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A. S. Noon, a Firefighter Jack-of-all-Trades

Adolphus “Dolph” Samuel Noon was the last, but not the least, member of the 1913-1915 Building Committee. Dolph was born in Provo, Utah in 1867 and came to the Oro Blanco mining district in Southern Arizona with his parents as a boy aged 11. Dolph’s father, a British physician by the name of Adolphus H. Noon ( 1838-    1931 ), owned and operated the famous Austerlitz mine and Dolph would learn everything from A to Z about the mining game. As a young man, though, Dolph would begin to spend more of his time in Nogales and would become a self-employed machinist and blacksmith by occupation. Dolph would eventually zoom in on his interests and would become a building contractor and mechanical engineer of high note. In short, Dolph was an authentic jack-of-all-trades.

Aside from being involved in the excavation and foundation work of the 1914 Fire Department Building ( also known as Old City Hall ), Dolph is also known for having built the still-standing Noon Building ( 1914-1917 ) on the corner of Elm Street and Grand Ave; it was first used as a machine and blacksmith shop. Dolph is further known for having built the International Gas Company Building on Grand Avenue ( 1915 )              ( Demolished ); for having installed the thousand pound Seth Thomas bell in the clock tower of the new Fire Department Building ( August 1915 ); for building the twenty-five mile county road from Calabasas- through Hell’s Gate Pass- to Ruby ( 1917 ); for being involved in the restoration of the Tumacacori Mission ( 1919 ); for being the local building inspector during the construction of the Nogales High School Gymnasium ( 1922 ); and, for having worked on the Boulder Dam project on the Colorado River in Northern Arizona prior to his death in 1931. Dolph was surely involved in many other local building projects that need to be identified and documented.

As a love, a hobby, or an extracurricular commitment, Dolph had been a loyal member of the Nogales Volunteer Fire Department since January 23, 1907, when he first became a member of Papago Engine Company No. 1. Dolph would eventually become the Company’s Foreman and there would be no better man for this position. To get an idea of Dolph’s undying commitment to his company, there exists a short written report dated December 6, 1913 he turned in on the occasion of the Nogales Fire Department’s annual meeting held in the Santa Cruz Club rooms which were then located on the second floor of the Lyric Theatre Building off Morley Avenue. The 1913 Noon report, written in letter form, speaks for itself and is quoted in full as follows:

“Foreman’s Annual Report.

“Papago Engine Company No. 1, Nogales, Ariz.

“To the Hon. Chief and Members of the Nogales Fire Department:

“I have the honor to report as follows in regard to the condition and standing of my company during the past year: The membership roll has been kept up to the maximum during the entire year, and comprises twenty-five firemen in good standing, and two torch boys. All of these men have been assigned to their particular positions in the company, and with few exceptions, due to temporary absence from the city, have been active and prompt in the discharge of their duties.

“During the year six regular and special meetings have been held, at which the attendance has averaged about sixty percent of members at hand. The attendance at fires and parades has averaged above this figure, and has been good at all times. The Company is well supplied with Badges and everything necessary with the exception of Caps, of which it would be well for the Department to order one or two dozen, as several of our new members are without them, due to the fact that some of our former members who moved away had paid for their caps and did not turn them back to the Company when they left.

“I have had the Secretary turn in to the Chief of the Department a list of the present members of the Company, and also of the Officers elected to serve for the ensuing year, for filing with the County Clerk, as provided by law, in order to obtain the standing and exemptions granted by the State.

“Respectfully submitted,

“A. S. Noon

“Foreman, Papago Engine Company No. 1”

The tall, portly Dolph married the former Anna Menzel of Kernville, California in 1896 and they had three sons ( A. S. “Dolphie” Noon, Jr., Edward Noon, and Milford Noon [ a Nogales weatherman and NFD Chief between 1962 and 1964 ] ) as their only offspring. Dolph was aged 64 when his ticker gave out unexpectedly on October 22, 1931. Not at all an ideal time to go, Dolph died a mere seven months after his father died aged 92. The theory of having good longevity genes was put to task.

Dolph, the fire boy, was also a member of the Nogales Masonic Lodge No. 11 and he now rests in the Noon family plot, surrounded by a hedge, under the trees, in the Nogales Masonic Cemetery.

For the more curious, Dolph was the Republican candidate for Santa Cruz County Sheriff in 1930, and lost the November election to the popular Democrat Victor “Vic” J. Wager. The vote was tallied at 1,180 to 626.

On a lighter note, the highly visible Dolph was regularly seen about town in his automobile accompanied by his loyal dog, a white fox terrier.

Written by: Jose Ramon Garcia


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