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

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!


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.

Granite Mountain Guides

Granite Mountain Guides was established on the foundations of providing exceptional instruction to climbers that are just learning the craft. From there it expanded into how we can best serve the local community even more by promoting wonderful areas for all to experience on our guided tri
Granite Mountain Guides was established on the foundations of providing exceptional instruction to climbers that are just learning the craft. From there it expanded into how we can best serve the local community even more by promoting wonderful areas for all to experience on our guided trips. All of our Instructors are well-qualified American Mountain Guides Association certified in their specific terrain. Granite Mountain Guides can fulfill your needs and help you achieve your goals.

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

The Blazin’ M Ranch - A Western Themed Frontier Town, Dinner, and A Show

Join us at the Blazin’ M Ranch for an evening of western activities, dinner and an unforgettable show! The Blazin’ M Ranch features an authentic Western Themed Town located in Cottonwood, Arizona. You’ll find fun family activities and the best chicken and ribs in Arizona, along with f

Join us at the Blazin’ M Ranch for an evening of western activities, dinner and an unforgettable show! The Blazin’ M Ranch features an authentic Western Themed Town located in Cottonwood, Arizona. You’ll find fun family activities and the best chicken and ribs in Arizona, along with foil-wrapped potato, cowboy beans, our prickly pear coleslaw, flying biscuits and a delicious homemade dessert.

After dinner the Blazin’ M Cowboys entertain ya’ with their award-winning musical talents mixed with cowboy poetry and humor with a 1 hour show from 7:30pm - 8:30pm!


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 - Territorial Arizona's Capital City - Day Tour from Phoenix

Our small size makes our company very flexible to accommodate your needs and requests. We can customize any tour to make it more fun and interesting to you. We love the history of Arizona and enjoy pointing out points of interest and bits of trivia. We also enjoy learning from our guests a
Our small size makes our company very flexible to accommodate your needs and requests. We can customize any tour to make it more fun and interesting to you. We love the history of Arizona and enjoy pointing out points of interest and bits of trivia. We also enjoy learning from our guests as many are very knowledgeable themselves. Our large book collection on Arizona History helps us to stay informed on well-researched details of the past.

Montezuma Castle, Jerome and Sedona Day Tour From Scottdale or Phoenix

Discover Arizona’s rich history and Native American heritage on this full-day tour from Scottsdale or Phoenix. Visit two National Monuments—Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot—and learn more about the Sinagua people as you admire the fascinating ruins. Afterward, explore the former mining town o
Discover Arizona’s rich history and Native American heritage on this full-day tour from Scottsdale or Phoenix. Visit two National Monuments—Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot—and learn more about the Sinagua people as you admire the fascinating ruins. Afterward, explore the former mining town of Jerome and enjoy an included lunch in Sedona.

Camp Verde Combo:One-Hour Jeep Tour, Horseback Ride, and Winery

Experience what the Verde Valley Wine Country has to offer! Start your adventure on a 1 Hour Horseback Ride, where they will show you the ropes of how to ride a horse. Then head over to Alcantara Vineyard, where you will experience a 1Hour Jeep Tour, where you will get to cross the Verde R
Experience what the Verde Valley Wine Country has to offer! Start your adventure on a 1 Hour Horseback Ride, where they will show you the ropes of how to ride a horse. Then head over to Alcantara Vineyard, where you will experience a 1Hour Jeep Tour, where you will get to cross the Verde River and see ancient ruins in the distance. End your tour with 5 wine tastings and a cheese platter to pair it with. Visit one of the Verde Valley's beautiful vineyards.

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.

Small Group or Private Verde Canyon Railroad and Historic Jerome Tour from Phoenix

Experience Arizona’s picturesque Verde Valley on this guided excursion. After a convenient pickup from Phoenix/Scottsdale-area hotels, learn about the valley’s history, culture, and geology from an informative guide, visit the former mining town of Jerome, check out the Arizona Copper Art
Experience Arizona’s picturesque Verde Valley on this guided excursion. After a convenient pickup from Phoenix/Scottsdale-area hotels, learn about the valley’s history, culture, and geology from an informative guide, visit the former mining town of Jerome, check out the Arizona Copper Art Museum, and enjoy a complimentary lunch and snacks. Kick back on a luxury train with hor d'oeuvres and spectacular views on your return trip. Choose between a small-group or private tour.

1.5 Hour Horseback Ride

Wilderness observation and exploration. Explore beautiful Prescott by horseback. Many trails to choose from. Rides for Riders of All Levels - 1.5 hour rides Birthdays - Proposals- Special Occasions

Inflatable Kayak Adventure from Camp Verde

Arizona's Verde River is a National Wild and Scenic River, which means it's recognized nationally for its extreme beauty. Don't miss the chance to kayak down the river at your own pace, taking in the views as you go with this Verde River Inflatable Kayak Adventure from Camp Verde. A sin

Arizona's Verde River is a National Wild and Scenic River, which means it's recognized nationally for its extreme beauty. Don't miss the chance to kayak down the river at your own pace, taking in the views as you go with this Verde River Inflatable Kayak Adventure from Camp Verde. A single inflatable kayak lets you keep your distance from others, while getting the group-like experience as you float along with other kayakers.

  • Paddle down Arizona's Verde River in an inflatable kayak
  • A self-guided river float lets you kayak at your own pace
  • Perfect for all skill levels from beginner to expert
  • All necessary equipment and a short instruction are provided for you

  • Private Verde Canyon Railroad and Historic Jerome Tour

    Highlights of this day tour include the mining town of Jerome, the historic Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale, and stunning views from your first-class seat and a delicious lunch at the Verde Canyon Railroad. After the pickup, our first major tour stop will be the historic mining town of Jero
    Highlights of this day tour include the mining town of Jerome, the historic Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale, and stunning views from your first-class seat and a delicious lunch at the Verde Canyon Railroad. After the pickup, our first major tour stop will be the historic mining town of Jerome. Soon after we'll visit the copper mining mecca of Clarkdale and the Arizona Copper Art Museum. From the museum, we will tour the historic Verde Canyon Railroad for a chance to be a part of that history. The very first tracks were put down over 100 years ago to transport local workers and ore mined from the surrounding Jerome mountains and are still in use today. With stunning views of the Verde Valley from either your first-class seats or your open-air viewing car, the casual elegance of the train allows guests to discover the heritage uniqueness of the landscape and its diverse ecosystem.

    Private Off Road Adventure Tours in the Prescott National Forest

    Come see why thousands come to Prescott, and why we loved it so much we made it our permanent home. The beauty here is hard to describe in words, and pictures have a hard time doing it justice. On a guided tour you'll see the most scenic points and views of Prescott, and the beauty of the
    Come see why thousands come to Prescott, and why we loved it so much we made it our permanent home. The beauty here is hard to describe in words, and pictures have a hard time doing it justice. On a guided tour you'll see the most scenic points and views of Prescott, and the beauty of the surrounding area. Ride in the comfort of one of our Hummers as we take off-road trails and visit sites few have the opportunity to experience. from $110.00 Lowest Price Guarantee Check Availability

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