Western Trips

Western Trips

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Attractions in Arizona / Prescott

prescott arizona
Along the plaza, Prescott Arizona
Attractions in Arizona are aplenty and the scenic city of Prescott is one of them. 

Prescott Arizona is located in a very scenic area of north central Arizona. This mile high city was at one time the capital of Arizona Territory. Here at Prescott you can enjoy four mild seasons and enjoy events that are scheduled throughout the year. Like many small cities in the southwest, Prescott offers plenty of recreational opportunities as well as fun boutique shopping, great restaurants and a long history. Prescott is a nice blending of old west history and a very enjoyable climate. Adventure and culture can be found everywhere around Prescott.

Prescott Arizona had its start in the Spring of 1863 when Joseph R. Walker and a group of explorers and prospective gold miners arrived near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River. On May 10, 1863, at a location some six miles south-southeast of this current Prescott Plaza, twenty-five members of the Walker Prospecting and Mining Company created regulations and laws that would form the first government of the first Arizona mining district in what eventually would be Yavapai County.

hotel st michael prescott az
Historic Hotel St. Michael
An Important Town in the Arizona Territory

Very unique to Prescott, the town is known as a settlement that was built entirely of wood and inhabited entirely by Americans. This indeed was unique to the southwest. The town received it's name in honor of William Hickling Prescott, an American historian. Among Prescott's books were The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic and The History of the Conquest of Mexico. William Hickling Prescott was also a colonel during the Revolutionary War known famously  for his order to his soldiers, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes".

Prescott became the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1864. The town held that title until eventually losing it's capital status in 1867 to Tucson. Eventually the capital would be moved to Phoenix in 1877. This would have been a few years after the Confederate occupancy of southern Arizona during the American Civil War. Prior to 1864 the Arizona Territory was a part of the larger New Mexico Territory. During these years, Prescott had it's share of old west characters and events. Visits by both Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp and far too many stagecoach robberies were all part of Prescott's and the new territory's history.

sharlot hall museum prescott
Sharlot Hall Museum
Visiting Prescott AZ

In addition to some very historic structures in Prescott are several excellent museums you'll want to stop at. These include the Sharlot Hall Museum named after it's founder, Sharlot Mabridth Hall. The poet activist and politician is recognized as Arizona's very first historian. By 1907, Sharlot Hall was determined to save Arizona's history and began plans for the museum. The museum exhibits include seven historic buildings as well as a fine collection of both Native American and pioneer artifacts. The museum and it's grounds, located just one block south of the Prescott plaza is also the site of numerous public events and festivals.

The Phippen Museum, a fine arts museum, is another stop to add to your Prescott Arizona trip planner. The Phippen Museum hosts an Annual Western Art Show and Sale, usually around May, that also includes a live auction. Artists include both new and established names who create art of the American West. The Phippen Museum also offers public tours of it's current exhibits the first Saturday of every month.

prescott az plaza
"Rough Riders" statue in Prescott AZ Plaza
Remarkably, Prescott Arizona now has some 800 structures on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Exploring some of these is another fine addition to your Arizona vacation planner. The historic Hotel St. Michael on Prescott's Whiskey Row was built on the same site of the smaller Hotel Burke which burned down in 1900. Whiskey Row was an infamous downtown district up until 1956. The brick and stone Hotel St. Michael opened it's doors in 1901 as a luxury accommodation and included as guests such well known figures as author Zane Grey and western actor Tom Mix. The Hotel St. Michael, located on the southwest corner of the square opposite the courthouse is a very good example of western architecture of the early 1900's. The downtown plaza on which the Hotel St. Michael and other historic buildings are located  is known as the heart of Prescott.

Yet another must see visit is to Mount Vernon Street. This is where you'll view Prescott's numerous restored Victorian homes. Several of these are now bed and breakfast inns. The Mount Vernon Street District is located west of the courthouse and contains numerous original Victorian homes on it's tree shaded street.

whiskey row in prescott arizona
View down Prescott's historic Whiskey Row
If you're planning on visiting Prescott Arizona during the summer months you may want to check out the rodeo held during the Prescott Frontier Days in early July. Prescott has the distinction of being the location of the World's Oldest Rodeo which celebrates it's 126th year in 2013. 

Links to three additional Arizona Western Trips photo articles you'll enjoy is a Visit to Montezuma Castle National Monument just a short drive east of Prescott ... Visit to Downtown Flagstaff Arizona....and Hiking the Crescent Moon Ranch Trail in Sedona

Getting to Prescott Arizona

Prescott is located in the Bradshaw Mountains in central Arizona. The city is located about 90 miles north of Phoenix. Both Phoenix and Flagstaff Arizona to the north is about a one and one-half hour drive from Prescott.  From the Arizona towns of Sedona and Jerome, Prescott is about a forty-five minute drive.

From Phoenix, take Interstate 17 north to the AZ 69 exit and go west. From Flagstaff to the north, take Interstate 17 southbound to the AZ 169 exit and go west.

For a fun, adventurous and historical trip to Arizona make sure to add Prescott to your Attractions in Arizona to visit vacation planner.

(Photos from author's private collection)

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1 comment:

  1. Arizona in general has so many interesting things to do. Great to find so much information about Prescott all in one place. Amazing pictures too!



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