began as a camping place for travelers headed for Oak Creek and Camp Verde, and was a main crossing place on the Verde River. The first Anglos to settle here were soon followed by soldiers from nearby Fort Whipple, who were sent to protect ranchers in the Verde Valley. The fertile land soon attracted other ranchers and farmers, and a small farming community sprung up.

Today, Cottonwood has a population of about 5,900. A quaint area known locally as Old Town is officially Cottonwood Commercial Historic District. Walking tours are offered as are self-guided tours of the Verde River riparian area. At the end of the Jerome-Clarkdale-Cottonwood Historic Road southeast of Cottonwood, the next leg of the journey starts toward Sedona — the Dry Creek Scenic Road.

Article courtesy of Arizona Scenic Roads.

Clarkdale Copper Museum

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Just as Arizona is known as the “copper state,” it stands to reason that there should be a copper museum. While North America in itself is the largest copper producer in the world, Arizona sits on top amongst the states in being at the heart of copper production.

Most times when one encounters a museum – especially devoted to a natural resource – one would envision displays of pieces of the resource in its natural form, in small and large exhibits. However, this building of unique metal history shows through the Ages what man has done with the metal – “art of the average Joe” is what it could be deemed.  Out of the seven primary natural metals, copper was discovered in 9000 B.C. and its first use was in the form of weapons. Going from there, people constructed various items out of copper as well, to include kitchen and shop tools, and architecture.

The exhibits reveal copper art and collections for study, which were created by coppersmiths, soldier artists and braziers; many of whom were masters in their trade.  In addition, copper artifacts with an emphasis on American and European works-of-art from the 16th to the 21st century are all on display in this multi-room facility.

The Copper Art Museum is a new museum with roots that can be traced back to 1919, where an antique shop was located in Northern Minnesota.  In the early 1960’s copper wares were collected throughout Europe and later sold in the U.S.A. at on-the-road shows throughout the Midwest during the 1970’s.  The 1980’s – 90’s saw an increase in purchases and sales of copper artifacts from Europe and the U.S.A.

In the early 2000’s the collection was so large that plans of a museum came to life and a location was sought.  Later Clarkdale, Arizona was chosen as the site for a museum of copper art showcasing Arizona’s most precious treasure.

Clarkdale Wins Unprecedented Two Clean Water Awards

Verde River Clarkdale


The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA) announced that the Town of Clarkdale was selected to receive both of WIFA’s Project of the Year awards. This is the first time in WIFA’s history that both the Clean Water (for wastewater infrastructure) and Drinking Water Project of the Year awards went to the same entity. A special awards presentation will take place at the Town of Clarkdale Council Meeting on March 25th.

The 2013 Clean Water Project of the Year was for Clarkdale’s Broadway Reclamation Facility, a $5.5 million infrastructure project to replace an outdated lagoon treatment system with a recycled and refurbished mechanical wastewater treatment facility. After it was determined that their original plans to construct a new plant were cost-prohibitive, Clarkdale officials decided to purchase and refurbish a decommissioned wastewater treatment plant from a subdivision in Surprise.

“What an incredibly innovative and sustainable solution to improve water infrastructure and protect water quality,” said WIFA Board Chairman Henry Darwin, who is also Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. “Clarkdale staff really thought outside the box on this one and deserve this award.”

The outdated lagoon system posed significant water quality threats to the adjacent Verde River, designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. The new wastewater treatment plant is enclosed and eliminates any potential discharge to the Verde River. The project was selected based on the significant improvements made to protect water quality, the highly innovative practices employed and excellent project management.

The 2013 Drinking Water Project of the Year award was for Clarkdale’s Twin 5s Water Main Replacement project. Clarkdale borrowed $1.6 million from WIFA, which included $800,000 in forgivable principal, to replace and relocate two above-ground 5-inch steel water mains.

The 90-year old exposed water mains were vulnerable to natural disasters and introduction of chemical or biological agents. By implementing these improvements, the Town of Clarkdale has eliminated the security risk and resolved operation and maintenance issues. The project was selected for the award based on Clarkdale’s exceptional dedication to the project and the significant improvements made to protect public health.