Noted Arizona historian, Noel Stowe, has passed away

Professor Noel Stowe, a member of the Arizona Heritage Alliance since 1994, came to Arizona State University in 1967, after receiving his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and teaching briefly at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. In 1978, he became the History Department’s director of graduate study. In his eight years in that position he expanded the master’s and doctoral degree programs and founded the Public History Program, which under his direction achieved national and international recognition. He directed more than fifty graduate theses and dissertations. His students have gone on to direct public history programs at other universities, and to work in museums, historical societies, and archives across the country.

In 1987, Stowe became assistant dean of the Graduate College, and in 1991 he became associate dean. He promoted ASU’s participation in national projects funded by the Pew Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation. He was dedicated to improving the graduate experience of students throughout the university and to promoting the admission and success of minority students. After a year as interim dean, he returned to the history department, which he chaired from 1998 to 2006. Stowe was also a productive scholar, with three books and more than a dozen articles published. He directed grant-funded projects of more than $1 million.

At ASU, his achievements in teaching and service were recognized with the Faculty Achievement Award, the Gary S. Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award, the Faculty Appreciation Award, and the History Associates Award. Stowe worked tirelessly on the national stage to broaden the opportunities for historians beyond the walls of the university. He was one of the founders of the National Council on Public History and served as its president in 1985-86. He had represented NCPH as a delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies since 2005.

Stowe became active in the Oral History Association in the 1980s. He was a member of the Executive Board of the Southwest Oral History Association from 1989 to 1994 and its resident in 1992-93. He was a lifetime member of the Organization of American Historians. He participated in the work of the American Historical Association  as a member of the Committee on Redefining Scholarly Work in 1992-94; as a participant in the AHA’s Wingspread Group on the Future of the History Master’s Degree in 2005; and as a member of the Task Force on Public History from 2001-2005. He worked on the Program Committee for the American Association for State and Local History from 2002 to 2007.

Stowe was a westerner and had lived in the Phoenix area for more than forty years. His interest in Arizona history led to contributions far beyond the ASU campus. He was a member of both the state and local boards of the Arizona Historical Society and helped establish Friends of Arizona Archives, serving as their vice president and as a member of their advisory board. His work with the Coordinating Council for History in Arizona enhanced both training and the exchange of expert knowledge among workers in Arizona cultural institutions. He was a member of the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission and was particularly excited about the coming centennial of statehood, having organized a conference for the seventy-fifth anniversary that resulted in the publication of “Arizona at Seventy-Five: the Next Twenty-Five Years (1987),” which he co-edited. In August 2008, he and a team of researchers received a National Endowment for the Humanities planning grant to design and implement “Becoming Arizona, an online encyclopedia of Arizona history, culture, politics, economics and other topics as a Centennial project. He worked closely with the Arizona Humanities Council, who presented him with the Friend of the Humanities Award in 2004. In June 2008 he received the Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award. When he and his family moved to Chandler, he helped found the public history program and the city museum.

Stowe is survived by his wife, Gwen. Their son, James, died in 2007. He and his family request that donations in his memory be made to The Noel J. and Gwen J. Stowe Public History Endowment, 40-A-MLHS0003, to support scholarly activities in public history in the Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe campus.

Volunteers contribute to better understanding of prehistoric peoples

[Source: Williams, Jackie Banks, Kaibab National Forest] — Archaeology is good dirty fun! Or so proclaims the bumper sticker on the truck owned by the Kaibab National Forest’s heritage program manager. And, many people seem to agree, if the volunteer turnout at this year’s Passport in Time project is any indication. From Sept. 21-27, 17 volunteers contributed 880 hours to helping Forest Service archaeologists understand more about the prehistoric people who lived in the lands south of the Grand Canyon that are now part of the Kaibab National Forest.

“This program is so enjoyable,” said Ted Ockrassa, a retired photographer for the Department of the Army who traveled from Salome to participate. “I’ve been interested in archaeology all my life. I kind of missed my calling.”

Passport in Time is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the Forest Service. The goal of PIT is to preserve the nation’s past with the help of the public. Volunteers work with professional Forest Service archaeologists on diverse activities such as surveys and excavation, rock art restoration, historic structure restoration, analysis of artifacts and more. The Kaibab National Forest has hosted a PIT project annually for the last 18 years. Over those years, more than 300 volunteers have contributed about 13,000 hours to the Kaibab heritage program. That equals more than six person years of work completed by volunteers.

Our Opinion: Downtown Tucson’s Fox Theatre is worth the investment

[Source: Tucson Citizen, Letters to the Editor] – – The Fox Theatre is going through challenging financial times – hardly surprising when the same can be said for most nonprofits, and for General Motors, Citigroup, the state of Arizona, and federal government.  But there is no reason to give up on the Fox – a 1930 movie palace that has been restored into a sparking icon of downtown Tucson.

There will be difficult times ahead for the Fox. The cost to restore it ballooned from the $5 million to $7 million range to about $13 million before it reopened Dec. 31, 2005. The Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation had to borrow $5.6 million from the city, and the loan must be repaid starting in 2011.  But it also is important to look at the successful side of the Fox.  Since it has reopened, the Fox has averaged 152 events per year – about three per week. In 2007, the entertainment options at the Fox represented about 31 percent of all downtown events. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Springerville celebrates historic school’s comeback

[Source:, Larisa Bogardus] – – Echoes of footsteps, laughter and chatter recently brought the historic Springerville Elementary School back to life again for a day. State and local officials as well as supporters of the building’s rehabilitation celebrated the long-awaited project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 21, followed by a brief tour of the site.

“The old school will be a jewel for this community and its citizens to enjoy in the future,” Town Manager Steve West said. “We all should realize its value historically as well as the potential it will have as a meeting place and museum for the people of Round Valley.”  The $250,000 project is funded by an Arizona Heritage Fund preservation grant, a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant facilitated by Congressman Rick Renzi and a Community Development Block Grant. Interior work began in early October and includes handicapped ramps, ADA rest rooms, HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. Arizona Department of Transportation widened the entry drive from Main Street as part of an intergovernmental agreement for services.  Workers for Hamblin Building Systems of Eagar will replace the exterior windows and doors this winter in preparation for new stucco and paint in the spring. Exterior stairs will be replaced and new ramps will be installed as well.  [Note: to read the full article click here.]