Items 1 to 10 of 1247 total

By Drew Desmond

It was the biggest disaster to strike the city since the Great Fire of 1900, and it got progressively worse. By the time the summer of 1919 came along, water pressure had consistently fallen so low that everyone was required to boil it. Unfortunately, the Weekly Journal-Miner noted, that did nothing to relieve its foul smell.

Prescott was thrilled to learn that Ft. Whipple would be brought back to life as a hospital for US veterans suffering from tuberculosis. It would be an economic boom for the city. However, the new hospital had first rights to the water being pumped up from Del Rio Springs, which was also the largest source of freshwater for the city. Even before it was in full operation, the hospital was already consuming the majority of that water. The crisis was even more acute for farmers around Chino Valley and Jerome Junction. Prescott had been allowing them to use city water for several years, but in May of 1918, the city needed to turn off the tap. Prescott also prohibited the railroad from using water from Miller Creek. Despite these efforts, the city was still consuming more water than it was capturing. In December of 1918, over 17 million gallons were consumed. The previous December, it was only 10 million.

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By Marjory J. Sente

Ada D. Bass was the wife of renowned Grand Canyon guide William Wallace Bass. Her Arizona roots, however, were first planted in Prescott, when she arrived as Miss Ada Lenore Diefendorf to visit her aunt, Mrs. Anna C. McGowan, in January 1894. Ada’s aunt was the proprietress of the Williams House, a Prescott hotel.  

Twenty-six-year-old Ada traveled by train from her parents’ home in East Worchester, New York, for a visit that lasted almost a year. A teacher and musician trained at the Boston Conservatory of Music, she became involved in the Prescott community, offering music lessons during the spring and summer of 1894.           

In 1894 after learning about guided Grand Canyon trips, Ada and her aunt decided to take one of W.W. Bass’s excursions. They paid $25 for the six-day adventure from Williams to the Canyon and back, accompanied by Miss Kate L. Heizer, Frank S. Emmal and Arizona Journal-Miner editor J. C. Martin. The trip was well-documented by Martin in his articles in the Journal-Miner and by Ada’s composition “My First Trip to Grand Canyon.” 

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By Bob Baker


James Grant was a well-known and respected figure in early Arizona Territory. While his crowning achievement was starting the first stage line to provide through transportation from Prescott, the territorial capital, to San Bernardino, California, he also worked as a teamster, a contract mail carrier, mercantile store owner and a territorial auditor.

Grant left Canada in 1854 seeking new opportunities in California. Upon arrival he opened a mercantile business in Marysville that he ran for several years. In 1863 he collaborated with John R. Fink to start a mail stage from San Bernardino, California to La Paz, Arizona Territory. Subsequently, they won the U.S. Mail contract and Fink sold out to Grant. Grant was one of the first white men to cross the Great Colorado Desert from San Bernardino to La Paz. He often carried the mail himself despite the rough terrain, unsettled relationships with Indigenous tribes and unpredictable weather.   

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Compiled by Susan Cypert

In 1914 Europe was in the beginning of World War I, but not the United States. And in Prescott, the town was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1864. It was also celebrating a great Thanksgiving as described in an article in the Weekly Journal-Miner on November 27th.

The following version of the 1914 article was originally published on November 22, 1997 as a Days Past piece edited by Michael Wurtz, archivist at the Sharlot Hall Museum. It is a delightful article and bears revisiting. The subheading gives the reader an idea of why this particular Thanksgiving was so remarkable: “Mercury Ranges From 28 to 70; Day Long To Be Remembered in Prescott”.

“It simply does not lie in the power of the weather man to make a finer day for Thanksgiving than the one in Prescott yesterday, and it is probable that the people enjoyed it to the full measure of their capacity for such perfect things.

In the morning the thermometer registered twenty-eight above at 7 o’clock. At nine o’clock Old Sol had driven the silver point up to [sic] twenty, and at noon it was 67, becoming still warmer than this as the beautiful afternoon wore slowly away.

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By Jenny Pederson

Sharlot Mabridth Hall, founder of the Sharlot Hall Museum, was an opinionated, independent woman with a thirst for learning. She came to Central Arizona as a child in 1882 and quickly became fascinated with the Territory’s history. Trips into the growing town of Prescott and conversations with “old-timers” knowledgeable about the early history of Arizona further encouraged her work as an ambitious amateur historian.

This drive to learn about the history of her adopted home later informed her work as Territorial Historian, a position she held from 1909 to 1912. In this role, Sharlot took on the responsibility of collecting and caring for the history of Arizona in an official capacity while searching out the people and places that had shaped the Territory’s past.

