Photo by Pamela Ravenwood
THE CIVIC CENTER was built in 1939, in part through the WPA.
The building, eight years ago, called for $278,000 to refurbish. So far the group has received only a $1,000 from Phoenix Cement to apply toward a dressing room in the rear of the building. For them, this is a big step toward a worthwhile project.
The Cottonwood Civic Center was built in 1939. The property was deeded by Charles Willard and is located in Old Town Cottonwood. Local donors helped pay for the materials while the Civic Club held numerous fundraisers to pitch in their portion too. WPA assistance helped put the building together.
The building is unique in that it is made of large native granite boulders, red sandstone and red rock. All of the rocks were brought to the job site by horse drawn carts.
The Civic Club finally had a building in which they could hold large dinners, films, talks, dancers, performances, variety shows and more. In 1942, the building was donated to the Air Force to train 110 cadets.
The kitchen became the infirmary and the mess hall was across the street in the Quonset style buildings on Main Street. In 1948, two women from the Civic Club baked 119 pies to help “Farm In A Day Project” to help local farmers keep their farms.
Today, the same building hosts numerous programs, with nearly a full schedule every day of the week. Because of its history and ties to Cottonwood’s heritage and families, the Cottonwood Civic Center Renovation Committee are hoping the Town of Cottonwood and local businesses will also join in with the preservation project.
“People are putting a lot of time into this project,” Buehner said. “I would like to see schools involved or scouts. There are a lot of talented people in the Verde Valley and to keep this going, it should be a goal of the Verde Valley. We have a jewel that just needs polished.”