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home : features : features May 31, 2016

5/7/2013 10:53:00 AM
Volunteers restore 1930s era sidewalks in Ash Fork, four plaques unveiled to commemorate restoration

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

For a time, dirt, weeds and trees overran the historic flagstone sidewalks in Ash Fork.

But a group of volunteers has restored four of the 1930s era sidewalks to pristine condition.

Yavapai County and the Ash Fork community unveiled four plaques to commemorate the sidewalk restoration April 29.

The federal Works Progress Administration built the sidewalks, which date back to sometime between 1936-1939.

"Back in the depression there was people that needed jobs, and it was a government job," said Fayrene Hume, president of the Ash Fork Historical Society.

Members of the Historical Society have been working for the last three years to get the sidewalks listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"They're unique sidewalks, and they've been in 75 years and what damage is done to them is what people have done to them," Hume said. "They have held up all these years."

So far volunteers have cleared the sidewalks on First through Fourth streets, but the residents know there are more throughout the city. A plaque describing the project is now located on each of the four streets.

Hume said the project is a lot of work.

"You shovel out the debris that gets built up in there and cut out the elm trees mostly, and pick up trash," she said. "So it's a job and we don't have city employees or anything here. It's all volunteers. It could all be taken care of if everybody would just do a little bit."

The volunteers who cleared the sidewalks include a group of Ash Fork high school students. As part of the Together We Build committee, the students worked to restore the sidewalk on Fourth Street between Lewis and Park avenues.

In the future, Hume hopes to uncover more of the sidewalks and continue working to get them on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hume believes more people are taking an interest in the project. A woman she didn't know recently approached her at the post office.

"She said, 'I just want to thank you, because you're sharing with us some history that we didn't even know.' And so that made my day," Hume said.

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