• 14 Dec 2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    For the past 6-8 years Dinah Gemmill has been volunteering to lead the caroling for the Town of Clarkdale’s Caroling in the Park annual event.  The event was cancelled this year by the Town.  If all goes well, Dinah said she plans to resume in 2021 her volunteer duties of coordinating the Song Books that the Town prints, and serving up Hot Chocolate.  Although Dinah said she hasn’t been singing much this past year, she and some others from the church will be singing outside St. Thomas on Christmas day at about 11:00AM.  The song list for Christmas day includes Joy to The World, Silent Night, and The First Noel.

    Have a comment? please email clarkdaleheritage@gmail.com

  • 14 Dec 2020 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    Some holiday recipes from the TF Miller Community Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of the Methodist Church of Jerome and Clarkdale and the Ladies of Cottonwood, Prescott, and Flagstaff communities of Arizona, circa 1939


  • 14 Dec 2020 1:57 PM | Anonymous

    BenatzDorothy Benatz moved to Clarkdale in 1938 to work as a secretary at the Clarkdale High School. From there, she moved to Town offices to serve as the Town Clerk for ten years. Following that, she won a seat on the Town Council and served as Mayor from 1980 to 1988.

    Every morning, Dorothy walked from her home to Tuzigoot on a self-created trail that followed an old rail bed.  You could set your watch by her daily walks.

    The rail bed is a remnant of a line that ran from the Clarkdale depot to Cottonwood, built in 1918.  It was abandoned in the early 1920s.

    As the Town had a water line easement on the property, Clarkdale improved the trail in 2007 and opened it for public use.

    Today, the trail is popular as its own destination and as a conduit to a network of hiking opportunities.

    Visit the trail at the end of Main Street in Lower Clarkdale. Stop and say “hi” to Dorothy at the rock monument placed in her memory.  And watch out for trains!

    Have a comment? please email clarkdaleheritage@gmail.com

  • 24 Nov 2020 4:08 PM | Anonymous

    According to the newly adopted Yearbook policy, we currently have Alchemist yearbooks that exceed the policy for retention.  If you would like to pick up a copy, check this list and email us.  clarkdaleheritage@gmail.com 


    # editions to be disposed


    # editions to be disposed













































    You'll never know what you'll find, like this Alchemist yearbook signing from 1933: 

    Dear Alma,
    "I love you little
    I love you mighty
    I wish your jammies
    were close to my nighty.

    Now don't get excited
    and lose your head.
    I mean on the clothesline
    not in your bed.

    Love Shirley

  • 21 Nov 2020 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    Post OfficeNeither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor COVID-19 stayed Phil Hess from sharing his experiences as Clarkdale’s longtime Postmaster.  During his 17 years of service to Clarkdale, Mr. Hess orchestrated the Post Office move from what is now Clarkdale’s Community Services office to the current location at the other end of Ninth Street. He saw his customer base grow from 350  to over 3000.

    Delivering the mail was only one of Mr. Hess’ many jobs.  Many area doctors directed new mothers to have him weigh their babies as his scales were the more accurate ones.  He claims to have weighed more than 1000 infants.

    Minor auto maintenance was another task.  When a customer asked to use the phone in order to get her flat tire repaired, Mr. Hess went out to the parking lot and did the job. Workers at nearby St. Thomas church would also get a helping hand from the Postmaster.

    Come spend less than an hour to learn about this chapter of Clarkdale’s history! Go to https://clarkdalemuseum.org/firstfriday.html

    Please click on the video below to watch the entire program:

  • 30 Oct 2020 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    This is the first of a series of videos which will take you into the collections of the Museum and tell a historical story at the same time. Click on the image and enjoy the trip back in time. You can expand the video to full screen size with a click on the box in the lower right-hand part of the video itself.

  • 26 Oct 2020 1:07 PM | Anonymous

    Clarkdale Museum volunteers and visitors have a living reminder of our friend, Jerry Wombacher. 


    A lovely Locust tree now graces the front of the building in which Jerry spent countless hours regaling us with his Clarkdale stories. This tribute was paid for with contributions from the Museum Board, of which Jerry was a member.

    Like Jerry, the tree will spend its life in Clarkdale. Also like him, it is easy going and a pleasure to spend time with.

    The record of Clarkdale’s wide streets, shady parks and downtown buildings are all chronicled in architectural drawings and in books. But it is people, people like Jerry, that make our town so rich in history.

  • 18 Sep 2020 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    A sample of Living Legacy of Clarkdale 2012
    Three of five honorees share stories and memoriesCHSM

    Philip Wright
    Originally Published: September 18, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    The Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum will present the 2012 Living Legacy of Clarkdale at 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday Sept. 23. Five honorees have been chosen to share their stories and memories of an earlier time in Clarkdale.
    The event will include wine tasting and light refreshments. Janice Paul will provide music, and the honorees will give interesting bits of history and answer questions.

