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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage May 24, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Sunday, December 2, 2012

1917: COTTONWOOD BUSINESSES.

Verde Heritage

Joseph R. Hall "was shipped over from Hurley, New Mexico, to put the steel up on this Clemenceau smelter." (VVHC, p. 29) Joseph R. and Minna "Minnie" (Meyer) Hall arrived in Cottonwood on July 17, 1917, and checked into the O.K. Hotel. (VVHC, p. 4.) On what is now the corner of Main and Pinal, the hotel had been built by Mr. Beber, and by then it was taxed to capacity every night. (Verde Copper News; August 1, 1917.)

Minnie remembered, "We moved into a little one-room cabin, right across from the hotel there, in the back, on that back street. There was no street, it was just a wide space in the road," (VVHC, p. 29) which is now on the corner of Pinal and Cactus.

By July of 1917, there were 30 to 35 businesses in Cottonwood. Tucker's Chili Stand and Restaurant, operated by F. H. Goodwin, was located back of the O.K. Hotel and across the street from the Hall residence. It was operated without water or electricity in the building, and soon went out of business.

Cottonwood "water was turned into the mains yesterday afternoon for the first time." (Verde Copper News; August 4, 1917.) Employees of the Knasas City Structural Steel Company at the United Verde Extension smelter site had a misunderstanding about the wage scale and stopped working for $6 per day on Thursday, August 9, 1917. (Verde Copper News; August 11, 1917.)

Minnie recalled, "Well, then we lived in Cottonwood and we bought a little cafe, right behind the hotel that was on the corner, a little lunch counter. We bought a little lunch counter just a few weeks after we arrived in Cottonwood, you see, just twelve stools." (VVHC, p. 29.) Minnie said, "We bought it for a song, you know. ... We bought it just as it was; it had everything in it; all we had to do was step in and buy some groceries and go in business." (VVHC, p. 30.)

The newspaper reported, "J. R. Hall has purchased the Tucker chili and lunch stand and reopened the place last Saturday. The only place in Cottonwood to get chili, together with a quick lunch service at reasonable prices will make the chili stand a very popular place to eat." (Verde Copper News; August 27, 1917.) This building was also where J. J. Hemler had a root beer stand.

Minnie continued, "Of course, I didn't know how to cook, but I learned. My husband, he was a kind of half cook, you know, so he bought this lunch counter and we went into business in Cottonwood there. They called it Joe's Chili Joint. ... The fellows from the smelter, that was up there building on the smelter, they were disgusted with the boarding house because the woman wasn't feeding them good, you know, and they'd come down to our place and eat, and we'd throw them out a big hamburger steak ... for seventy-five cents. My husband would go out and buy a quarter of beef, and we had a big icebox, a great big icebox, that held eight hundred pounds of ice." (VVHC, p. 29-30.)

Sam "Steinberg, a business man from Williams is here looking the situation over with the idea of locating a business enterprise in Cottonwood." (Verde Copper News; August 27, 1917.) "A deal was consumated yesterday by which the O.K. Hotel of Cottonwood changes ownership. B. Beber, who built and has conducted the hotel since Cottonwood first 'wooded up' sold the building and contents to S. Steinberg, a business man from Williams, who will take charge in a few days. A number of improvements are contemplated by the new owner, chief among which will be the enlargement of the hotel to take better care of the transient trade, now so noticeably on the increase." (Verde Copper News; August 29, 1917.)

"Steel workers have remained off work until the matter was adjusted by their international union, and when representatives of the workers received notice from their headquarters to go to work they lost no time." They returned to work Wednesday morning, September 5, 1917. (Verde Copper News; September 6, 1917.)

Oasis Confectionery and soft drinks was owned by J. W. Perry in July. "Yesterday, the Oasis ice cream parlor and confectionery was sold by J. W. Perry to Louis Hansen, late of Ajo, for over $500." (Verde Copper News; September 15, 1917.) "Lewis Hansen, proprietor of the Oasis Confectionery, has decided to let the 'wimmin' run it and this morning went up on the works to 'grab him a handful of steel' and get busy. Louie is an old hand for the Kansas City Structural Steel Company and will feel perfectly at home handling things somewhat heavier than ice cream and root beer." (Verde Copper News; September 17, 1917.)

When asked about the customers at Joe's Chili Joint, Minnie said they were "all working men. ... And, then we got some farmers that would come to town and it was advertised that we sold good food and it was cheap. And by gosh, you know, we had a business that wouldn't quit. Just me, and I had a woman cook, a woman helped me, and then my husband, of course, he'd come in and give us a hand." Back of what became the Cottonwood Hotel, Minnie explained, there was a big area, they would park "their cars and wagons there, come in and eat, and then go on their way." (VVHC, p. 31.)

HALL'S GRILL OPENS ON MAIN STREET: "The new eating and rooming station just completed by Joe Hall was opened to the public Thanksgiving day, with a big turkey dinner. When Mr. Hall gets his fixtures all in this will be one of the best equipped places of the kind in the district. He promises to serve his customers with the best eats the markets afford and the most courteous sevices to be had." (Verde Copper News; Saturday, December 1, 1917; page 5.)

"MOVING HOUSE: A force of men are at work moving the house, formerly occupied by the Hemler root beer and Joe's chili stand, on the Stemmer lot on the west side of Main street, Willard addition" (Verde Copper News; Saturday, December 1, 1917; page 5.)

"PICTURE SHOW OPENS: The picture theater that the people of Cottonwood have so long talked and dreamed about opened its doors to the public last night and put on its first production. the house has been ready and the equipment in for several days, but the opening was delayed for want of 'juice.' The connections were made yesterday evening." (Verde Copper News; Saturday, December 1, 1917; page 5.)

See: "Verde Valley Horsemen's Council" (VVHC); MINNA (Hall, Montgomery) PIGMAN: McGuireville, AZ; March 1, 1983; Interview by Cyndy Buchanan; Transcribed by Helga Freud; March, 2003; pages 4, 29, 30, 31.




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