By Carolyn Bradshaw 

In the early 1900s, Prescott and Yavapai County were moving out of the Territorial era and into a new period of prosperity. The urbanization and mechanization throughout the country, Arizona becoming a state in 1912, and the end of World War I fueled this trend.

The Yavapai County Chamber of Commerce began promoting Prescott as a healthful place to live shortly after statehood. Early in the new decade of the 1920s, local promoters were embarking upon the "challenge of accommodating the summer trade of Arizona residents, a growing tourism industry and businessmen seeking to invest in Yavapai County mines, ranches and farms. 

One of Prescott's biggest boosters was a local attorney named LeRoy Anderson. Anderson had moved to Prescott in 1896 and became well known for practicing corporation and mining law. As early as 1908, he was writing about the benefits of living in Prescott and Yavapai County. He invited readers to "come and make your home with us". In a talk before the Prescott Rotary Club on January 5, 1923, Anderson presented a long list describing what he thought Prescott needed. The talk was titled, "What Prescott Needs...". 

According to Anderson, Prescott needed a real community spirit in the active, not talkative, sense: lower rents, prices and living costs; an advertising campaign about the area's climate and resources; and a concerted action to build the federal building on Goodwin Street and a modern hotel and apartment houses. 

Coverage of Anderson's talk appeared on the front page of the Prescott Journal Miner the next day. Several weeks later, an advertisement ran in the newspaper notifying readers that space would be used for a series of ads that would set forth some of "What Prescott Needs, not eventually-but now." The 'anonymous' author hoped that the effort would arouse an interest in community spirit and civic pride. On January 17, 1923, the first in a series of 35 upbeat, humorous and poetic ads appeared in the Journal Miner. Residents were cheered on by the ads with such slogans as: "Get busy and say a few good words for Prescott,"; "Loyalty to our city costs us nothing and yields vast returns,"; and "Boost for every forward movement. Boost for every new improvement." 

A few good words were not all that Prescott needed. The town's setting was not complete. This "jewel in the mountains" required further improvement and Anderson's list of suggestions included: creating an atmosphere that would foster literature and art; encouraging people to spend and deposit funds in local banks; developing more interest and support for parks, golf courses, and a YMCA; establishing a local mining school through the University of Arizona; creating a modern hospital; providing greater financial support to investors and homebuilders; expanding the manufacturing base; becoming the convention city of the southwest; and building more and more good roads. Needs more particular to the times included a woolen mill and a modern poultry plant in Williamson Valley. The ads appeared through May 1923. 

As the series of ads neared an end, the last ads addressed non-residents and residents alike. LeRoy Anderson wanted the people who were coming here, and those who lived here, to believe in Prescott's future and to help tell the world about its wonderful assets and possibilities. Throughout the 1920s, there would be much to brag about: better roads and rail improvements; more housing; the new Hassayampa Hotel; better hospitals and sanatoriums; and a new federal building, completed in 1931. 

The progress that was made in many of the successful endeavors of the 1920s would not have been possible without "that seed of community spirit" LeRoy Anderson referred to so often. His last ad appeared on May 25, 1923 and it said, "We will never have a real town without the everlastin' teamwork of every bloomin' soul". 

Now, that's what Prescott needs. 

Carolyn Bradshaw is a genealogist and Sharlot Hall Museum volunteer.

Illustrating image

Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (po2441pa)
Reuse only by permission.

LeRoy Anderson, a local attorney, was one of Prescott's biggest boosters in the 1920's. 

Illustrating image
Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number:(Journal-Miner 1-16-23) Reuse only by permission.
The notice appearing in the Prescott Journal Miner of January 16, 1923, indicating plans to post future ads for "What Prescott Needs..." in coming issues. 

Illustrating image
Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number:(Journal-Miner 1-17-23) Reuse only by permission.
On January 17, 1923, the first of many ads to run through May of that year gave Prescott residents the boost that they needed. The ads prompted the city to get busy with many improvements and upgrades and gave the citizens greater pride in their town.