Clarkdale AZ (June 22, 2019) – First Friday – In their own words living history presentation will feature “From the Old Sullivan Ranch to the story of Clarkdale Artist Don Reitz and Today’s Reitz Ranch” on Friday, July 5, at 10:00am in the Historic Clark Memorial Clubhouse Mens’ Lounge. The program will be presented by Ben Roti, Ceramic Artist and former Studio Assistant to Ceramic Artist Don Reitz. Jerry Wombacher, Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum Historian, will also share some of his memories of the Old Sullivan Ranch which was part of Clarkdale’s ranching history from the late 1880’s forward. “I remember the Sullivan brothers from Jerome drove an old beat-up pickup truck down through Clarkdale nearly every day to go out to work the ranch off of Sycamore Canyon Road. The brothers parents owned the Sullivan Hotel in Jerome to the best of my knowledge” Wombacher said. “They got water for the ranch from a ditch that ran through the canyon and stored ranching equipment on the land, but I do not remember anyone actually living out there” he continued. The ranch is still located off of Sycamore Canyon Road near the TAPCO plant and is open by appointment only.
While the story begins with the ranching days of agricultural development, the ranch has transposed into several new adventures of economic development in more recent years. In 1988, ceramic artist Don Reitz bought the property where he established his studio and production facility for wood-fired pottery. Before arriving in Arizona, Reitz was named one of the top twelve world’s greatest living potters by Ceramic Monthly magazine. Reitz occupied the property where he referred to the Verde River as his “greatest inspiration” until his death in 2014.
Today, the thirteen plus acre ranch is known as Reitz Ranch Center for Ceramic Arts. Owned by ceramic artist Sheryl Leigh-DeVault and her husband Ted DeVault, it operates in the memory of Don Reitz as a working studio and production facility for wood-firing ceramic artists across the world. Ben Roti is currently a ceramics instructor and part of the team that is building the arts program at today’s Reitz Ranch.
Next month’s First Fridays-In their own words living history presentation is on August 2, at 10:00am in the Historic Clark Memorial Clubhouse Men’s Lounge. Featured speakers will be long-time Clarkdale resident Barbara DeVault and her daughters who will present “Mother and Daughter Views of Old Clarkdale”.
These programs are open to all. There is no admission to attend. Contributions are gratefully accepted. A suggested contribution of $5 per person helps the Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum to preserve, interpret and share the history and cultural heritage of the Clarkdale area. The Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Contributions are deductible to the extent the laws allow.
The Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum is Clarkdale’s only organization and museum totally dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, interpreting and sharing the heritage of the community and its citizens. For more information, please call 928-649-1198 or visit www.clarkdalemuseum.org. and find us on Facebook!