It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly one year since the Yarnell Hill Fire was started by a lightning strike on June 28, 2013. The deadly fire took the lives of nineteen brave Granite Mountain Hot Shots and destroyed 127 homes in the unincorporated communities of Yarnell and Peeples Valley.
A Memorial Service is planned for Sunday, June 29, at 1 p.m. at Shrine Drive and Highway 89—the site of the Yarnell Fire Memorial Park. There will be an artistic interpretation of the 2013 events to remember the firefighters. On Monday, June 30, there will be a silent vigil at 4 p.m. for the families and the people of Yarnell. The public is welcome at both services.
Local townspeople reacted to the fire by immediately organizing to make sure that their neighbors were safe and taken care of. Through these volunteer efforts, residents began rebuilding and restoring their homes and lives.
This includes the Yarnell Hill Fire Memorial Park, which is a project of the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group and the Yarnell Community. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is helping with the landscape design. Several fund raising events have been organized to help with the building costs. Bricks being used in the Park are available for individual purchase and proceeds will support the building fund. For information, go to www.yarnellhillrecoverygroup.org, visit Yarnell Hill Recovery Group on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chuck Tidey at 928-273-6623.
Shops, Restaurants Open for Business
Although the fire came close to businesses along Highway 89, it did not destroy those buildings. During the two weeks that people were not allowed into their town, business owners weren’t sure what they’d find and were quite relieved to see that their businesses were intact. Loss of income made it hard for some, but losing an entire business and livelihood would have been devastating.
Because I’ve become friends with shop owners in the area, I wanted to know how the folks in Yarnell were doing now so I decided to go and see for myself. It helped that I had been promised 12 to 15 degree cooler temperatures—on a day when Phoenix was 105 degrees—and I was not disappointed! A nice breeze was blowing, making it very pleasant going in and out of the shops along the main street.
My first stop was at Days of Vintage near the far end of town. This store has a huge yard full of architectural salvage, signage, wooden doors, wagon wheels and lots of rustic pieces. Inside the store there is an eclectic array of furniture, collectibles, books, maps, knickknacks, jewelry and more. Exploring these treasures at Days of Vintage is lots of fun so allow yourself plenty of time.
Owner Mike Thomas opened his store in May 2013; before that he was a dealer at Merchant Square in Chandler. Plans are in the works for a new store, Route 89 Road Relics, to open soon in Yarnell so watch for the announcement in a future issue of The Antique Register.
Mike started offering Antique Swap Meets in May and there are two more scheduled for this summer—Saturday, July 5, and Saturday, August 30. There will be 20 to 25 vintage and antique vendors with hours from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then, starting at about 4 p.m., there will be a Barbeque and a band. For more information about the Swap Meets, call Mike at 480-363-4920 or the store at 928-427-0018. Days of Vintage is located at 22020 S. State Route 89 and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website at www.daysofvintage.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DaysOfVintage.
Next I visited two side-by-side shops on Route 89—Arizona Gypsy Boutique and Painted Lizard. Colorful hollyhocks growing out front make these shops easy to find. Also out front—as well as around town—are wooden turkey vultures that businesses and individuals have purchased from the Chamber of Commerce to paint, dress up and display. The vultures have long been the unofficial mascot of Yarnell and an annual Buzzard Bash celebrates the vultures’ return each year in May. The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group created an image for the rebuilding of Yarnell using the vulture rising like a Phoenix from the flames.
I ended my exploration at Yarnell Emporium with owner Ed Williams who welcomed me and showed me around. Bright colors and fun whimsical yard art in the front courtyard make the Emporium’s two buildings stand out. Each one is full of antiques, home décor, clothing, gift items and furniture. And there is a new Garden Store.
Located on the upper level is the Bunkhouse Getaway—the perfect place to get away from everything and enjoy a leisurely yet luxurious overnight, weekend or longer escape. With a western décor, this one bedroom apartment is not rustic but has all the modern comforts of home—king-sized bed, full screen TV, Internet and a complete kitchen with upgraded appliances. For information or reservations, call Ed at 928-427-9593 or go to www.yarnellbunkhouse.com.
Open for seven years, Yarnell Emporium is located at 22749 S Highway 89 and is open daily. Ed says he really enjoys not only the Yarnell location, but also the friends he has made in this small friendly community. Visit www.yarnellemporium.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/yarnellemporium for more information.
Stop by to explore the shops and yard art or call ahead and stay at the Bunkhouse to spend a couple of days discovering Yarnell’s fun and unique shops along Highway 89. When you get hungry, the shop owners are happy to direct you to one of the local restaurants in town or in nearby Peeples Valley.
Yarnell is a short drive from Prescott or Phoenix on Highway 89. With many shops to explore and cooler temperatures, it is a fun excursion.