    The honorees are Becky Cranmer, Minnie Tavasci, Stanley Jackson, Jerry Wombacher and Mick Ryan.

    Emcee will be Steve Ayers, a reporter for the Camp Verde Bugle and the Verde Independent. He was been with the newspapers for eight years. Ayers has written a history book of Camp Verde titled, “Images of America – Camp Verde.” The book is told through about 200 photographs from three archives.

    Ayers is in his fourth year on the Camp Verde Historical Society’s board of directors. He has served as both vice president and president. He also serves on the board of directors for the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.

    Three of the five honorees met with the Verde Independent Wednesday afternoon to give a sample of the stories that will fill the Living Legacy event at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse.

    Mick Ryan and Stanley Jackson could not make it.

    Minnie Tavasci, Becky Cranmer and Jerry Wombacher were able to share some time at the museum.

    Becky Cranmer was born in Seattle, Wash. in 1921. She came to Clarkdale in the fall of 1952. Her husband, Dr. Owen Cranmer went to work for Marcus J. Lawrence Hospital. Becky was her husband’s practice nurse for 17 years. The couple raised five children.

    Many people around Clarkdale remember her youngest son, George.
    “George was a handful,” Becky said. “It was a good thing he was last because if he’d been first, there wouldn’t have been any others.”
    George is now a manager for Costco in California.
    Becky’s three daughters, Victoria, Susan and Elizabeth will be here for the Living Legacy event to help their mother celebrate her 91st birthday. Her son Richard is a CPA in Cottonwood.

    Jerry Wombacher was born in Clarkdale in 1935. His grandfather came to the area in 1902 and owned mines near Cherry. His grandfather Lee and grandmother Claire had four sons, Bob, Clarence, Joe and Dan, Jerry’s dad.
    Jerry was married to Marian Cambuzzi, who passed away in 1995. The couple had two children, Marianne and Randy. Both live in the Phoenix area.
    He married Cleo, who he had taken to the Junior Prom many years before.
    “That was the first date we ever had,” Jerry said. “The next date was 40 years later.”

    Jerry worked for the IRS for 28 years in Phoenix. “I came home every weekend,” he said.
    He said Clarkdale hasn’t changed all that much. The population is close to what it was when he was growing up, and the business district has changed very little. He said back then a lot more people were living in each house, and all the homes, and a dormitory, were always full.
    “People moved around a lot,” he said. “You put your name in at the utility office that you wanted to move.”

    The Wombachers lived in Lower Town. “Upper Town had all the bosses from the smelter,” he said. Businessmen also lived in Upper Town.
    But when it came time for Jerry to start kindergarten his mom kept him in Lower Town. “Mom didn’t want me walking down that hill,” he said.
    Some time after Jerry’s grandfather passed away, Jerry ended up with his grandfather’s daily diary, from 1902 through 1956. “Nobody had looked at the diaries until 1997,” Jerry said. “I read them and I couldn’t put them down.”

    Jerry graduated from Mingus in 1953. “We had a big rivalry with Jerome,” he said.
    “When it came time to consolidate, my mother didn’t want me to go to Jerome,” Jerry said. “They were known for throwing rocks at the school bus after a game.”
    He explained that the kids from Jerome were tough. They had to be, he said, they played football on a field of rocks.
    He said that before football games or football practice, the team had to clear the big rocks off the field.
    According to Jerry, life for kids in Clarkdale was never boring. They never had a shortage of things to do.
    “It was kind of unlimited,” he said. The kids had the park, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a movie theater and a tennis court.”
    “On Saturdays we’d usually take a hike,” Jerry said. “We had our slingshots, and we’d go down by the river and go swimming.”
    He said he and some of his pals used to hitch rides on a railroad caboose up Sycamore Canyon. “They came back at 4 p.m. and picked us up.”

    One of the best things about growing up in Clarkdale was that everybody looked out for everyone else’s kids. “There were no gangs,” he said. “I don’t remember any bullying going on.
    “I knew just about everybody and where they lived,” he said.

