HISTORIC PLANS FOR “UNITED VERDE’S MILLION DOLLAR TOWN” – NEW EXHIBIT AT CLARKDALE MUSEUM

  • Ongoing: until Saturday, September 1, 2018
  • Wednesday: 11:00am
  • Saturday: 11:00am
  • Where: Clarkdale Museum
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: All ages

When the United Verde Copper Company (UVCC) decided to build a new smelting plant, the company was confronted with the problem of providing dwellings for its employees. The new town was to be named Clarkdale in honor of Wm. A. Clark, the principal owner of the UVCC. Mr. Clark decided that the company would build a model town; that it would be different in construction from the usual company-built towns in that all the buildings would not be of the same design; and that they would be built entirely of brick. The construction of Clarkdale began in 1912 and took about two decades and $1 million to complete. It is Arizona’s first planned community. The Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum (CHS&M) recently received historical blueprints and drawings of UVCC properties from Mr. Bill Snyder and the Town of Clarkdale. These are fabulous resources providing us with better insight into the early plans for the Town of Clarkdale and the exquisite detail that went into the planning for the town. They provide the material for a new museum exhibit. The CHS&M received 44 blueprints of the Clark Memorial Clubhouse (mostly, 1925-1926) showing everything from the details of the Men’s Lounge entrance to the hat & coat cabinet in the bowling alley. The CHS&M also received 56 blueprints of architect’s plans for the Town of Clarkdale buildings (mostly 1914-1916, with some later plans, including the Clarkdale Theatre in 1936) such as the steam laundry, the OK Meat Market, the Bank of Jerome building, the TF Miller Co store, the restaurant building for Charley Hong, etc. Many plans over time were for the large and long 2-story building at the corner of 10th and Main streets which was originally called the Bank of Jerome building, but in fact housed the WP Scott Furniture Store, chapel, undertaking room and embalming room, United Verde Public Utility Company General Office, and on the 2nd floor, offices and a photo studio. Alterations were done in 1927 to the 2nd floor to renovate the offices into six apartments and a dental office. The plans show exquisite attention to detail, including the ornamental brick work on the front of the building. The CHS&M also received digital images of the above blueprints and 131 more prints of Town of Clarkdale (ToC) historic properties. These 131 images are wide-ranging: prints for a) buildings including the garage, ice & cold storage plant and residence, court house & jail, T. F. Miller Warehouse, steam laundry, Church of St. Thomas, M. C. Loftus building, the Mexican Club House, room schedule and materials legend for 4- and 5-room houses, Townsite House index map, etc.; b) municipal structures such as the Bitter Creek bridge; c) utilities including the sewer system and water lines; d) topographic contour maps for the Upper Townsite; e) maps for the Humbert and Rio Vista subdivisions, Clarkdale in 1951 and the Patio House district in 1928 (also showing the old brick clay pit); and f) miscellany such as fences and sidewalks for Upper Town houses, the lawn sprinkler system at the General Office building, fire district maps, location of highway bridge across Verde River, etc. The new exhibit provides a small representation of the collection of maps / blueprints / plans. On display are the following: 1 - Townsite House Index Map, 1928. Provides construction information on the 104 buildings in town. 2 – Fire District Map, 1943. Shows the physical outline of every building in town, including residences in the Verde Tunnel & Smelter (Railroad) Town and “Indian Town”. 3 – Patio House District, 1928. Shows layout of Patio Homes and Lower Town community buildings including the pool hall, dance hall, swimming pool and jail. 4 – Humbert Tract Subdivision, 1913, later becoming Rio Vista Subdivision, 1955. Land for this subdivision was owned by the UVCC however residences were not constructed by the UVCC. 5 – Bank of Jerome building, 1914 and 1927 alterations. 6 – Theatre, 1935 + 1936 alterations. The alterations were said to have made “a real theater out of a barn”. 7 – Lodge, 1916. Shows plans for the large lodge room and anterooms, e.g., cabinets for the masonic regalia. 8 – T. F. Miller store, 1913-1914. Plans show a large open space (for numerous display cases) illuminated by nine large skylights. Historic images of the buildings and people who inhabited the buildings are provided to help bring the plans to life. The new exhibit can be seen during museum hours: Wed, 10 am – 1 pm; Thu – Sat, 11 am – 2 pm. No admission fee is charged; donations are welcomed. The exhibit and some historic Clarkdale buildings can also be seen during the 9th annual Clarkdale Historic Home & Building Tour and Bank Robbery Re-enactment on 21 April 2018 from 9 am – 5 pm. For more information visit

This event was posted April 11, 2018 and last updated April 19, 2018