During her tenure, Sharlot took multiple trips around Arizona, collecting objects from the families of original settlers, interviewing early Territorial residents and seeing the historic ruins and contemporary communities of Arizona’s native populations. One of her lengthiest trips was a seventy-five-day tour of the Arizona Strip, begun in July 1911 in Flagstaff and completed in October of the same year. 

At the time, the Arizona Strip was a little-known region, comprising nearly 5 million acres and stretching from the Colorado River to the northern border with Utah. It was – and still is – an arid, rugged landscape with varied elevation and intriguing sights. To prepare for the trip, Sharlot tried to do research, but little material was available that discussed the region’s history and people.

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By Marjory J. Sente

Abraham Blumberg lived in Prescott for little more than a decade, but in that time he built a prosperous, modern business, as well as a house on Mount Vernon Street with unique features.

Born in Talsen, Russia, in 1867, Blumberg emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in June, 1889. Between then and 1894, he lived in Baltimore, El Paso and finally Prescott, where he owned the New York Store and became one of the most respected retailers in town.

Opening his store in a small rented room on the east side of the Plaza with only a few dollars in merchandise, Blumberg quickly became known for his excellent customer service. At one point, the store occupied the Knights of Pythias’s retail space.

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By Worcester P. Bong
 

Back in 1955, due to the notoriety of the “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” Prescott was one of the top ten western cities under consideration for the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum.

The March 2, 1955, Prescott Evening Courier announced that Prescott was selected in the top ten from forty-six cities that had applied. Other cities selected were Canyon, Texas; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dodge City, Kansas; Las Vegas, New Mexico; Miles City, Montana; North Platte, Nebraska; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Rapid City, South Dakota. Starting mid-March, the site selection committee toured each city. Five cities would be chosen and given one more opportunity to present their reasons to become the permanent museum site. The Prescott Hall of Fame committee announced they would show three potential sites: two near the airport and one north of Watson Lake. The tour would also visit the Sharlot Hall Museum, the proposed temporary site while the permanent Hall of Fame Museum was being built.

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By Mick Woodcock
 

General William Tecumseh Sherman visited Prescott in 1878. He arrived at Fort Whipple about 4 PM on Wednesday, September 18 and was whisked off to a dinner at Dr. McKee’s, which included about a dozen guests. The next morning was spent on an informal inspection of the post, including a visit to the post hospital and a ride into Prescott to visit the town and the surrounding area. That evening was the military reception at the Fort, held in the almost completed building that was to be the commanding officer’s quarters for the Department of Arizona. According to the Weekly Arizona Miner for September 20, 1878, “All the rooms were handsomely decorated with evergreens, flowers and bunting.” The newspaper labeled it “…a perfect success.”

Friday was a full day of public appearances. The General made a short address to the students at the Prescott Free Academy, and this was accompanied by a program of student activities and speeches by other dignitaries. Sherman then received the public at the new courthouse from 12 noon until 2 PM, with all invited to come and pay their respects. The evening culminated with a grand ball and reception. The September 20, 1878 edition of the Weekly Arizona Miner called it, “The greatest social event that ever occurred in Arizona was that which took place at the new theatre Friday evening in honor of Generals Sherman and McCook.” Military dignitaries arrived at 9 PM and festivities included speeches, supper and dancing.

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By Mick Woodcock
 

William Tecumseh Sherman is best known as a Union general during the American Civil War. His major claim to fame was making good on his statement to "make Georgia howl" by marching from Atlanta to Savannah, living off the land and generally leaving the inhabitants of that part of the south an estimated $100 million in property destruction.

When Ulysses S. Grant took office as President in 1869, Sherman was appointed Commanding General of the Army. As such, he oversaw the Army’s part in bringing peace to the American West as well as preparing the Army for the next conflict with a foreign power, should that become necessary.

Sherman visited Prescott in 1878.

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By Bob Harner

The January 2, 1895, edition of the Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner featured this notice: “If you fail to attend Putnam’s lectures, you will always regret it. Such treats of reasoning of eloquence of Encyclopedic knowledge, don’t come our way every day.”

The lecturer was Samuel Porter Putnam, a leading advocate for the Freethought movement. A former Unitarian minister, Putnam founded the Freethought Federation of America (which later merged with the American Secular Union) in 1892. Freethought philosophy held that people should rely on their own human reasoning rather than on religious doctrines and beliefs. Putnam frequently traveled the country, delivering lectures and promoting the creation of local Freethought Federation chapters.

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