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Home » Whiskey Row

Prescott's Whiskey Row

At the turn of the century, saloons lined the street. Today, Whiskey Row is a favorite for both locals and visitors alike. From The Galloping Goose to the Hotel St Michael, you'll find a variety of stores sure to please and you'll almost think you hear the distant sounds of old time saloon music as you stroll down this historic piece of Prescott, Arizona.

Today

The 100 block of South Montezuma Street in Prescott, Arizona has long been known as Whiskey Row, for the numerous saloons that once lined the street. Today, Whiskey Row hotspots include the Hotel St. Michael, Bird Cage Saloon, Hooligan's, and the Jersey Lilly.
Here is a full list of all the merchants, stores, restaurants and bars on Whiskey Row. Please support these merchants by SHOPPING LOCALLY!


 The Galloping Goose  Trappers Alley
 The Whiskey Row Mall  Palace Restaurant
 Heilig Meyers  Kickapoo Express
   Matt's Saloon
 Hillside Depot Dos  Desperado Trading
 Bird Cage Saloon  Artimisia
 Maude's Restaurant  Hotel California Trading
 Moctezuma  Lida
 Liese Artifacts  Puttin' on the Hats
 Cadillac Bar & Grill  Sharlott Hall Museum Store
 Li'l Bit O' Everthin'  Solstice
 Arts Prescott  Llama House
 Bucky's Bean Bag  Artful Eye
 The Worm  Mother Earth Mercantile
 The Dog House  Caffe' St. Michael
 The Cattleman's  Hotel St. Michael

 

History


Prescott, Arizona was founded in 1864 at the behest of Congress and President Abraham Lincoln in an effort to secure the area's mineral riches for the Union forces during the Civil War, the town was named for historian William Hickling Prescott by the settlers.
As Arizona's Territorial Capital and county seat, the land use and general townscape character clearly evidenced the Midwestern and Eastern roots of the populace. The town plaza, with its courthouse surrounded by a park, reflects the influence of the larger American culture rather than that of the Southwest. Prescottonians may now refer to the center of our town as the Plaza, but the design portrays a
desire to keep Prescott American and unique among southwestern cities.

Great Fire of 1900
On Saturday night, July 14th, 1900, fire swept through downtown Prescott with an uncontrollable fury, almost totally destroying the business district of the small mining town.

The fire started in the O.K. Lodging House, next door (to the south) to the newly built Scopel Hotel on the Southwest corner of Montezuma and Goodwin, possibly when a miner left a lighted candle stuck in the wall of his room. The fire quickly spread to the Scopel. At this point the fire could have been easily stopped with a few buckets of water, but Prescott had no water!

The water supply at that time was from a well on Aubrey Street, about a block south, but the pumping plant was being overhauled and repaired, with the engine disconnected.

Prescott had always had a fire problem. In May of 1879, the Arizona Miner wrote, "At least four deep wells should be made on our public plaza which might be the means of saving our town should a fire break out in the wooden buildings on Montezuma Street. We can't afford a fire just yet."

Nothing was done, however, and on July 4, 1883, fire destroyed most of Montezuma, and wells were finally dug on the four corners of the plaza, solely for fire purposes.

By Saturday night on July 14 of 1900, however, they had been completely emptied for use on new summer gardens.

Prescott may have had no water, but one thing the mining town had a lot of was blasting powder, which if used in the Scopel Hotel at this point could possibly have stopped the fire. But "authorities" refused to allow it and the beautiful new brick hotel became a roaring furnace.

Across Goodwin, at the J.L. Fisher's Mercantile and the Sam Lee Restaurant (now the Galloping Goose), the owners felt that there was no possibility the fire could cross the fifty feet of Goodwin and hit them, but it did. It quickly swept up "Whiskey Row," destroying the new, spacious, Sam Hill Hardware, (you can see the name today imprinted in the sidewalk), Cob Web Hall, and the Palace Saloon, finally reaching the newly built Burke Hotel (on the site of and similar to the present St. Michael).

Here there was hope that the fire could end. Built where the famous Diana Hotel was destroyed in the fire of 1883, the Burke advertised itself as "The only fire-proof hotel in Arizona". But the Burke rapidly went down in flames that then moved across the street to burn and destroy all of Gurley before moving to Cortez. Most of North Cortez went down, and the Santa Fe Railroad Depot fully expected to be hit. All of its records and valuable papers were removed and loaded aboard box-cars, ready to be taken away at a moment's notice. But the wind had gone down and the slowing flames were finally put out. The depot and today's Murphy's Restaurant were saved.

Back on Montezuma, even before the flames had died down, a lively business had started across the street on the Plaza. "Whiskey Row" had eleven saloons or liquor dispensers, and if nothing else was saved, as much liquor as possible was moved across the street. There was hardly a minute, even during the fire, when the Plaza was not flooded with drinks of all kinds, except soft. Four saloons on the Plaza were now doing a large business. By the next night a dozen were in full blast, with musical and gaming attachments. At least three saloons had managed to remove their pianos. The next day the Board of Supervisors met and granted to the establishments official space on the Plaza, each across from its former burned one, and tents and pine shacks were doing a brisk business.

The amount of fire loss was only an estimate - possibly $1.5 million. Property owners carried very little insurance. Prescott had had too many fires and consequently the insurance rates were almost prohibitive. Rebuilding started almost immediately, all with brick or stone-no more wood!

Many were beautifully rebuilt, such as the Palace Saloon, called after its completion in 1901 "The most beautiful saloon in all of Arizona," as many feel it still is today.

Despite its four-hour rampage of destruction, the "Great Fire of 1900" can almost be considered a friendly fire. No one died or was badly burned, and Prescott emerged a more beautiful city.

Written by: Christina Hecht

Driving Directions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs and visitor informationDo you have some questions about Prescott, Arizona? Curious about the history of Prescott? Wondering what Prescott is like today? Do you need directions or a map of the area? We’ve got answers on every topic from Whiskey Row to where to go; from what to pack to weather facts. You’ll find answers you can use when researching your next vacation or your next change-of-address. Prescott.com, THE online resource for Prescott visitors and locals, has put together a full list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers about Prescott, Arizona. We hope they'll help you plan a nice long visit to Prescott soon, or even entice you to make Prescott your next hometown.

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