Prescott is rich in history!

We hope you enjoy learning a little about our beautiful city  and some of the history that's connected to us.
The citizens  and many others have worked hard over the years to preserve our rich history and culture. You are going to love "Preskitt!" Pictured to the right is the old Governors Mansion located at Sharlot Hall Museum.

 

 

   

About "Preskitt"

Welcome Home!

A bit of history....

Prescott Arizona was designated as the Christmas City* and every year the folks of Prescott gather in front of the Old Courthouse for an evening of family entertainment and the lighting ceremony.

Also popular is Acker night when the main streets are closed to vehicle traffic and all of the downtown shops feature entertainment! There is still a small town feeling that generates a strong community spirit and sense of belonging that is gone from so many cities in the US. Make plans to be here the first Sat. in December.

The 1997 lighting was the last year that I was the Chairman and one of the best yet (for me anyway). We had several thousand hardy folks that braved the cold and rain to hear Prescott's First Lady of History, Melissa Ruffner talk about Christmas past and listen to our own April Manchester sing and do the Christmas reading. Due to the weather, we lost our sound system and the Prescott Police brought me a bullhorn so we could continue!


*("Arizona's Christmas City" is a registered trade name of the City of Prescott, Arizona)


With five lakes in the area, Prescott is the ideal place to to retire, raise a family, or just a reason to come to the mountains and enjoy the fresh air. Add four mild seasons, it's no wonder Prescott is called "Everyone's Home Town".

One of the first things new visitors discover is we still look each other in the eye and say hi! What a refreshing experience for visitors and new comers alike. It's the kind of town that captures your imagination and intrigues you from the moment you first set foot in it. That's sure what happened to me the first time I came.


So, when you do come to visit, be sure to take a stroll around the Courthouse Plaza. Enjoy the shops and restaurants around Whiskey Row, and be sure sure to visit Sharlot Hall Museum. Richard Sims and his staff have made this a must see. While you're at it, stop by and say hi to Dick and Nancy at Red Arrow Real Estate. We'll give you a "Preskitt Welcome", buy you coffee, and give you a free map to boot! We're located at 1107 E. Gurley . You're going to love Prescott as much as we'll enjoy sharing it with you!


Gold!


GOLD - its discovery in 1838 brought national attention to Prescott, and further discoveries in 1861 by the Walker party drew the attention of President Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln was looking for possible sources of funding for the North during the Civil War and created the Arizona Territory in 1864. John Goodwin, as first territorial governor, established Prescott as the first territorial capital.

 

 The new governor began the work of laying out the current downtown streets. Also, the military detachment commissioned Fort Whipple which is still in Prescott. The old fort is now the location for The Veterans Hospital. Many of the old buildings are still there. Several years ago, the original main gate to the fort was found buried in the ground. It was restored and erected at it's original location. 


You can visit the old Governors Mansion seven days a week at Sharlot Hall Museum on West Gurley Street.


Prescott developed rapidly and in 1865 was described as being built exclusively of wood and inhabited almost entirely by Americans. Both of these facts made it unique among early communities in Arizona. Prescott lost its title as the Capital of Arizona to Tucson and finally to Phoenix in 1889.


 In 1900, a devastating fire burned Prescott to the ground; but it was rebuilt, and many of the buildings you see today are reminders of its past. Today, the older residential streets are lined with tall trees and pitched-roof frame houses, including turreted Victorians.


Prescott has many homes and businesses on the National Register of Historic Places and its white granite courthouse, set among green lawns and spreading trees, reflects the Midwestern and New England background of Prescott's pioneers.


In 1864, the town site of Prescott was surveyed and laid out along Granite Creek where gold had been found by the Walker party. The town was designated the capital of the new territory of Arizona after Arizona was separated from New Mexico. President Lincoln wanted the territorial capital in the northern part of the territory, far away from the Confederate sympathizing cities to the south.


The first Federal Troops were posted at Fort Whipple. The troops are long gone, but old Fort Whipple remains and is now a Veterans Hospital. In fact old Officers Row still overlooks the city with several stately three story homes that were once used to house the senior officers posted at the old fort.


Lincoln also decided to settle this new capital with Northerners and Midwesterners and this decision resulted in Prescott being the most Midwestern-looking city in Arizona. Victorian homes and peaked roof homes were built, a far cry from the adobe structures that were more common in the Southwest. This style seems to account for the comfortable reaction newcomers have when first driving into Prescott.


 Over in the West Historic District, you'll find lovely cottages that have been carefully restored to their 1920's charm. Prescott features several designated Historic Districts.


Prescott lost the capital to Tucson in 1867 regained it in 1877 and lost it again for the final time in 1889 to Phoenix. Arizona politics were a little unsettled then, to say the least. In recent years, Arizona found itself in the spotlight again when its Governor went on trail.


The frontier spirit of the Prescott residents may have been best exemplified when a devastating fire destroyed the entire downtown business district in 1900. Within hours, make-shift shelters were erected on the Courthouse Plaza and businesses began rebuilding. The old-timers tell us that when the fire started, the drunks in the Palace Saloon drug the massive bar across the street to the Courthouse Plaza. When the Place was rebuilt, the old bar was re-installed and remains there today. Fact is, in 2000, the 100th anniversary of the great fire, the moving of the massive bar was re-enacted. Only this time, there were different drunks. The Palace is now one of Prescott's better eating establishments.


 Today, Prescott continues to be the county seat of Yavapai County and is the center of commerce and trade for the tri-city area that includes Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. About 123,500 people call the tri-city, and surrounding area home. The new County facilities were constructed near the Worlds Oldest Rodeo Grounds in 1995 and most county business is conducted from there.