New museum for Graham Historical Society a reality thanks to Freeport

Graham County Historical Society President Harvey John presents Marge Schade with the Heritage Award during the society's 2021 symposium at the Discovery Park ranch house. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — The Graham County Historical Society recently announced good news . . . with a promise of even better news later this month.

“We waited a long time, but the Graham County Historical Society is happy to announce that we have been awarded $150,000 from FMI Foundation to get our museum up and running again,” said the society’s Deanna Moeller.

Moeller said the new location of the museum would be announced at the Graham County Historical Society’s annual Winter Meeting and Symposium, Saturday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m., at the ranch house at Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus.

The Historical Society’s collection of artifacts had been housed in a museum at the old Thatcher Middle School building, but the museum was closed and the exhibits placed in storage in the early 2000s when Thatcher Unified School District demolished the building in order to build the current middle school.

In 2017, the Historical Society received the disassembled Safford Carpet building in donation from Circle K, when Circle K announced its plan to build an upgraded, bigger convenience store and fueling station on U.S. Highway 70, east of Safford.

The plan was to re-assemble the building on land made available by Graham County at the Fairgrounds, but the cost to build proved too great for the all-volunteer Historical Society.

In addition to the announcement, the symposium will feature presentations on the history of the Gila Valley, and the Heritage Award will be presented to Robert Pursley.

The public is invited and there is no cost to attend.

Editor’s note: This story was edited at 3:57 p.m. Wednesday, May, 24, 2023, to correct the spelling of Deanna Moeller’s name.