Mar 232012

This photograph of the Navajo County Courthouse taken in the early 1900s shows that there has been little change to the structure itself since it was built in 1898. In later years, an addition was made on the west side of the building that now houses the historical society and chamber offices.


By Linda Kor —

The Historic Navajo County Courthouse lies as a jewel at the center of Holbrook. Built in 1898, it served as the county courthouse until 1976, and has been the site of many notorious trials, housed many criminals in its basement jail cells and is currently the site of the Navajo County Museum operated by the Navajo County Historical Society.

The 114-year-old building holds some of the broadest collections of the region’s history and is rumored to be the home of at least two ghostly apparitions. Visitors come from around the world to visit the courthouse and see the collections, stand behind the iron bars of the jail and take in history that spans hundreds of years. It also operates as an official Arizona Office of Tourism information center, houses the office of the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce, and provides an auditorium and use of the courtyard for community gatherings.

Maintaining the aging building, preserving its artifacts and cataloging its vast holdings is done by a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving our region’s history. Making certain that these things are preserved in-volves a great deal of work and funds. With that in mind, the historical society is currently conducting a mem-bership drive to encourage area participation in preserving the courthouse and all it encompasses. Proceeds from supporting membership dues, donations and sponsoring contributions for the historical society are tax deductible, and will be used to expand museum displays, preserve historical items, research, make general re-pairs to the museum and assist in matching funds for grant projects.

If you are a Navajo County resident, annual membership is just $10. Otherwise, individual memberships are $15; families, $35; supporting, $50; contributing, $100; and benefactor memberships, $250. A lifetime membership is $1,000 made as a one-time contribution and payable in four payments, if desired. For more information, call (928) 524-6558 or visit the historic courthouse and museum at 100 E. Arizona St.