Stream lined steel against prickly saguaros bouncing along a lonely highway in a Chevy Apache truck with Duane Eddy, Hard Times playing on the radio. Where did this 1950’s Task Force classic go in Arizona? How many drive in movies, construction sites or big flat tires in the middle of nowhere did it carry? This truck supposedly came originally from California and rode out to Arizona and then bought from Donnie Gideon of Arizona Gin Supply.
Donnie Gideon of Buckeye
Arizona Gin Supply has been rebuilding cotton gins in Buckeye and world wide since 1973. With his Get It Done Right spirit, Donnie was able to bring this 1959 Chevrolet Apache Truck back to the living!
Stacy Gideon at Arizona Gin Supply
“We just started tearing things apart and fixing what we could”, says Donnie when he first bought the truck in 2016. All the body parts are original. Nothing had to be after market. The body was sanded down, primed and painted indigo blue. There were redundant power wires that had to be pulled out and a new fuse box was installed. “There are a few employees at O’ReillyAuto Parts that really know older vehicles!” said Donnie when he revealed where he bought the majority of the parts for this Work Force Truck fix up.
Donnie, who likes the feel of an old car but still wants to be safe, added subtle things to the engine that you would never see unless you pop the hood. If someone walked up to the truck it would take them a minute to realize original features have been changed. He added custom flame brackets, blue accent lights, air conditioning and other safety features to the truck. He restored the truck back to the 50’s as best he could.
Custom Steel Flame
“It’s got the original 235 engine. These trucks you don’t drive you,YOU herd them between the lines.”, said Donnie.
Custom Bracket Holds Everything In
He put a lot of money and time into the suspension, he didn’t want to loose all the hard work just because he hit a pot hole. Donnie depends on the experts like Alyron Customs of Tonopah, AZ who do upholstery and Guillermo Lopez, 623-449-2608 Auto & Diesel mechanic of Buckeye, Arizona. Donnie also works with Contempo Upholstery located on the same property as Arizona Gin Supply. Some parts also came from Napa Auto Partsof Buckeye.
Chevy Apache Interior
If your an automobilia fan like Donnie Gideon, you want to see more of these old cars driving on the road here in Historic Downtown Buckeye, Arizona. “There were some really cool cars driving in Buckeye in the 1950’s – we got to get them out driving again!” Donnie and other Buckeye locals are starting up Buckeye Cruisers, a club for automobilia enthusiasts.
You will have your chance to drive your old car, truck, import, motorcycle or bicycle at the Buckeye OktoberfestCar Show October 13, 2018 in front of Buckeye City Hall, 530 East Monroe Avenue, registration is 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and the show ends at 1 p.m.
Last month was the National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Buckeye Main Street Coalition members Jay Broadbent, Charlene Powers, Brian and Kristi McAchran and Lara Serbin were fortunate to attend this important event. We had many opportunities to talk to others who are doing similar events, facade improvements and fundraising. We saw a different perspective on how to improve historic downtown Buckeye.
The Omni Hotel hosted the conference with ongoing workshops and a trade show. Learning sessions included topics like crowdfunding, volunteerism, historic preservation, museums, festivals and engaging your community.
Mobile Workshops explored downtown districts located in and around Atlanta. City staff, Managers, Main Street volunteers and business owners lead walking tours and explained lessons learned regarding revitalization. There are so many creative ideas that came from these tours. Meeting other Main Street members was a significant way to affirm or re-examine how we do things.
I specifically went on the Madison, Georgia tour to learn how they revitalized downtown with community funding. Madison founded in 1809 is one hour from Atlanta and PGA Masters in Augusta and an active historic district with 600 buildings. Exiting the freeway, the country road leading to Madison was welcoming with widely spaced historic homes. Mayor Perriman was there to greet us with a short and sweet introduction. Any place that has a coffee table book called Madison, A Classic Southern Town just speaks for itself.
