Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clemenceau's Cookbook

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY EVERYONE!!  Do something special for your Valentine and cook dinner or better yet, take them out to Cracker Barrel!!  And for my bestest best friend ever, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Miss Patty!!  I hope you have a wonderful day with Laila and find the backing material for your quilt!
On to Clemenceau's Cookbook .... At one time there were many small towns in this area of Arizona, including Clemenceau and Centerville.  Now they are all included in Cottonwood, so in order to sort them out, check out the Clemenceau Heritage Museum.  It's very small but there's some interesting things here and I guarantee you will learn something from the pioneers that volunteer and give tours.  Check the days and hours, as they are not open every day.
No, it's not the best museum I've ever been in, but the enthusiasm of the volunteers makes up for that.  They are SO happy that you came by, they will give you personal tours filled with lots of anecdotes that you would otherwise never know.  We had a great time and laughed a lot!!!  This town was originally named Verde after James Douglas Jr.'s mine, the United Verde Extension in Jerome, the OTHER big mine.  The museum is located in the Old Public School building on Willard Avenue, just behind the Hospital.
Clemenceau was a company town for Douglas' smelter which he built in 1917.  In 1920, he changed the name to honor the French premier in World War I, Georges Clemenceau, a personal friend of his.  To deliver ore to his smelter, Douglas built the Arizona-Extension Railway, a shortline railroad, between Clemenceau and Josephine Tunnel, which connected to the United Verde Mine.  The eastern branch ran between Clemenceau and Clarkdale.  This picture is of the Clarkdale Smelter, just because it was the best of the two to photograph!!  My tour guide said people who lived close to the smelter had a terrible time breathing from the constant spewing of smoke.  
Shame on me for not remembering the gentlemen's name who led my tour of one.  He had so many stories, including when he was younger and went to the Reservation south of Cottonwood and picked up this tiny pot in the middle from a 10 year old Indian boy just learning the pottery craft.  He gave him $10, which thrilled the little boy to no end.
Did you know there were dairies in Jerome and Cottonwood?  He can tell you exactly where they were and which dairy delivered to his house.  There are too many exhibits here to show you everything, you'll just have to come and check it out.  
Apparently my guide is in charge of what is displayed in each room of the school.  He was very proud of this scene ... even going to far as to find mannequins of the correct year to show off his kitchen wares.  The baby was barefoot for some time before he went to the thrift store and found some tennis shoes that fit perfectly!!  We had a good laugh over that one!!  Next door is a bedroom scene with Grandma sleeping in bed.  He even found a grey wig for her.  Check out the floor ... it's linoleum of the oldest kind with an ancient pattern, salvaged from an old house.  
And this one too.  He got the biggest kick out of LAST LUNCH being mouse bait.  He's very careful about which items he displays and is very proud of this museum.  I'm guessing he's in his 80's and sharp as a tack.  What a wonderful gentleman to escort me around.
Many of the locals have donated pictures.  This lady is riding a gorgeous paint horse on her ranch located here.  At 88 years old, she comes at her appointed time every week to help out in the museum.   I bet SHE would be interesting to talk to!!
This school was originally a grammar school, later including high school kids.  They have pictures of every graduating class, where I learned who was still living, what they did and what happened to the rest.  
The trains I mentioned above, not only brought people from Prescott, but logs to the sawmill near Clemenceau.  Yup ... there was a sawmill here, owned by the Petersens.  They were able to divert water from the Verde River to a spot where the logs could be dumped, then run through their sawmill.    It ran from 1945 to 1961.  Although there was a carriage to take you to Cottonwood, passengers from the trains that stopped in Jerome, opted to walk down the hill instead.  No kidding ... that's pretty steep and a lot of weight for two horses to hold back.  Apparently they just went REAL FAST, which is why everyone walked!!
Ever heard of the board game Decoy??  Me neither, but they have one here.  The description that comes with the game says the ducks are highly decorated with paint.  Looks like they're just painted one solid color to me!!  With 8 pages of rules, I doubt many played this game!!
On the wall is painted a scene that includes Jerome, Cottonwood, the smelters and a power plant.  He was really proud of this scene too because he found plastic barbed wire (something I've never heard of in all MY years), attached it to the fence by the cattle and draped it across the floor.  On the other side, he built a telephone pole in the room and ran wires from it to the power plant in the scene.  It really was a cute idea ... and he was very pleased!!
This is a replica of a first grade classroom ... including the picture of George Washington.  He was quick to ask me if I knew about the picture.  No ... what SHOULD I know??  That the painter (I've forgotten the name) was painting this portrait when Washington died ... so he stopped out of respect, and never finished it.  Who knew THAT one??
I finally came to the Railroad Diorama.  Okay, it's not the best in the world, or the best in the country, but it is the best in Clemenceau.  This is the Railroad Clubs "baby".  They had the best time putting it together and making it look like it did back in the heyday of copper mining.  Both mines and smelters are represented, as are Jerome and Cottonwood.  One member had a huge collection of tiny cars and people, which fell to the club when he passed away, all of which are here.
As you walk around, you will see more scenes than you can imagine.  This image shows the cement plant, one of three that supply all of the cement for Arizona and then some.  Here's another piece of info ... this plant was sold to the reservation where the Indians revamped the entire thing, making it one of the biggest cement plants that runs 24 hours a day.  It is so automated that it only takes three people to run the entire operation!!
I didn't show it here, but when the Clarke mine caught fire, it burned for about 20 years.  They never really could figure out a way to stop it.  So Mr. Clarke, multi multi multi billionaire that he was, tore down his smelter, moved it further south and proceeded to tear apart the entire mountain to the bottom of the mine shafts, gathering material for his smelter along the way and finally getting the fires put out by just hauling the rock away.  Now completed, the railroad club doesn't have much to do ... it's kind of boring just watching the trains go around, so I suggested they put in a large trestle and go UP ... run trains around the TOP of the room!!  
Like I said, this isn't the biggest or fanciest museum you will ever see.  It's the people that make this a MUST see.  They are so dedicated to this project that you can't help wanting to give them a few dollars.  It's donation only, so throw them some money, meet some really nice people and tell them Nancy the RV Lady sent you!  They will be VERY appreciative!!

Just to help a little more, they have a small gift shop with lots of books for sale and a few knick knacks, so I purchased another "local" cookbook.  THIS one is different however ... all the recipes came from the MEN of Verde Valley, not the women!!  The sweet lady in the store said her husband has two recipes in here ... of which she was rightly proud!!!
Today at the museum they are having their annual American Craft Show, which they were setting up yesterday.  I'm sure I can find a few more things to help their pocketbook ... small gifts for friends.  So don't be surprised if you get an odd gift or two from me!!

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