GOFFS, CA – July 15, 2006 – At long last we broke ground for the new library archives building at the Goffs Cultural Center. The structure, funded in large part by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, is to be built in the image of the old Goffs Railroad Depot.
A nice group of long-time supporters gathered in 110+ degree heat to witness the ceremony. A brief opening statement was made by Dennis G. Casebier, Executive Director MDHCA, who introduced Chris Ervin, president of the MDHCA. President Ervin stepped to the front, made carefully selected and poignant remarks, referred to our long-standing mission, what the new building will mean to humanity, and then proceeded to remove the first shovel of dirt.
For the ceremony, Mr. Ervin made use of a specially inscribed gold-plated ceremonial shovel provided by Director John Fickewirth. The shovel will be mounted on a wall in the Schoolhouse until the library is completed and then it will adorn a wall in the reading room of the new structure.
Following Chris Ervin’s lead, each director came forward and removed a shovel of dirt, accompanied by general approval of the assembled crowd. Following that, each other person present had an opportunity to participate in the ceremony.
By then everyone was getting warm… say, HOT. So we adjourned to the air-conditioned comfort of the Schoolhouse for follow-on speeches and to await the dinner hour. In the Schoolhouse Dennis Casebier passed out mementos in the form of miniature inscribed shovels, also provided by Mr. Fickewirth for the occasion.
Once everyone was there, President Ervin proposed a toast, followed by a couple more toasts from others. The champagne and champagne flutes were provided by Chris and Leslie Ervin. Then dinner was ready. Roast beef and special beans were prepared by Master Chef Dale McBride, potato salad and cole slaw were procured from a Bullhead City caterer, and other dishes were contributed by Betty Burton and Shirley Roby.
Once everyone had enjoyed the superb dinner we all indulged in dessert, a sheet cake appropriately decorated for the occasion and provided by Gail and Donna Andress. On the way over to Goffs from Nelson, Nevada, Gail had attempted to destroy the cake when it tried to slide off the seat and he grabbed for it, but Donna rose to the occasion and protected the cake. Meanwhile, Gail had gotten a handful of icing, which, at the urging of his bride of 62 summers, he proceeded to lick off his hand, turning his tongue and inside of his mouth (so far as could be seen) bright blue.
It was a smallish but very special group that gathered to take note of this important moment. I will confess, though, that I favor the celebrations that occur when something is finished more than marking the beginning. I am very much looking forward to that day a couple of years from now when the library building stands in all its splendor with the Board of Directors and our supporters gathered to honor that achievement.
Along those thought lines, my mind went back to that day in November of 1983 when a large group of the Friends of the Mojave Road gathered on the banks of the Rio Colorado of the West, just opposite Fort Mojave. There was an oversized yellow ribbon stretched across the road. A pair of ceremonial scissors (probably a full 30” long) had been provided, and Dennis Casebier stepped up and cut the ribbon, thereby signaling publication of the first Mojave Road Guide and the opening of the old wagon road as an interpreted four-wheel drive backcountry recreation trail. Twenty-three years have passed and the Mojave Road continues to serve and inspire the public. It was a day full of pride.
And so, within two years from now, we look forward to experiencing another of those milestone moments, of which it has been our honor to have had many, when Chris Ervin steps up to the door of the new library with an oversized pair of scissors and thereby dedicates and initiates operation of the Mojave Desert Archives to the interests of mankind. I predict many of you will be there and you will share the pride in having been part of this.
Those who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony included: Gail and Donna Andress, Jere Baker, Betty Burton, Chris and Leslie Ervin, Dave Given, John Harrington, Don Johnson, Randy Kimball, Roger and Virginia Leggett, Dick and Kathy MacPherson, John and Barbara Marnell, Dale McBride, Steve and Mary Mongrain, Phil Motz, Kib and Shirley Roby, and Carl Weikel.
Updated 29 July 2006