Madison, GA New Town Park
The tour began at Madison Town Park that covered 2 blocks in the heart of the railroad industrial district. It was easy to find bearings quickly with the before and after photos posted on each corner. There was so much to cover we zipped along from point to point.
New buildings that surround the Madison Town Park have either mixed-use with retail and residential or commercial. Some of the buildings really looked historic even though they were new construction. I couldn’t be fooled. There were great efforts to reproduce by-gone historic landmarks within this park like the fountain was recreated from some pieces found from local citizens and across the country to match what was missing . The fundraising goal in 2009 was $4.5 million which $2 million was raised completely by local citizens.
New Made to Look Historic
On either side of the park was mixed-use condos. First floor retail and two story condos in the back. Architectural details were collected by Monica Callahan, Planning Development for the Downtown Development Association who sent developers stacks of photos of how she wanted the building to look. She added value by exploring details from surrounding historic towns.
Loft Overlooking Town Park
Inside the condos, spaces were tall and roof decks looked over the park. No condos can be leased. Another variation of this was across the park. Here the living lofts were on the 3rd floor of The James Madison Inn. One owner had a personal elevator from the lobby of the hotel to the living room of his home. As we begin to develop design guidelines here in Buckeye these ideas from Madison will add to our understanding of mixed-use.
For more information: https://buckeyemainstreet.org/old-site/national-main-streets-conference-atlanta-2015/
Last month was the National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Buckeye Main Street Coalition members Jay Broadbent, Charlene Powers, Brian and Kristi McAchran and Lara Serbin were fortunate to attend this important event. We had many opportunities to talk to others who are doing similar events, facade improvements and fundraising. We wanted a different perspective on how to improve historic downtown Buckeye. March 30 through April 1st was packed with learning sessions at the Omni Hotel. Below are some of the sessions offered:
The Museum on Main Street: The Smithsonian Comes to Town
A Rule Breakers Guide to Accessible, Sustainable and Economical Brick Streetscapes
Understanding Today’s Sponsors, Matching their expectations to your needs
People Power: Engaging Your Community Members
Activating Space with Community Partnerships
Defining value in down town festivals and events
Crowdfunding for Public Spaces and Community Places
Mobile Workshops explored downtown districts located in and around Atlanta. City staff, City Managers, Main Street volunteers and business owners took us on walking tours and explained lessons learned regarding revitalization. There are so many lessons and creative ideas that came out of these tours. Meeting other Main Street members was a significant way to affirm or re-examine how we do things. We went to Atlanta to make our downtown Buckeye better.
Buckeye Main Street Coalition at Atlanta National Conference
Atlanta: Historic Downtown Tour
This tour was led by Paul Hammock, Director of Education at the Atlanta Preservation Center. He took us to Five Points, Grant Park and Martin Luther King National Monument. He pointed out the wall of mega buildings dividing circulation. Many historic buildings have been demolished. As with any well developed urban core there have been preservation losses and few wins. He took us to a 1950’s parking structure where the Victorian Kimball House Hotel the most beautiful hotel in Atlanta used to stand.
Kimball House Hotel, Atlanta, GA
1950’s Parking Structure, replaced Kimball House Hotel
The biggest win for the city of Atlanta is the Fox Theater saved by the wrecking ball by the local citizens. A 1928 lavish theater house with Egyptian and Moorish style interior, halls for dining and outdoor roof decks.
Fox Theater, Atlanta
The Opening Plenary Session took place at the Fox Theatre and Buckeye Main Street Coalition held the Arizona sign proudly! The most memorable stop was Grant Park, a mile south of downtown. The Atlanta Preservation Center purchased Atlanta’s most significant and endangered house in Atlanta, the antebellum Lemuel P. Grant Mansion. Back in the day this house was king of the hill with acres of cotton. Now the single story is shoe horned among historic homes. Inside the spaces there are artifacts like stair stringers propped up against the exposed thick walls resembling rammed earth walls of the southwest. Before Atlanta Preservation bought this place it looked like a Roman ruin with no roof and nature taking over. This building restoration gives gave me great hope for the Buckeye Historic Courthouse and Jail that is in such need of stabilization.
