By Nancy Burgess
On October 1, 1998, the building now known as the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the U. S. Department of the Interior. The National Register is the nation's official list of important historic buildings. The building is significant for its contribution to the social and economic history of the community of Kirkland.
Kirkland is located in the Kirkland Valley approximately 25 miles southwest of Prescott. William H. Kirkland, who, with his wife and children, came to the area in1863, named Kirkland Valley. In 1860 he and his wife, Missouri Ann Bacon, were the first white, American couple to be married in Tucson, soon to be a part of the Arizona Territory, established in 1863. Their daughter, Lizzie, was the first white, American child to be born in Tucson. While settled in the Kirkland Valley, Kirkland was a miner, running four arrastras (crushers) producing gold with 16 horses and a crew of 30 men. He was also a farmer and raised the first crop of barley ever raised in what is now Yavapai County. Although William Kirkland is a prominent figure in Arizona Pioneer history, the Kirkland family spent only a few years in the Kirkland Valley, leaving the valley which bears their name for Phoenix in about 1868. It was after they left the valley that it was named for the Kirklands.
In the 1880s, the Rudy family came to Kirkland. They ran a stage station with accommodations for travelers, with rooms, meals and horse feed. During a drought, they decided to open a general merchandise store for extra income. In 1894, following in the footsteps of the Rudys, Thomas Earnhart arrived in Kirkland and subsequently built a store at the same location as the present day Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse. He ran the store and looked after railroad duties. Earnhart's Kirkland store served as the location of the Wells Fargo Office, post office, stage and rail ticket offices and the mercantile store. Mining and ranching brought business to the store and helped it grow into a restaurant and hotel. The post office was established October 24, 1895, as Kirkland. Earnhart's later became the Haselfeld Store, which was later known as the .
The 'new' Kirkland Store was built by Louis Haselfeld and opened in1923. The building is constructed of poured concrete in a western'Boomtown' false-front style. The original Kirkland Store, built in the 1870s, by the Rudys, and including, at various times, a bar, hotel and cafe, were housed in a two-story, wood frame, front gabled building which originally had a straight, parapet-style false-front. Over time, it was altered and enlarged. After the building partially burned in 1922, the current structure was built in 1923, on top of the foundation of the old structure, incorporating what was left of the old structure into the new one, including the basement and the vault. The vault contains an 1880, Mosher safe and a dumb-waiter, which were original to the earlier structure. This building is the present day Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse, owned and operated by Herb and Barbara Carabeo.
Kirkland has traditionally been the commercial center of the Kirkland Valley area and the location of many community, social and business events. The has been the center of that activity, the only place to socialize, pick up or send mail, ship livestock or mining materials, catch the train to Prescott or Phoenix or to buy supplies and has been a gathering place for the farmers, miners and ranchers in the areas of Kirkland, Kirkland Junction, Yava, Hillside, Wilhoit and the Lower Thompson Valley. Historically, ranchers, farmers and miners living in the area were scattered on various mining claims, homesteads and ranches. Families, especially wives and mothers living on isolated ranches, gathered together whenever the opportunity arose. The center of this gathering, along with the now closed Kirkland Dance Hall, was very often the Kirkland Store, whether its use was as a store/post office/hotel, or as a restaurant and bar, as it is today. Today, Kirkland consists of just a few dozen buildings, including houses, a school, a library, formerly the Kirkland Dance Hall, and a post office in addition to the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse. However, as it has been for the past 100 years, the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse is the only commercial building in Kirkland and still serves as an important element of the social fabric of the Kirkland area and as an important gathering place for folks from near and far.
Nancy Burgess is the City of Prescott's Historic Preservation Officer.
Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (citn253p)
Reuse only by permission.
In 1910 the Kirkland Hotel looked a lot different from what it does today, but it has always been the center of activity in the Kirkland Valley area.