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An Oasis in the Desert

Sep 17, 2022

By Jenny Pederson

The Bradshaw Mountains of Central Arizona contain many treasures. Among them is an oasis which features outstretched saguaros, an array of desert flowers, palms, a creek, and geothermal spring waters.

 

Used by the Yavapai for millenia, the area with the geothermal springs was part of a homestead claim filed by Civil War veteran George Monroe in 1873. Making the claim with three partners, he and his partners subsequently set up a tent camp and established a stagecoach stop. By 1877, the medicinal and health benefits of “taking the waters” were already known.

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By Shellane Dannatt
 

Native American baskets are woven with more than willow and sumac- they are also woven with the tribal beliefs of the weaver. 
 

Baskets were used by most early inhabitants of North America, with the oldest basket found in the Southwest dating to about 8,000 years ago. Ancestral Puebloan sites (forerunners of today’s Pueblo Indians) contained ancient woven baskets.
 

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By Parker Anderson

Historians generally accept (albeit hesitantly) that Raymond Hatfield Gardner was an Army scout during the Indian Wars. Beyond that, nothing about his life has been conclusively verified.  His genealogy has never been successfully traced, and his flamboyant stories have never been verified. It’s not even established that Raymond Gardner was his real name. Even the birthdate on his tombstone came from his own statements.
 

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By Worcester P. Bong

Driving on Interstate 17 and State Route 69 between Phoenix and Prescott routinely takes less than two hours. Today’s travelers don’t realize the backbone of these two highways was a stagecoach route known as Black Canyon Highway, which officially became a state highway in 1936, designated as Arizona State Route 69 (SR 69).

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By Nancy Burgess

The primary purposes of the Homestead Act of 1862 were twofold: to make government owned land available to citizens and to open up the western United States to settlement. This act paved the way for United States citizens of any means to obtain land at no cost other than the fee to file the paperwork. 

Homesteading in Arizona Territory was slow to develop as much of the territory was completely undeveloped, and therefore inaccessible – a “wilderness.” Even the territorial capitol of Prescott was established in a wilderness in 1864.

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By Marjory J. Sente

An early proprietor, H. (Henry) C. Vincent, and his family experienced the full circle of life at the hotel. Moving back to Prescott from Williams, he took over the Congress House on October 10, 1901.
 

Early ads boasted “Everything Strictly First-Class.” However, the January 29, 1902 Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner announced the hotel would soon be remodeled, adding ten rooms and other improvements. During the renovation, Vincent changed the name from Congress House to Hotel Congress.
 

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By Marjory J. Sente

When the Congress Hotel burned down on July 12, 1923, a Prescott landmark was gone, but its history and the memories of the people who lived and visited there were not extinguished.

Built in 1878 by Fred W. Williams, the hotel was called the Williams House and then the Congress House until it was renamed the Hotel Congress in 1902. Located at 124 - 126 E. Gurley Street (present site of the Hassayampa Inn), it was close to the Plaza and downtown. It became a popular place for women traveling alone, Phoenicians looking for cool summers and travelers from around the US seeking mild winters.

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By Bradley G. Courtney

There’s a touching legend that has been shared for decades along Whiskey Row that speaks of a baby who was won in a gambling game after being abandoned atop a bar counter of a prominent Whiskey Row saloon. The tale has been featured in newspapers, magazines, books and poetry. Of the hundreds extant, it’s perhaps Arizona’s best and most famous saloon story.

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By Worcester P. Bong

On November 19, 1919, the historic Hassayampa Country Club (now Capital Canyon Club) opened for the first time as a 2,820-yard, par 37, nine-hole golf course. But in July 1919, another little-known golf course for U.S. Army personnel, convalescing patients and other golf enthusiasts existed.
 

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By Tyler J. Elsberry

The genesis of the World’s Oldest Rodeo can be traced to the development of early Prescott. Founded in 1864, Prescott grew as miners and cattlemen flocked to the area. The cattlemen capitalized on the area’s remoteness to establish numerous ranches. These ranches attracted cowboys who brought new blood to Prescott and supported the town’s economy. Ranches held biannual roundups (rodeos) during which cowboys engaged in long, arduous work. Afterward, they reveled in comparing their skills. These cowboy contests initially provided opportunities to establish bragging rights on who was the best roper or best bronc rider. Outside spectators and participants alike would root for and bet on their favored competitors.

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