The final corner building at 921 Main Street, completed in 1915, was originally named the Bank of Jerome. Although named “Bank of Jerome” as designated by the blueprints drawn in 1913-14, there is no space labeled for it on the original blueprints.
Facing west on 10th Street was the W. P. Scott Undertaking Parlor, Chapel, and embalming room. The next business to the south was Upper Verde Public Utilities, which was where the residents paid their electric and water bills. The UVPU Manager’s Office, Secretary’s Office, and General Office were also located here. The original vault is still in place within the UVPU Manager’s Office space.
The ground floor on the north half, where a brewery and the Park Hotel lobby now exists, was the W. P. Scott Furniture Store. Halfway to the ceiling was a mezzanine and you can still see the floor supports on the east wall. Above it were 15 office spaces and on the north end were two dentist offices with a reception area.
Major renovation of this entire corner building was completed in 1927 by the United Verde Copper Company. The second floor was remodeled into six apartments. The north end apartment, now known as the Grand Room of Park Hotel, was nearly twice the size of the other apartments, and it is thought that perhaps the apartment manager lived there. A corridor occupied the interior east wall and was the access way to each apartment.
The Clarkdale Telephone Office began occupying the Undertaking Parlor and UVPU offices in 1927 until the early 1950s. The ground floor on the corner continued as a furniture store until the business moved to Cottonwood in 1932. From 1938-1935, Miner’s Hardware occupied the Main and 10th street corner on the lower level.
Craig and Becky Backus have lived in the Verde Valley since 1970, and have also raised two daughters in Clarkdale who have remained in the area. The Backus family also own a construction business, The Backus Building Companies, which was founded in 2000 and has operated continuously since then. In addition, they are active in the community. Craig sits on the Planning Commission for Clarkdale. Becky is an active volunteer for the Town of Clarkdale and the Downtown Business Alliance, and has always enjoyed working in customer service. The Backus family purchased this historic building in 2018, which is when they began their revitalization journey of creating both the Park Hotel and Smelter Town Brewery.
Two dental offices occupied the south end of the building after Dr. George McMillan relocated to Clarkdale during the Depression. Interestingly enough, he was often paid with produce, jewelry, watches that didn’t work, and guns that didn’t fire in return for his services.
Dr. McMillan remained in this building until 1943 when his business relocated. Several other dentists temporarily occupied the space until the 1950s.
After Miner’s Hardware closed in 1945, Lindner’s Showroom occupied this space from approximately 1946-1957. Lindner Motors was at a separate location on North Broadway, selling Oldsmobile and Chevrolet. Several photos show 1951 Chevrolets inside the showroom, which meant the company had to remove a portion of wall to drive them into the building.
After the telephone office moved to Cottonwood in the early 1950s, George Blount, a Land Surveyor, occupied one of the two smaller units created out of the larger telephone company space until 1977. Another office located here in 1953 was the Jerome District Forest Rangers, and Wayne Cook was the Ranger. Charlotte’s Beauty Shop had its start here in 1940, and continued until 1968-69. In 1960, a laundromat, Econowash, opened in this space and operated until 1978-1979. In 1970, Verde Valley Lock and Key continued in the same space.
The second floor apartments continued as living quarters until the mid 1970s when the entire building was purchased. The apartments were “modernized”, but by the early 1980s were closed.
Sometime during the 1980s, Transylvania International purchased the entire commercial block. They continued to rent out the business spaces until Searchlight Materials bought both the former movie theater and the corner. Meanwhile in the 1980s, the corner was converted into offices for attorney Duane Wiles, a video store followed, and Neil Hunt located his gallery here. His work consisted of custom belt straps, buckle making, silversmithing, and selling painting and sculptures by other local artists. Also in the 1980s, Reynold Radoccia, an architect and associate, moved in for a few years. In the 1990s a coffee shop and Wild Apache Internet Services followed.
In about 2000, Salsa de Border, owned by Kim and Carolyn Talbot, sold salsa and pre-packaged dehydrated items both retail and online. For a short while in 2013-14 an Italian Restaurant lasted a few months. Soon after, a kayak supplies store was here to supplement a hopeful kayaking economy base on the Verde River access in Clarkdale. The Alcora Marble fabricating showroom opened in June 2008, owned and operated by Earl and Ellie Bauer. In August 2009, the e-Go Gallery was combined with the Alcora business space, and the gallery was a permanent place for the Made In Clarkdale artists to display their works of art.
How We Got Here
In 2015, both 919 and 921 Main Street were purchased from Searchlight Minerals by Albert M. and Jodie S. Filardo. The property was absorbed into Clarkdale LLC, which Craig and Becky Backus joined as partners. The partnership split the properties into two separate parcels in 2018, and the Backus family then assumed ownership of 921 Main Street. The lower portion of the corner building is the new home of Smelter Town Brewery, and the lobby and entrance to Park Hotel is accessed on the lower level off of 10th Street, both businesses owned by the Backus family and established in 2020.