Panoramic Prescott and Courthouse Caninesby John Scott on Jul. 19, 2012, under Uncategorized
In 1864, Prescott, Arizona was named after a famous historian of the 19th century, William Hickling Prescott. That year it also became Arizona’s first capital. This was an honor it would lose, get back again in 1877, then lose again. I guess they were fickle in the Arizona Territory back then.
Prescott’s one of those gems that really makes Arizona stand out. Glorious hills and plush forests punctuate the valley. The Yavapai County Courthouse sits in the middle of the historic district in a square reminiscent of little towns in the Midwest. Surrounded by stalwart trees and green grass, the area is a popular event location year-round. Not to mention there are so many locals walking dogs in Courthouse Plaza I’ve nicknamed it the Dog Walking Capital of Arizona.
Just across the street is a series of buildings that they call Whiskey Row. This was the popular gambling/drinking/entertainment area during the late 1800’s. In its heyday, the town attracted many Old West notables. The Earps, Doc Holliday, outlaw John Kinney, “Big Nose Kate” Elder (Doc’s girlfriend), all spent time in Prescott. Kate Elder actually lived out the remainder of her life in the Pioneer Home, a retirement facility that provided care for some colorful frontier folk who were lucky enough to live through the gunfights, Indian attacks, and the numerous incurable diseases that plagued the 19th century. One resident named John Miller claimed he was Billy the Kid. Apparently, there was enough compelling evidence for some investigators to dig him up and match his DNA against a “probable” sample. To my knowledge the results have not been released to the public. It’s funny to me to think of one of America’s iconic outlaws sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of an old folk’s home.
Due to its climate and breathtaking scenery, Prescott hosts continuous outdoor events. Next week, the town will celebrate the 7th annual Shootout on Whiskey Row. Located near the Yavapai County Courthouse, the event will have an Old West costume and skit competition. All proceeds from the event go to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Yavapai County. There will be food, vendors, and entertainment. Of course, if you get bored, there’s Whiskey Row to explore, and about a dozen antique stores. Prescott also has over 800 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places to keep you busy. If you’re a museum buff, check out Sharlot Hall, Ft. Whipple, the Phippen, and the Smoki museums. I’d say there’s plenty to do for the whole family. You can’t walk away from Prescott without getting some snippet of history.
Probably Prescott’s most popular event is the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Since 1888, this has been an annual pastime. I saw the rodeo in 2001, and witnessed “Whiplash” the rodeo monkey curtail wild Barbados Sheep while riding a Border Collie. Yes, I was sober.
So, if you are of a mind to get to cooler temps and a change of scenery, head to Prescott. Have a drink in historic Whiskey Row, visit one of their museums or just relax under the shade of a towering Ponderosa Pine and watch the dogs sniff around the Courthouse Plaza.