Rose Garden PhotographsGrace Marian Sparkes was born in Lead, South Dakota, on January 21, 1893, the daughter of Thomas J. and Mary Ann (Martin) Sparkes. After living briefly in Alaska, the family came to Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, in 1907. Grace graduated from St. Joseph's Academy in 1910 and later from Lamson Business College in Phoenix.

Grace spent her life promoting Yavapai County, serving as secretary of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, later renamed the Yavapai County Chamber of Commerce, from 1911 until 1945.  She was secretary of the Prescott Frontier Days Association for thirty years and arena director for the Fourth of July rodeo. She is also credited with Prescott's slogan "Cowboy Capital of the World."

Grace was a member of the Monday Club and the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  She also promoted the construction of the Hassayampa Hotel. Understanding the need for first-class accommodations for tourists, she approached local business leaders and Mayor Morris Goldwater to raise money for the hotel, and it became a great Prescott attraction.  In addition, she was a founding member of the Smoki Dancers and made President Coolidge an honorary member of the organization.

As chairman of the Yavapai County CWA (Civil Works Administration) in 1933-34, she was instrumental in the establishment of Sharlot Hall Museum's "House of a Thousand Hands." She helped to secure the New Deal funding necessary to construct the stone building now called the Sharlot Hall Building.  Grace also played a crucial role in preserving other historic sites, such as the Coronado National Memorial in the Huachuca Mountains and the Tuzigoot Indian Ruins near Clarkdale.

In 1935, Grace and Sharlot Hall, with Yavapai leaders, Sam and Viola Jimulla, convinced the federal government to set aside seventy-five acres of land for the Yavapai Reservation.  This was the first reservation established solely for the Yavapai in the state.

Grace became involved in mining and owned shares in mines, including the Texas Mine in Texas Canyon, Cochise County.  Following her resignation from the Chamber, Grace concentrated on her mining interests. In later years, she worked for and at the Coronado National Monument. She also had several hobbies:  hiking, horseback riding and reading.

Because of her effective interest in public welfare and her estimable personal qualities, she had an extensive number of acquaintances and was highly esteemed by all who knew her. She was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

Grace’s mother, Mary Ann Sparkes, and her sister, Charity Bones, are also honored in the Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden.

Grace died on October 22, 1963, in Bisbee, Arizona, and was buried in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery, Prescott.  After her death, the Grace Sparkes Activity Center at 824 E. Gurley Street was named in memory of the vital contributions she made to the City of Prescott.

Donor: SHM Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden Committee
Photo Located: Historic Photo Collection - PO-637pd
Updated: 8/23/2015; N. Freer