By Mayor Felix Callicotte
After nearly a year of discussions and site visits, including evaluations of the structure by the town’s engineering firm, the former combined Safford/Clifton Elks Lodge #1607 graciously donated the old “Arizona Copper Company” headquarters building to the Town of Clifton in May 2017.
The Clifton Town Council voted unanimously to accept the gift of this building to the town. Arizona Elks Association President Alfred Skorupski, Clifton Lodge #1174 Trustees, Wes Hawkins and Wayne DeMarciso came to Clifton to mark the occasion with the trustees executing a quit claim deed to formalize the transfer.
The town has no current plans for the building. The town has executed a lease to allow the Clifton Closet Thrift Store to continue operating in the southern part of the building it currently occupies.
A little history on this “Clifton Landmark” follows: This two-story brick building is one of Clifton’s oldest commercial buildings. The Arizona Copper Co. (ACC), a mining company from Edinburgh, Scotland, operating in the Clifton-Morenci area from 1882 to 1921, found it necessary to build several buildings to improve their mining operations in the Clifton/Morenci area.
In February of 1904, ACC announced to the Town of Clifton that they would construct a general office building and it would be a two-story ornament for the town.
The building’s original plan designed in the Renaissance Revival architectural style is an elongated asymmetrical rectangle with the three front projections. Emil Schumann designed and oversaw the buildings construction.
The first in week April, 1904 ground was broken and foundation work began on the northern portion of this building. On June 5, 1904 James Colquhoun, President and General Manager of ACC, during an elaborate ceremony laid the cornerstone.
Company officials placed newspapers and a short history of the ACC behind the stone.
In 1910 the southern portion of the building was added to house the Arizona New Mexico Railroad offices, an ACC subsidiary. This addition was constructed to match the northern half of the building exactly.
Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased the Arizona Copper Company in 1921 and used the building for their offices after acquiring the ACC assets. In 1922, Phelps Dodge sold Arizona New Mexico Railroad, freeing the southern end of the building for other business use. In February of 1922 the Gila Valley Bank & Trust Company, later merging with the Valley National Bank, had their offices in the southern portion of the building until December 1985.
The Clifton Elks Lodge #1174 was upstairs. Earl Rogge had his law office at the north end. BPOE later acquired ownership of the building and constructed the “New Northern Addition” in the early 1970s with an enclosed staircase to reach the upper lodge floor area with the street level used for the Elks social areas.
Though the years the ground level portion of the original building has been home to a variety of Clifton businesses: The Copper Era, Valley National Bank, Western Auto, Greenlee County Alternative School, Treasure Chest to name a few. The second floor was used exclusively by the “Clifton Elks Lodge #1174”.
Fall and Winter Fire Hazards
The recent summer rains that turned the hillsides green with rapid growth of vegetation (weeds) in Clifton/Morenci and around Greenlee County are now browning and beginning to dry. Weather conditions such as the fall winds quickly remove the moisture content of all the growing vegetation around our homes.
While the fall and winter weather months seem far ahead and may make you think of crackling fires and holiday cookies, it is also the time of year when you should be addressing potential home fire hazards that could put you and your family in danger. For providing fire protection around your home, follow the below guidelines:
Keep your property free of accumulated combustibles such as dried weeds, vegetation cuttings and trash. Remove dead leaves and pine needles from roofs and rain gutters. Maintain trees and shrubs making sure they are trimmed away from buildings and are free of all dead wood, dry leaves, etc.
Portable Space Heaters: Heaters should have automatic shut offs if and when tipped. Do not leave heaters unattended, especially if you have young children or pets. Create a safety zone. Also, be particularly careful with candles. Candles are now a part of the year for festiveness, but they can be dangerous in combination with decorations and other combustible materials. Never leave candles unattended.
Fireplaces: Always use a screen to prevent sparks and create a hearth safety zone that is at least three feet wide. Allow nothing flammable into that zone. Never leave the home or go to bed until you are certain that the fire is fully extinguished. Burn dry seasoned wood ONLY and never burn trash or holiday trees.
Stoves and Ovens: Never use the top burners or oven to heat your home. Teach children to stay away from hot surfaces.
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors should be installed on every level of the home and inside all bedrooms. They should be tested bi-annually, which will give your children a chance to hear and understand what the alarm means.
If you have a concern about fire hazards near or in your home, please call Angel Maldonado, Clifton’s Town Code Enforcement Officer at Town Hall (928-865-4146). She will investigate and determine what mitigation measures may be required.
Crime Prevention Watch
CALL THE CLIFTON POLICE DEPARTMENT or the GREENLEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity at the below telephone numbers:
Clifton Police Department: Emergency 911, 928-865-4145 or 928-865-4566
Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office: Emergency 911, or 928-865-4149
CrimeWatch Silent Witness: 928-865-1062
You can be the eyes and remember you can always remain anonymous!
Take Pride in Clifton!