Guest Commentary

History: Joan Lincoln and the Paradise Valley town fountain

Posted 5/25/21

Welcome to the fourth in a series of articles authored by committee members of The Town of Paradise Valley Historical Advisory Committee.

The mission of the Advisory Committee is to, …

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Guest Commentary

History: Joan Lincoln and the Paradise Valley town fountain

Posted

Welcome to the fourth in a series of articles authored by committee members of The Town of Paradise Valley Historical Advisory Committee.

The mission of the Advisory Committee is to, “Establish, compile, archive and maintain a historical record of the Town of Paradise Valley and produce appropriate literature to commemorate the Town’s major anniversary dates.”

In keeping with this mission, a series of articles are being compiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Paradise Valley. Join us for a family celebration on Sunday, Oct. 17 at the Camelback Inn.

Joan Lincoln was councilmember from 1980 to 1990 and mayor from 1984 to 1986. She was interviewed June 3, 1998. The following is excerpted from that interview.

There was a contest in the Town of Paradise Valley; I went down to Town Hall and the lady behind the post office said “why don’t you submit something for this competition.”

I went home and did a 15-inch, one-inch to the foot, model of the sort of round, almost oval, cement hole in the wall, four feet high in back, two in front, set into the cement by one foot. I designed something to go in there and took it to the next meeting.

They said tell us about cost, cash flow, materials, whether it would survive weather (hot and cold), and all that. I did that and they accepted my job. It came in $.98 under budget and two weeks early. It took me about a year to build it. One hundred and eighty-one panels and 18 firings in my large kiln. That’s the town fountain.

While we were sitting in the middle very warm hole in the ground, the councilmen would come by every now and then. Peter Wainwright came up to the house about six months after they had given me about a third of the money. He wanted to see what was going on with their money in the backyard of my studio.

He saw about half of the fired, finished pieces piled all laid out over brown paper to scale in the back bedroom. Again, other people became interested in the process until finally, the Councilman said, “You seem to know what you’re doing. You seem to know about the money. You seem to know about cash flow. Would you consider running for council?”

It had not dawned on me at that point. I had been to a couple of meetings. I wasn’t much interested in politics.

The next 10 years I was a politician. I was elected for all the wrong reasons. I was elected because I was an older woman. I knew about money. Four years later, those six men were for the most part out of the picture and I became mayor because they needed somebody to be a ping pong net between three men who were disagreeing with other men almost constantly.

I gave up the job of mayor … not as good for the town as to have Bob Plenge do it.

He said he would do it if I would continue as vice mayor. He said, “You can do all the stuff you’ve been doing,” which was to write a newspaper column and to go down to the legislature and fight for things down there. In general, I enjoyed myself.

He did all the things that a man in a group of men mayors did, which was much more effective for the town. His persona was right for our town. He was smart and he never raised his voice. He didn’t get nearly as agitated as I would occasionally. That’s how I wound up as vice mayor.

He and the council said that was a good idea, so I continued as vice mayor and he as mayor for the next four years. Then after 10 years, we both left.

The full interview with Joan Lincoln can be found on the town’s website here.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted on behalf of the Paradise Valley Historical Advisory Committee.

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