Holbrook’s crown jewel in dire need of repairs

Photo by Toni Gibbons Built in 1898, the Historic Navajo County Courthouse has seen 119 years of history come and go. It is estimated that during the summer months, more than 1,000 visitors stop by weekly.

By Toni Gibbons

She’s a grand old lady, but sadly, there are patches of daylight showing through her shingles and now the Historic Navajo County Courthouse, located in the center of Holbrook, needs a new roof job, and not just any roof job but a special one that will match modern day shingles with the Johns-Manville Asbestos Shingles that were placed on the building in 1929.

JoLynn Fox, one of the volunteers (or “closet cleaners” as Fox dubs herself) with the Navajo County Historical Society, shared that the original shingles were made with a mixture of asbestos and cement. And according to advertisement from the 1920’s they were “everlasting shingles that defy time and the elements.”

Over the past year concerns for the roof have grown. Receipt of a grant from the Route 66 Corridor provided Navajo County $7,000 to have an inspection and repair bid specifications completed this last summer. Fox said the inspector found places where he could see the sky through the roof.

A drone flight over the roof by the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department in September, further confirmed the damage that time and nature has taken. Fox also noted that repair job will be done with Castle Top metal shingles, “To match the historic value of the existing tiles and will cost at least $100,000.”

While Navajo County and the City of Holbrook have a joint agreement for the maintenance and care of the Historic Courthouse and surrounding grounds, Fox said she doesn’t know where the funding for the repair will come from. To her knowledge, the county has received one bid and is hoping for a total of three before more action will be taken. County administrators were unavailable for comment as of press time,

The Historical Society continuously works to raise funds to help with the overall maintenance of the building and preservation of the museum and its contents through the sale of books and memorabilia for children and adults. They also collect donations and hold raffles.

Currently, they have two raffles going. The first raffle is set to draw on Dec. 2 for either a set of petrified wood bookends or a slab of petrified wood donated by Jim Gray from the Petrified Wood Company in Holbrook. The cost is $3 for one ticket or $5 for two tickets.

The second raffle has a number of goodies, including a $200 gift certificate to the Christopher Creek Lodge; a two night stay at Aquarius Casino and Resort in Laughlin, Nevada; a pair of Diamondback tickets for the 2018 season; a pair of Suns tickets for the 2017-2018 season; or the chance to co-host a show with radio host Cindy Serna. The cost is $5 a ticket or three tickets for $10. The drawing will be held on Dec. 8.

Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Museum and Visitors Center can provide hours of enjoyment while browsing through the many rooms of historic displays. And if one is lucky, they might even meet one of the two resident ghosts.