GCRC donates vintage speakers to Safford Theatre project

From left, Danny Smith, Ryen House and Matt Herrington get ready to haul the first of three vintage speakers out of the basement of the Copper and Cotton Lifestyle building for transport to its previous home, the historic Safford Theatre. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Collaboration between two residents of Safford’s Downtown continued Thursday, as Great Communities Resource Center (GCRC) donated antique speakers to the Safford Downtown Association.

The speakers will be used in the ongoing restoration of the historic Safford Theatre.

The three Western Electric speakers from the 1930s are about 6-feet by 5-feet each that look like large wood/cast iron horns.

“The neat thing is it has a relationship to the theatre; it may have come out of the Safford Theatre,” said Danny Smith, president of the Safford Downtown Association. “We found them, of course, here in this building (the Copper and Cotton Lifestyle building), in the basement, and ownership used to be the same. Louie Long owned the theatre and had an interest in this building.

“We’re going to take them back home,” he continued, “and, if nothing else, we’ll use them decoratively in the balcony.”

It’s not the first donation to the theatre from GCRC, which recently purchased the Copper and Cotton Lifestyle building.

“We donated a bunch of theatre seating that was left down here in the basement, along with these speakers,” said Lane Hagel, GCRC executive director. “Hopefully the Downtown Association can use them as part of the theatre restoration.”

GCRC is also in the middle of building restorations as well, converting the basement of the Copper and Cotton Lifestyle building into the soon-to-be new home for 19 Double X Studio tattoo, and the second floor for apartments.

Two other buildings, to the east of the Copper and Cotton Lifestyle building, will be restored and leased to retail businesses.

Editor’s note: Reporter David Bell is a board member for both GCRC and the Safford Downtown Association.