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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogs : verde heritage July 22, 2014

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.
Saturday, April 20, 2013

1925: COTTONWOOD FIRE; West Side of Main Street, April 20.

Verde Heritage

"DISASTROUS FIRE SWEEPS COTTONWOOD: One Dead in Fire Which Destroys Half of Business Section; Ten Homes."

"With one dead and with a prospective loss estimated at not less than $150,000, part of the business section of Cottonwood was burned to the ground this motning between 4 and 5 o'clock, the flames not being completely extinguished until almost 7 o'clock."

"The dead man is G. H. Brooks of Los Angeles, a spiritualistic lecturer who has been holding meetings at Cottonwood for several days. He has a wife and son in Los Angeles. It appears that he was awakened by the fire, partially dressed himself and then fell, overcome by the heat and smoke, across the foot of his bed in the Cottonwood Hotel. His body was horribly burned, little being left but the bare skeleton."

"STARTED IN RESTAURANT: The fire appears to have started in a small restaurant operated by T. Moore in the rear of Leo Requena's pool hall [now, an empty lot] and the flames swept through to the postoffice [now, a driveway], taking every building on the west side of the street from the Requena place to the office occupied by Dr. Henderlite. The Lysons news and cigar stand and the Cottonwood Hotel were burned and the flames jumped across the street to the Verde Bakery. Too much confidence appears to have been placed in the firewall between the bakery and Joe Hall's place, which quickly caught fire and from there the flames spread to the Hansohn grocery store, Tupman's barber shop, Ashby's Grocery, Riley's Variety store, Dr. McClellan's office, the Pioneer Hotel and Dr. Henderlite's office, being got under control at the postoffice, which was but slightly harmed."

"RESIDENCES BURNED: Nine residences in the rear of the business street were burned, three being owned by Joe Hall, two by Mac Willard, two by Hansohn and two by William Barabee of Clemenceau."

"HAD CLOSE CALL: W. G. Lysons had a close call for his life. He was sleeping in the rear of his store and was awakened by the fire. He was compelled to leap, partially undressed from a window."

"John MacIntyre suffered severe burns on the right arm while operating a chemical apparatus --- but he saved his and the Bechetti warehouses."

"The Paris Beauty Shoppe and Tony Butkovich's new plumbing shop on the opposite side of the street were badly scorched."

"The blaze is one of the worst in the recent history of the Verde district and there was but little insurance on any of the burned buildings, but already plans are being made for rebuilding and the spirit of the Cottonwood business men is rising superior even to this disaster."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Monday, April 20, 1925; page 1, columns 4, 5.)

"13 STORES, 10 HOMES LOST IN CONFLAGRATION: Blaze Starting in Restaurant Destroys the Entire Block in Valley Town; LOSS IS SAID $200,000."

"G. H. Brooks, spiritualist minister, of Los Angeles, met his death in the fire which destroyed the Cottonwood Hotel this morning, it has been determined. ... The charred body could be seen in the smoking embers of the hotel, Mr. Manley said, after the flames had been extinguished."

"Less than half the loss, which will reach about $200,000, was covered by insurance."

"The blaze was of brief duration, starting about 5 o'clock this morning in a small restaurant next door to the Rialto theater and being under control an hour later."

"Thirteen stores and shops and ten residences were completely destroyed by the flames which swept a square block in the Verde Valley town, according to R. H. Manley of the Star car agency, one of the fire fighters, who drove to Prescott this morning after the flames had been brought under control."

"Little headway could be made in fighting the fire due to the intensity of the flames, which were driven down the main street of the town by the wind and which prevented the fire fighters from getting within 150 feet of the burning structures. By heroic efforts, the post office was saved."

"Residents of the little town who were aroused by Mr. Manley, Arthur Lyson of the Lyson Cigar store and Mr. Eden of the Eden Lumber Company, fled to the hills above the city carrying their household goods with them. The fire was checked at the Eden residence by the shifting of the wind."

"Deputy Sheriffs John Munds and Joe Young took charge of the town when the flames died down and spent the rest of today watching to prevent a recurrence from flying sparks."

"The stores and residences which were destroyed are as follows: Requena pool hall, old Rialto theater, Lyson Cigar store, Cottonwood Hotel and store, Eckert bakery, Eckert drug store, Joe Hall's, Cottonwood Barber shop, Hansohn Grocery, Riley Variety store, Seimmus restaurant, Underwood restaurant, Underwood Hotel and several additional residences."

(Prescott Evening Courier; Monday, April 20, 1925.)


"The fire that wiped out two blocks of business and residence structures between McIntyre's Furniture store and the postoffice at Cottnwood yesterday is the second in a little over a month."

"The other fire occurred across the main street of the town and did damage placed by appraisers at $30,000." ...

"Fire equipment was said to be unfitted to combat flames of the size of these and no equipment was sent from nearby towns."

(Prescott Journal-Miner; Wednesday, April 22, 1925.)

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