The original wood panel flank the tall window openings. The last stop in the city core was the Martin Luther King National Monument Landmark. Several city blocks are reserved for a museum, crypt, visitor center and the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Martin Luther King National Monument
I sat in the church pew and listened to Dr. King to rest from taking photos. The space had a simple interior and intricate stained glass. It was a sacred space well cared for.
Tactical Urbanism: 10 Ways to Restore Your Downtown for $500 or Less
In between the mobile tours there were educational workshops. A huge drop cloth, stack of wood pallets and tools told me this was a hands-on 3 hour course. There were 10 different Tactical Urbanism projects happening simultaneously.
Tactical Urbanism Workshop
Volunteers were asked to build things like a flower display and adirondack chair from wood pallets. Even though a lot of it was staged like a cooking show on Food Network, it held my attention. While volunteers were constructing, cutting and bolting the mediator was fielding questions like how to not get in trouble with the highway department after tagging bicycle symbols on downtown streets.
Powers and Sedig at Hands-On Workshop
Tactical Urbanism Workshop
Maybe that is how most of us want to learn now, with chaos. At the end of 3 hours the teams had constructed a “Parklet”, chairs set on top of a raised platform with movie screen backdrop. I think most folks on Main Street organizations are finding ways to get their projects completed lighter, quicker and cheaper. I walked away with ideas on how to make future workshops in downtown Buckeye more interactive and fun.
Monroe: Creating a Downtown Destination through Local Investors Tour
The road that leads to Monroe is flanked with grand mansions of the cotton era. Monroe has its dark stories of segregated mass lynching in 1946 and current poverty, but they acknowledge their past honestly and embrace agrarian roots with pride. The historic downtown is vibrant with stores like Buckles Hardware, Little Italy’s Peppino’s Pizzaria and Rinse Bath & Body.
Monroe Historic Downtown
City officials, Main Street volunteers and buildings owners were there to greet us at The Wayfarer Music Hall a community space to lease. Lemonade, ginger cookies, vase of flowers and goodie bags made me realize the impact of hospitality. The owner of the building was there, she was a Monroe native and had rehabilitated the 1910 building into a vital community event center in the historic corridor. The first floor she leases out for events like rehearsal wedding dinners. A second entrance opens to a flight of narrow wood stairs leading to The Wayfarer Hotel.
The Hotel is self sufficient without check in or full time staff. The walls have exposed brick and original plaster. Even the coffee bar is a shared space.
The Wayfarer Hotel
The Wayfarer Music Hall
She kept the improvements to the interior simple by only carving out what was necessary like a 3 compartment sink, hand wash station, ADA restroom and lockbox. Made me think of Buckeye and how we could so use a space like this to host events. It is a sign of the times to create a space that has an open ended use.
Keep Marching On with Faith, Hope and Love. Dr. Martin Luther King
Your Wild West Show is coming to Buckeye Days Celebration in January 24th and 25th. Dr. Buck Productions is a sensation here in the West Valley, Arizona. It has yielded ongoing Wild West Festivals, Shoot Out Competitions in Old Tucson and Murder Mysteries to name a few. Did you ever expect it to be this popular? Actually, Yes! Being that Arizona is one, if not the first location that we think of when we envision the Wild West or where Western Movies are filmed, so the folks who live and visit here from all around the world, expect this part of America’s Western Heritage to be offered up, and that’s exactly what my award winning cast of Wild West performers do!
To what do you attribute the success of the Wild West Shows? Definitely the caliber of my performers you’ll see at my shows… several are World Champions in the Wild West Arts, such as Trick Roping, Six Gun Spinning, Bull-Whip Cracking and Trick Horse Riding! Plus the fact that it is good old family fun entertainment, the likes of which, some have never seen!
