Prescott History

The city of Prescott, Arizona has a rich history. Did you know that 100,000 people inhabited the Prescott area more than 9,000 years ago? These people were likely early ancestors of the Yavapai tribe, meaning "people of the sun," whose reservation now borders the city. Pre-historic Yavapai and Sinagua Indian artifacts can be found in ancient Indian Pueblos and mounds throughout the Verde Valley, in the nearby dwellings at Tuzigoot and Montezuma's Castle.

Spanish explorers, the U.S. Cavalry, Indian tribes, gold rush "49ers," silver miners, and homesteaders also left their influence on Prescott. In the mid-19th century, Prescott developed rapidly.

Many historians have called Charles D. Poston "the Father of Arizona" for his efforts toward creating the Arizona territory. He was an explorer and prospector in the territory, and in 1864 he wrote the following in a letter to a friend:

The granite mountains, covered with great pine forests, give grandeur and beauty to the country which I have not seen elsewhere. The atmosphere is the perfection of temperature, seldom varying from 75 during my visit. The water is pure, cool, and refreshing, and abounds in every direction.

Here, in what is considered a wilderness, a desert, or what you will, a thousand miles from anywhere...a number of people gather around...and commence the business of life with vigor and confidence which inspires the most inert and timid with a desire to accomplish something.

Nearly 150 years later, the grandeur and beauty remain.


Great Fire of 1900

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.

In 1865, Prescott carved a unique place among early communities in Arizona because it was reportedly built exclusively of wood and was inhabited almost entirely by Americans as a result of the nation's Westward expansion. 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 town as the Plaza, but the design portrays a desire to keep Prescott American and unique among southwestern cities.

Prescott eventually lost its place as the state's legislative seat to Tucson and finally to Phoenix in 1889. A year later, a devastating fire burned the wood-constructed buildings of Prescott to the ground.

Prescott had always had a fire problem. In May of 1879, the Arizona Miner recommended that at least four deep wells be made as a means of saving the town should a fire break out in the wooden buildings on Montezuma Street. 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.

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

The fire began at the southwest corner of Goodwin and Montezuma, then quickly swept up Montezuma - a.k.a. "Whiskey Row." Building after building 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 before the wind died down and the slowing flames were finally put out. Despite its four-hour and estimated $1.5 million rampage of destruction, everyone survived "The Great Fire of 1900" and Prescott was soon triumphantly rebuilt (all with brick or stone - no more wood!) and many of the buildings you see today are reminders of Prescott's past.

20th Century

One hallmark of mid-20th Century Prescott is Fort Whipple. Originally a tactical base for the U.S. Cavalry and later the headquarters for the Arizona Volunteers (Rough Riders) in the previous century, Fort Whipple was converted to a tuberculosis sanatorium during WW I and was transferred to the Public Health Service in 1920 for continued use as a hospital for disabled Veterans. In the early 1930s, the facility was transferred to the newly created Veterans Administration as a general medical / surgical hospital. Today, the site retains it's early-to-mid Century style and architecture and is still locally referred to as Fort Whipple.

The "happy days" of the mid-20th Century still linger around Prescott. All one needs to do to "go back in time" is stroll around downtown, stop in at a converted soda fountain, attend a classic car show, or check out the resurrected 1950s-era Senator Drive-In sign out on Senator Highway and Summit Point Drive.


Today

Victorian homes.Prescott has many homes and businesses on the National Register of Historic Places and its trademark white granite Prescott courthouse, set among the green lawns and spreading trees of the town square, reflects the Midwestern and New England background of Prescott’s pioneers. In fact, in March 2006 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Prescott one of its "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" appealing to tourists' taste for historic places.


THINGS TO DO IN PRESCOTT

Prescott Ebike Rentals & Tours

Lakeside Tours by Watson Lake on The Peavine and Iron King Trail! If you are looking for something fun to do in Prescott, you have come to the right place. Let our E-bikes take you on an adventure!

Some of Our Reviews:

Lakeside Tours by Watson Lake on The Peavine and Iron King Trail! If you are looking for something fun to do in Prescott, you have come to the right place. Let our E-bikes take you on an adventure!

Some of Our Reviews:
  • "The highlight of our trip"
  • "Bikes are in great condition"
  • "Great way to experience ebikes"
  • "Loved the entire experience"

Prescott Resort & Conference Center

Discover the area’s only full-service resort when searching for hotels in Prescott, AZ. Resting on the “Top of the Rock” offering picturesque views of the warmth and scenery of Prescott, the Prescott Resort and Conference Center is the choice hotel for those seeking a luxurious getaway in
Discover the area’s only full-service resort when searching for hotels in Prescott, AZ. Resting on the “Top of the Rock” offering picturesque views of the warmth and scenery of Prescott, the Prescott Resort and Conference Center is the choice hotel for those seeking a luxurious getaway in Northern Arizona.
8.4
376 reviews

Out Of Africa Wildlife Park

Come see Tiger Splash show at 1:15 every day. Watch Bengal tigers in natural play as they "hunt" their caretakers. Open Daily 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Just 40 minutes from Sedona.

Predator Zip Lines

Experience the wind ripping through your hair on a thrill ride over nature's wildest predators. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on a world-class zip line over Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde Arizona! We are conveniently located less than 20 miles from Sedona, in the heart of

Experience the wind ripping through your hair on a thrill ride over nature's wildest predators. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on a world-class zip line over Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde Arizona! We are conveniently located less than 20 miles from Sedona, in the heart of Northern Arizona's wine country, just minutes from tasting rooms and vineyards. From the top of the towers, you can see majestic red rocks, the San Francisco peaks, and the whole breathtaking Verde Valley including Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome. Come join us for a Zip Line adventure that you'll never forget! Ride the most exciting zip line ever devised, over Out of Africa and soar over Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Hyenas, Bears, Jaguars and other natural predators!


National Realty of Prescott

Tina Seeley and Shirley Masser are the PrescottAZ4U.com Team at National Realty of Prescott: your one-stop source for Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and surrounding area homes and condos for sale.

Immersive Adventure into the heart of Arizona's Wine Country

Start out in beautiful Downtown Prescott, at The Back Alley-Wine Bar on the Historic Whisky Row Alley. There, you'll enjoy a delicious variety of Hors d'Oeuvres & Taste amazing Wines while you learn about Vita-Culture in the region. From here you will be swept away into the Tall trees of M
Start out in beautiful Downtown Prescott, at The Back Alley-Wine Bar on the Historic Whisky Row Alley. There, you'll enjoy a delicious variety of Hors d'Oeuvres & Taste amazing Wines while you learn about Vita-Culture in the region. From here you will be swept away into the Tall trees of Mingus Mountain, on the road to Jerome. Wine Tastings & a quick ride down into the verde valley with time for lunch in OldTown Cottonwood. After lunch head into the heart of Wine Country through Oak Creek & Page Springs with many wineries to choose from. This private full day adventure is sure to create memories with your friends & or family & be the highlight of your travels in 2020.

Blazin' M Ranch

Blazin' M Ranch features a BBQ chicken and ribs chuckwagon supper and a toe-tappin Western stage production by award-winning musicians. Guests may arrive before dinner to enjoy Old-Tyme photography, a museum, shooting gallery, tractor pull, ropin' lessons, Western shops or the Copper Spur
Blazin' M Ranch features a BBQ chicken and ribs chuckwagon supper and a toe-tappin Western stage production by award-winning musicians. Guests may arrive before dinner to enjoy Old-Tyme photography, a museum, shooting gallery, tractor pull, ropin' lessons, Western shops or the Copper Spur Saloon.

More PLACES TO STAY IN Prescott