    Minnie Tavasci was born in Rogersville, Tenn., in 1923. She came to Clarkdale in 1946 to accept a teaching job, one she stayed with for well over 30 years.
    “It was my very first teaching job,” she said.
    Minnie taught first and second grade her first year. “I had 38 students my first year,” she said.
    She had expected to teach third grade. “I didn’t know about 6-year-olds,” she said. “But I was fascinated by them.”
    She remembers one day when she was substitute teaching for another teacher. She said a little boy looked up at her and said, ‘I’m the meanest kid in this school.’
    "I leaned over and said, ‘Good, because I love mean little boys.’ I didn’t have any trouble with him that entire day.”
    Minnie married Paul Tavasci. “He started the Clarkdale Dairy,” she said. He also hauled cattle.
    The couple had three children, Paul, Pat and Irene. Her son, Pat, still hauls cattle out of Buckeye.
    Her mother’s family came to America in the 1700s and received a land grant from the King of England. Her brother found the grant after their grandfather passed away.
    Minnie said that she remembers the women in town played bridge, and she had been told that she would have to join the bridge club.
    “I went one time,” Minnie said. “It was all of the smelter big wigs.” She didn’t feel comfortable and never went back.

    She is extremely proud of the Clarkdale school system.
    "We’ve always had a good reputation of having a real good school system in Clarkdale,” she said. “I’d like to see that remain.
    “Some of the things I treasure the most is seeing the kids I taught,” Minnie said. “They come up and give me a hug.”

  • 16 Sep 2020 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum is seeking copies of the Hi-Lo yearbooks dated 1959 to 1972.

    “Though the school was located in Jerome, sports were practiced an played in Clarkdale “ explains Michael Lindner, President of CHSM. “That makes them relevant to Clarkdale.”

    CHSM would like to borrow any of the issues not currently in the collection.  The property will not be harmed in any way.  It will be returned to the owner after it is scanned.

    To assist CHSM, please contact us at 928-649-1198 or email a message to info@clarkdalemuseum.org.

    Visitors can peruse copies of the Clarkdale High School Alchemist (1920-1950) and the Hilltopper (1952-1957) by visiting the CHSM website at www.clarkdalemuseum.org.

    Here is an excerpt from the inaugural issue of Hi-Lo:

    The Senior Class of 1959 presents the Hi-Lo, the first annual of the new Mingus Union High School.  The staff has chosen Hi-Lo as the name because it distinctly describes the locale of our area.  “Hi” represents the mountains which almost surround us, and particularly the Mingus or Black Hills Range towering above on the west.  “Lo” is symbolic of our Verde Valley.  Students who live in Jerome and Clarkdale clearly represent the “Hi” part since Jerome is on a mountain and Clarkdale on the foothills.  Students from Cottonwood and Oak Creek district represent the “Lo” part -- the Verde Valley—extending into the distance to meet the mountains.


    We believe that this annual is evidence of the spirit, co-operation, and understanding that have been shown by both the faculty and student body throughout this year of Mingus Union High School

  • 16 Sep 2020 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    Jerry WombacherWe at CHSM are saddened with the news of the passing of Gerald Louis Wombacher, on August 30, 2020.  

    Jerry died in his sleep by the side of his wife, Cleo.

    Jerry had been a volunteer at the museum for nearly 10 years and also served on the Board of Directors until recently.

    Photo credit: Nick Hunseder


    He knew the stories of Clarkdale having experienced all of them! These

    were the lost stories, never put into a history book. He was the first one to

    show up at all our museum sponsored events and the last one to leave.

    His mild mannered personality welcomed hundreds of visitors every

    Thursday and he frequently filled in for others. His stories of caddying at

    the Verde Valley Country Club as a youngster, retrieving the lost golf balls

    out of Peck’s Lake just to clean them up to re-sell for 25 cents, setting pins

    in the bowling alley of Clark Memorial Clubhouse for 25 cents per game,

    being allowed to shoot pool in the Men’s Lounge for free, pumping gas

    and washing windshields at his dad’s Texaco station on Main Street,

    Dan (his dad) retelling the story of the Bank of Arizona robbery of 1928, buying

    popcorn at the drugstore to take to the Grand Theater for a movie, and

    countless episodes at the Newsstand (Connor and Ettinger’s) were the

    making of his guided tours of the museum. People loved his tales and they

    left feeling connected.

    Jerry and Cleo were hosts for many of the Clarkdale Historic Building and Home

    Tours, since they were both raised in Clarkdale and had been in each one

    as a kid. They could relate their own antics and those of the previous

    homeowners. They were even the hosts of his own grandfather’s house in

    Lower Town in 2019!

    Jerry was the president of the Verde Valley Country Club at Peck’s Lake

    when it closed in 1991. His retired life was centered there and he knew

    every square inch of each building and fairway. He remembered when the

    clubhouse was moved to the Clark Mansion but knew it was too small.

    Fourth of July fireworks were located there along with a barbecue, picnics

    and swimming.

    We have lost a true historian, even though he never would have admitted

    it. And we have lost a very good friend. Rest in peace. We miss you!

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