Douglas Mansion project in Jerome wins Governor’s award

[Source: Philip Wright, Verde Independent] – Among the Governor’s Awards presented for Arizona Public Archaeology and Heritage Preservation announced June 24, was an award for the stabilization project of the Douglas Mansion at Jerome State Historic Park near Jerome. The award ceremony took place at the University Park Marriott in Tucson during the 9th Annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference. The DouglasMansionproject was recognized as a partnership among ArizonaState Parks, YavapaiCounty, the Town of Jeromeand the Jerome Historical Society.

The Jerome State Historic Park, with the Douglas Mansion as its centerpiece, reopened Oct. 14, after the stabilization project was completed. The popular state park was closed suddenly in February 2009 due to budget sweeps and needed repairs. No one was expecting the park to reopen in the foreseeable future. But a partnership of sorts among the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the State Parks Board, the Douglas family and the Town of Jerome gave the park new life. The partnership brought about the reopening of the park much sooner than expected.

Chip Davis, county supervisor for District 3, convinced the board to kick in $30,000. TheDouglas family chipped in $15,000, and the State Parks Heritage Fund came up with grants for the project. TheDouglasMansion was built in 1916 by Jimmy “Rawhide” Douglas, and it became a state park in 1965. Douglas designed the mansion as a home for his family and as a hotel for mining officials and investors. Originally, the mansion featured a billiard room, wine cellar and steam heat. Built from adobe bricks made on site, the home was well ahead of the times with a central vacuum system. Now the museum features many exhibits, mining artifacts, photographs, minerals and a three-dimensional model of Jerome with its underground mines and tunnels.

Jerome State Historic Park closes

It's quite possible these visitors are pondering the fate of Jerome's state park.

[Philip Wright, Verde Valley News] — Thursday will be the last day to visit Jerome State Historic Park.  “Thursday will be the last day,” said Mike Rollins, park manager.  He said he had “no idea” when the site will re-open.  The State Parks Board voted last Friday to close Jerome State Historic Park.  This Friday, the park will not open.  “Thursday will be the last day,” said Mike Rollins, park manager.  He said he had “no idea” when the site will re-open.

Jerome Mayor Al Palmieri thought the decision came about abruptly, leaving the town no time to offer alternate solutions.  “If they had given some warning, we might have been able to do something,” he said.  Palmieri said he thinks that if one or two park employees remained on site, the town could have put together a volunteer effort to keep it open. “At least on weekends,” he said.

Rollins said he will remain assigned to the park Monday through Fridays from 8 to 5, and his staff will be assigned to Dead Horse Ranch, Slide Rock, and Red Rock state parks.  “I’m still going to be here to manage the project whenever that starts,” Rollins said.  He explained that a renovation project will make some major repairs to the north side of the building.  That is the area where a large section of plaster fell off.  Part of the building was closed following that collapse.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]