By Julie Wiessner
The preservation of old photographs, books and documents is a top priority for the Navajo County Historical Society. So is making new displays of archived items. Both are happening at the Historic Navajo County Courthouse/Museum in Holbrook.
Many volunteers have helped to get the memorabilia out of the archive room, organized and on display. Recent efforts include those by Mary Bragg, who worked on the Route 66 display; Barbara Foree, who studied the Blevins information and created the display that now hangs inside the old courtroom; Sherri Dupeé, who is entering all information on Past Perfect software; and Jayla Allen, who is typing all obituaries to be entered into the historical records. These are only a few of the volunteers who have helped get the old courthouse organized.
Other displays include the George Smiley bulletin board; a natural resource section in northeast Arizona that includes Arizona Public Service information; the old Holbrook Oil Fields of 1918 and a potash display, both of which are in the same area of the Holbrook Basin; and a wind power bulletin.
More new displays include the Charlie Lisitzky and A.B. Schuster’s business display; Lloyd Henning, state legislator and businessman; Jo Woods, who was involved with the newspaper; a law showcase and a bulletin of judges who served in the historic courthouse; and four military cases from the different wars.
The Route 66 auditorium has been remodeled, and a ceiling mounted digital projector and screen, and theatre seats have been installed. The society’s interim director, JoLynn Fox, noted that local groups can now hold meetings there because of outside access. They must contact the old courthouse to make arrangements for the outside door key ahead of time.
Besides being remodeled, inside the auditorium is an old jukebox full of ‘60s and ‘70s music, images of old Route 66 by Dale Schicketanz and various photos on the wall from different decades depicting the changes in Holbrook over the years.
The Navajo County Historical Society is accredited by the Arizona Historical Society to protect any item that is brought in to be scanned or donated. A scanned item is immediately returned to its owner with credit given to the person who brought in the original. Donations of items are also accepted.
According to Fox, “It is our task to protect what we are charged with for our children’s children. We value the donations made to the NCHS collections and work to make certain the original donor is credited as being the owner.”
Fires, floods, relocations and other natural or personal issues are all good reasons to bring in historical information, such as a family photograph collection, so it can be recorded and preserved.
By Julie Wiessner