Fort Whipple has not only been a vital part of Prescott’s history, but of the history of the United States as well. The fort was so prominent in the west at the time that is was considered the capital of the Arizona Territory. The fort was established in 1864, but has had many different lives since then. It started out as a tactical base for the United States Cavalry during the Indian Wars of 1864-1882. The fort was named after Lt. Amiel Whipple who was the first to discover and establish access to gold fields nearby. This new gold created conflict in the area and Fort Whipple was used to protect miners and settlers from raids. It was even the headquarters of the rough riders during the Spanish American war. These rough riders were the first voluntary cavalry created by Teddy Roosevelt to support the war.
Fort Whipple has seen many traumas of war and in World War I was used as a hospital for disabled veterans. Nowadays, the property has been greatly reduced in size and is used as a museum. The property went from 1,700 acres to 150 acres. Though reduced in sized, Fort Whipple hasn’t lost any of it’s history. This is done through the wonderful exhibits at the Fort Whipple Museum. These include those featuring medical instruments of the time, Army weaponry, information on the Buffalo Soldiers, maps, photographs, memoirs, and more. The museum is associated with the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The museum stands out in its authentic color scheme of crème and green and is full of friendly and knowledgeable volunteers to give tours and answer questions. Don’t miss out on the chance to get a real glimpse into the history of Prescott and the wild west!