Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prescott, Arizona

Prescott is about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.  It has a population around 42,000.  Prescott is in the high desert, at about 5,500 feet (1,700 meters), so it enjoys much cooler weather than Phoenix.

The town was founded in 1864 in order to secure the area's mineral wealth for the Union forces during the Civil War.

From 1864 to 1867, and again from 1877 to 1889, Prescott was the capital city of the Arizona Territory.

Fort Whipple was originally a U.S. Cavalry base and was later the headquarters of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry known as Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders.  During WWI it was converted to a tuberculosis sanatorium.  In the 1930s the facility was transferred to the Veterans Administration and is a general medical and surgical hospital. 

In 2008, the American Planning Association recognized the Yavapai Courthouse Plaza as one of the first 10 "Great Public Places" in the USA.  The courthouse is surrounded by grass and more than 170 trees.  The layout is unique for a southwest town.  There is usually some kind of arts & crafts show or festival of some sort going on here.

In front of the courthouse is a memorial for "Bucky O'Neil" and the Rough Riders. 

Mom & Dad

Next to the courthouse is Whiskey Row which used to be a red-light district until 1956.  Who said that all Americans are prudes? 

There was the Great Fire in 1900 which destroyed almost every building on Whiskey Row.  Legend has it that the patrons of the various bars just walked across the street, drinks in hand, to the courthouse square and watched it all burn down.  The patrons of the Palace Hotel actually carried the back-bar across the street to safety.  It's huge and could not have been easy to move.

The town didn't have enough water to put out the fire so it lasted for four hours.  Afterwards, everything was rebuilt with brick and stone instead of just wood.  Fortunately, no one died or was even badly burned in the fire.
Lake Watson

The views here are great.  Most people just don't expect to see pine trees out in the desert.

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