Buckeye Days Wild West Show
Typically, when you are doing a Wild West Show like the one coming to Buckeye, how do you prepare the performers for the event? Each event venue is always a bit different, so we create performances to meet the location. Plus, we always like to offer up a little something new from what they may have seen previously… but always with plenty of audience participation!
How do you structure your Wild West Festival for maximum suspense? Our audiences are always telling us, “We didn’t expect that!”, because honestly, we very often change up a Stunt Show or other performance at the last minute, to get that audience reaction. Plus, with our audience participation, guests never know if they will be in the show, and not just watching it!
Unleash the suspense!
How did you become involved in doing stunts and trick roping? Stunt work began at Disney Studios when I was a “Starving Animator” in need of extra $… and here, almost 40 years later, having worked with Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, Willie Nelson, Ben Johnson and several others, I’m still taking punches, kicks and falls! Things like Gun Spinning & Trick Roping, I prefer to leave that to the folks like Johnny Hotshot… and they leave the stunts to me!
Buckeye Days Wild West Show
Which western movies inspire you the most? Who is your favorite Hollywood western character? Actually some of the lesser known ones like, “Once Upon A Time In The West”, “The Sacketts”, “Barbarosa” and the “Long Riders” (ok, and not because I was in the last three) Favorite Character… any actor that played a believable Outlaw!…which was usually those valuable character actors, not the big name stars!
Once Upon a Time in the West
What is your take on downtown Buckeye being a back drop for the upcoming Wild West Festival and Rodeo? Forget the big covered stadium Rodeos and the Rhinestone Cowboy shows! This is true Wild West & Rodeo Americana, the way it was meant to be displayed and enjoyed! My Wild West cast is proud to be a “New” addition to Buckeye Days 2014…and honored to be a part of an event that Singing Cowboy Gene Autry attended a time or two!
December 13th, Saturday was the annual Glow on Monroe Electric Light Parade in Buckeye, Arizona featuring 52 floats including semis towing flat beds, trucks, vintage roadsters, horses and school bands decked out in holiday lights. Local businesses, clubs, churches and individuals made an overwhelming effort in the success of this year’s parade. Buckeye Union Elementary School Transportation float took first place. I had a chance to talk to Maria Gomez design director of the float as we were standing in the parade line up as it got dark in Buckeye last Saturday night. As I gazed at the miniature replica of Historic Main Street in Buckeye, Arizona big enough for an action figure to live in, I was amazed at the level of detail that was executed in just 2 weeks.
Why did you replicate Historic Main Street Buckeye? I decided to focus my design on Historic Buckeye, because the City of Buckeye is unique and has a lot of character.
Describe your design process: The design of the historical buildings have such a story behind them that I wanted to capture that in my design. They have a western theme to them and it is very intriguing to me. I would have liked to include several more buildings but unfortunately I ran out of time. I would have loved to add in the Buckeye Museum, The San Linda Hotel and the buildings around it, and the Pharmacy.
Buckeye Union Elementary School Transportation Float
What do you like most about working at this scale: I enjoy working with the scale of the buildings I created because I was able to capture a lot more details than I would have if I had created smaller buildings.
Miniature Replica of Buckeye Historic Main Street
Biggest artistic influences: I was influenced by the architects and designers of the historic buildings. Seeing photos of Buckeye’s past and the way the town looked so many years ago is inspiring to me.
Buckeye Feed and Country Store
Proudest of: What makes me the most proud of my work is the reaction on everyone’s faces when they see it up close. When a business owner see’s their building and the detail, all the way down to a garbage can by their entrance, it makes the long nights and tired hands all worthwhile. They are so thankful for my hard work, and it makes my heart happy.
Buckeye Valley News and La Placita Cafe in miniature
How would you like this float to be remembered? I would like my float and designs to be remembered as capturing the heart and spirit of Buckeye. I love this city, and am so proud to be a part of Buckeye.
What’s next? My next projects are not set, but I would love to continue “building” Buckeye with adding in some more of Buckeye’s past and present.