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
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
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 - 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
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
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
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
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.