4/23/2013 10:00:00 AM Parks General Store to celebrate more than 100 years as the social hub of community Three day event April 26-28 to feature community yard sale, raffle, good food and good conversation
From left: Doris Tieman, Bert Tieman and Ira Kilbourne reminisce about Parks history around the wood stove in the Parks General Store. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Community members can celebrate the Parks General Store’s 107th anniversary Friday through Sunday at the store. Ryan Williams/WGCN
It's not uncommon to walk into the Parks General Store and find residents seated around the stove in the center of the room talking.
For more than 100 years, the Parks General Store has not only been a place to shop, but a place for the community to gather.
"This is a good hangout. People come in here and have a laugh, they come in here and drink coffee and tell stories," said Aaron Hausmann, who runs the store.
Parks residents can celebrate the history of Parks General Store at a 107th Anniversary Celebration on April 26-28. Hausmann and his wife Melody are organizing the event. Free spaces are available for a community yard sale. There will also be food and raffles.
"This is all about getting people together and having fun," Hausmann said. "This is about people meeting people and know who your neighbor is and everybody just having a good time."
The Parks General Store is a local landmark.
"When (my husband) Bert tells people where we live, he says we live one mile west of the store on Old Highway 66," said resident Doris Tieman.
Some Parks residents remember when the entrance to the store was in what is now the rear of the building or when there was a meat counter in the back of the store. They also remember the store's days as a post office.
"I think the store's always been a place, especially when the mail box was here, that neighbors just met neighbors," said Ira Kilbourne.
Residents also remember when the general store used to have two payphones in front.
"That's where we used to have to come to make any kind of telephone calls or anything," Kilbourne said.
Parks was originally called Maine.
While accounts vary, the Williams-Grand Canyon News archives report that John T. Dennis started the Maine Post Office in a boxcar depot in 1898. It moved two miles north in 1907.
In the 1920s, Harold Longfellow and Harold Cameron established a tourist stop with a filling station and grocery store, according to information from "Mountain Town - Flagstaff's First Century" by Platt Cline.
The store eventually became the Parks General Store. The store still has the original flooring and stove today.
The Hausmann family bought the store about 18 months ago.
However, the Hausmanns have a long history in Parks. In 1947, Helmuth and June Hausmann (Aaron's grandparents) bought land for $3,500 that they called the Peaceful Valley Ranch, according to Williams-Grand Canyon News archives. The couple had seven children, who helped out on the ranch.
The family farmed in the 1950s on Peaceful Valley Ranch, growing oat hay and raising chickens and long-haired sheep. They lived almost entirely off the land.
Aaron Hausmann remembers coming to the general store as a kid, as did his father Robert.
"My dad stole his first piece of bubblegum from here and I stole my first candy bar here when I was eight," he said.
Hausmann said in the time he's been running the store, the Parks community has been welcoming.
"This is like family here. Everybody loves everybody," he said. "They'll do anything. If you break down out in the street, if you got a flat tire, they'll come help you. That doesn't happen too much around anywhere else. But in this place, people stick together, they'll support you."