Prescott began as a mining town with the discovery of gold. It was officially founded in 1864 as the Territorial Capital of Arizona.
Fort Whipple, an army garrison, was established here. The former fort is now the home of a V.A. Hospital. Many of the original fort buildings remain, and one houses a museum.
The Plaza (also know as The Courthouse Square) was created as a gathering spot in the early life of our town, on a small piece of land filled with Ponderosa pines. Soon the trees were cut down by locals using them for firewood. They were replaced and wells were drilled on the four corners of the property. One of these original wells can be seen near the corner of Goodwin & Cortez.
The first permanent structure was the 1878 Courthouse. By 1916 this courhouse proved to be inadequate, so was razed and replaced by the current courthouse. (Behind the cornerstorne is a copper box to be opened i 100 years.) With its park-like setting of grass and trees, The Plaza was and remains to this day a popular spot to gather.
The stretch of Montezuma Street along the west side of Courthouse Plaza was becoming known as Whiskey Row due to the many saloons situated there. These saloons and many of the businesses in Prescott (almost all constructed of wood) burned to the ground in July of 1900. Rebuilding quickly took place using sturdier construction materials.
Behind Whiskey Row were the Chinese and brothel districts. As many as 500 Chinese immigrants passed through Prescott between 1870 and 1930, with many of them returning to China. Brothels, gambling halls, saloons and underground speakeasy's were all very popular places in those days. It is storied that these areas were connected by underground tunnels. Officially these tunnels are denied by many, in spite of many stories and photos to support its authenticity.
The Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday were often in Prescott. In 1879 Doc Holliday won $10,000 playing poker at the Palace Saloon. Virgil Earp lived in Prescott for approximately 15 years. Big Nose Kate (Doc Holliday's girlfriend) lived, died and is buried in Prescott.
It is believed Billy the Kid lived in Prescott at the Pioneer's Home, another historical building in Prescott. Strong evidence supports this as fact.
CONTINUED UNDER "MORE PRESCOTT"