On February 24, we lost our good friend Bill Snyder, aka “Mr. Clarkdale”. Bill has been a familiar face in our downtown for 45 years. As the story goes, while living in Oklahoma in 1976, Bill received a job offer from Landmark Land Company and had the choice of relocating his family to Carmel, California or Clarkdale, Arizona and he chose Clarkdale!
As Vice President of Landmark Land, which operated under the name of Clarkdale Realty, Bill was responsible for managing the Clarkdale holdings including the entire historic downtown business block, remnants of the smelter, and hundreds of acres of undeveloped land. The business block buildings were 61 years old when Bill arrived and were showing serious signs of decay. Bill went right to work and hired work crews to replace roofs, paint the store fronts, and make other needed repairs. A short time later Bill acquired the Clarkdale Highlander Laundry.
After Transylvania International Inc. acquired Landmark Land’s Clarkdale holdings in 1983, Bill started his own real estate management company (Group 2) and started a Mini Storage business. Faithful customers appeared in person each month to pay their storage fees just so they could have the opportunity to visit with Bill.
Bill’s passion for Clarkdale history pre-dated the founding of our museum. His office walls were adorned with photos and relics of Clarkdale’s past. He had the foresight to retain and preserve original blueprint plans for Clarkdale’s homes, buildings, and infrastructure which he donated to our museum a few years ago. In 1989, Bill successfully convinced the US Postal Service to accept his proposal to repurpose the old Clarkdale High School home economics and wood shop building into our present Post Office, retaining the original maple wood flooring and exterior historical elements. Post Office officials had originally proposed relocating Clarkdale’s Post Office from today’s Community Development building to a new facility on the bypass road, upsetting town residents.
Bill’s involvement in his community and state was extensive. Among the many organizations that he served are the Clarkdale-Verde District Kiwanis Club, Verde Valley Youth Football, Clarkdale Chamber of Commerce, Town of Clarkdale Design Review Board, and Clarkdale Fire District Board. He also served as City of Cottonwood councilman and was a member of the Arizona State Liquor Control Board.
Bill loved Clarkdale and the events that brought people to town and filled the streets with activity and music. Donations can be made in his memory to the The Clarkdale Foundation, P.O. Box 345, Clarkdale, AZ 86324.
Memories of Bill contributed by Michael Lindner
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