Putting Globe on the Map

As the gritty old mining town tries to broaden its economic base, residents debate how much of its future lies in its past

Bill Haak, a town historian, says some of the buildings were torn down. Others had modern glass fronts applied. "The irony," he says, "is that within 10 years or so, the highway folks built a bypass, so the traffic didn't have to go through downtown anymore."

Preservationists say the losses haven't done much to increase the city's diligence about preserving what architectural historians and others consider one of the state's richest concentrations of historic downtown buildings. Reyna Barela, who managed Globe's Main Street program from 1987 to 1995 and now manages the Main Street program in Apache Junction, says past Globe city officials simply haven't appreciated the architectural trove the town has.

"There's no question that their historic heritage and fabric is probably one of the best in the state. But when I was there, they were just plain negligent about it. There's no other word for it. I think their attitude was: If somebody wants to come in and fix up a building, fine, but don't come to us for help."

Franquero and other city officials say no one loves the town's old buildings more than they do. In addition to its restoration of the Amster building, the city, Franquero says, plans to purchase and restore the old downtown railroad depot, and has established a new historic preservation commission.

Barela and others point out that initially, although the historic commission was supposed to be a city responsibility, no one at the city was willing to embrace it.

"I was the only one who kept the file--essentially doing the city's job for them--because I knew the importance and relevance of keeping the commission functioning," she says.

Having a historical commission is required for a city to qualify as a state-certified local government (CLG). The CLG designation, which Globe received in 1986, allows municipalities to apply for state and federal preservation grants.

State records show that, compared with other small Arizona towns, Globe has sought and received relatively few HP grants over the years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Barela and the state historic preservation office repeatedly warned Globe officials that they were jeopardizing the town's CLG status by failing to keep an active commission.

Globe's early troubles were typical of many rural towns with similar commissions: They had difficulty mustering enough Globe resident/volunteers with the state-required expertise in architecture, history, archaeology, real estate and related fields. These criteria never fail to arouse small-town concerns about ceding local authority to a bunch of outside eggheads. But Frankeberger says small towns are commonly able to find the help they need among the staff of nearby museums, universities or junior colleges.

Barela and the state historic preservation office also suggested that Globe loosen its HP ordinance to allow non-Globe residents to serve on the commission.

But Barela and others complain that the city failed to follow through.
"They wouldn't officially appoint a commission, then they would," she says. "And whenever we'd lose commissioners, the city would take six months to replace them."

When I recently asked to see the city's historic-commission file, no one at the city could find it. Carrillo says the Main Street program was responsible for the file and kept it at its office. But Connie Teague, chair of the new historic preservation advisory commission and manager of Historic Globe Main Street, a locally funded offshoot of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street program, says she turned the file over to the city two years ago.

Critics say the city's confusion or indifference about its preservation role has left its downtown historic district vulnerable to quick decisions. Over the years, Globe has razed buildings in its historic downtown without consulting the commission. Around 1993, it permitted metal storage sheds to be built on an empty lot in the historic district, ignoring recommendations for design changes from the then-active historic commission. And last year, preservationists say, it tore down some old bungalows in the downtown.

"All they needed really was some TLC," says Sarah Day, who moved here around 1990. "They were Craftsman-style bungalows. And just like the Enders building, the next thing you know the city's out there with a front-end loader, smashing them in."

Mayor Franquero and other city officials say the only thing the bungalows shared with the Enders property was a dilapidation that made them uninhabitable fire hazards.

Michael Day says the fate of the bungalows was set "five or six years ago when the city let those metal storage sheds go in.

"I stood up then and told the council that this is the way the town gets seedy. This is the way people get the impression that it's not a good place to live, or a place that really cares about itself. But this town is going to turn around in spite of what the city has done."

Preservationists say that reversal began with the elections last March. For the first time in recent memory, all of the town's elected officials were challenged. Franquero, a six-year incumbent, defeated Day. However, four of the six councilmembers were unseated.

The revolution didn't end there.
Last month, the new council forced the resignation of the town's manager, Steve Stratton, and briefly considered asking building inspector Carrillo to step down. Downtown preservationists say that historic preservation probably wasn't much of a campaign issue outside the downtown area. Yet they say the city's failure to protect its heritage reflected what many voters saw as its broader failure to protect the town's basic interests.

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