VERDE HERITAGE: 1938: PHELPS DODGE OPEN HOUSE

"That old belief --- that corporations are cold and heartless organizations, motivated only for gain --- was disproven yesterday to the satisfaction of Yavapai County, at least, when the United Verde Branch of the Phelps Dodge Corporation held its open house in the Verde Valley."

"More than 1,000 people from all parts of the county, and a number of visitors from outside the state, were made welcome by the company officials at an all-day party that started before noon and continued until after 6 o'clock last night."

"The company's guests first were taken in small parties through the Phelps Dodge open pit workings at Jerome, where copper-bearing ores are scooped day after day from the ever-deepening pit and taken to the smelter at Clarkdale."

"The smelter was the next point of the interesting itinerary, and here, too, company guides took the visitors, step by step, through the huge plant, where the ore, through intricate steps, emerges in short order as copper bars ready for shipment to New Jersey for the final stages of refining."

"From the smelter, the guests were taken to the Clark Memorial Clubhouse in Clarkdale, where in the big auditorium, long tables had been set for the barbecue. And here just 1,007 persons were entertained with an excellent dinner, the serving occupying about 3 hours time during the afternoon."

"During the early part of the dinner, Romaine Lowdermilk and his cowboy band from his Soda Springs ranch furnished entertainment. Then he moved into the Lounge at the Clubhouse, and, still later, out on the lawn, where his musicians were joined by Mrs. Rachel [Becchetti] Verretto with her piano accordion."

"Community singing of songs which were printed on the attractive guest cards also served as an interesting interlude during the dinner."

"Following the cowboy band on the program came Rosie's Rhythm Orchestra, from Prescott, with Gary O. Vyne as announcer for several vocal and dancing numbers."

"Later each of the guests attending the open house was presented with a copper ash tray, made at the Phelps Dodge smelter."

"Members of the company's personnel and their wives received the guests and acted as charming hosts and guides during the day. The barbecue was prepared and served by a force from the Clarkdale and Jerome King's Cafes."

"The big open house was arranged by the Phelps Dodge Corporation to familiarize the residents of the county with the size and importance of the company's operations here and as a gesture of good will to the county as a whole."

"The company is the county's largest employer and biggest business concern. The monthly payroll at the present time exceeds $100,000."

(Prescott Evening Courier; Monday, November 21, 1938; pages 1 and 8.)

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