Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Old Capitol Building-High School

The building above was built to house the Territorial Capitol building.

Prior to locating in this building, the legislative offices occupied a two story building located, by different accounts, either next to the Catholic church on Marina St. or on East Gurley St. in the "Capitol Block. " The top floor was used as offices for the legislature and the ground floor for Prescott's first "graded" school run by the sister's of St. Joseph.
I tend to think it was at the Marina location and that the building above was the first built on the "Capitol Block," a full block, the size of the plaza, that was designated to house the State Capitol by the City planners.. The street running between the Plaza and the Capitol Block was appropriately called Union Street
When the Capitol was moved to Phoenix in 1889, the building became Prescott's first High School.
In 1914, the old building was torn down and and this structure was built in it's place. In the 1930's the building was enlarged and the sixth and seventh grades from Washington School were added.

When the new High School was built on Granite Creek, this building held the Junior High School Ee and I attended in the fifties.

The back half of the Capitol block was sold off, Union street extended, and stately Victorian homes built by prominent Prescott citizens soon marched in a row up the hill. It became known as" Nob Hill" by some and "Snob Hill" by others.

Don't forget to click to enter these pictures. The structure in the right bottom corner of the first picture is the old Yavapai Club. In the last, you can see a corner of one of the Nob Hill Victorians in the upper right side.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Prescott Court House 1878

don't forget to click to pop right inside these pictures
These pictures of the charming pink brick courthouse built 1in 1878 to meet the needs of Prescott's growing population, may be my favorites of Ee's collection. With it's modest portico and that interesting little windowed cupola, this building has a charm that our present imposing structure lacks.
One of the hazards of posting these cards is the time I fritter away trying to better research them. I could find nothing about the purpose of this mineral fountain, but I do think they were all the rage at time. I did run across the mention of a mineral fountain to be built in Central Park in 1867 at the cost of $80.00. I know that mineral water was thought to be healthy to drink and to bathe in, although I doubt people bathed on the Plaza!
They did however, have watermelon parties on warm summer evenings. The Plaza was fenced to keep out wandering livestock, and watermelons were planted to be enjoyed by Prescott Citizens. I think that may be a watermelon patch pictured in the foreground on this card!
It's fun to look at the buildings in the backgrounds of these pictures.
The old firehouse and jail show up nicely in the last one, so the photo was taken sometime after 1895 when that building was built.
There was a little chapel too, and I strongly suspect that it was the little building with it's back to the camera and the spire on top.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snow! 1967

click to enlarge
I had several pictures of "The Big Snow" of 1967, but I could find only this one. It's of the collapsed roof of the Western Auto store located about the middle of Whiskey Row.

I was inspired to post this now because Jarat at Prescott Daily Photo has posted some nice snow photos including one taken of that snow.
In 1967, we were living in Groom Creek at an altitude of approximately 6000 feet, and the day it started snowing I was in town doing my once a week shopping. Snow wasn't that unusual in those days, but this time I noticed that the snow was falling in clumps rather than flakes, threatening to pile up in a hurry. I called the three other Moms in our neighborhood to see if they wanted me to bring their children from school when I picked up my older two who were in third and fourth grades. At that time, Groom Creek still had a school district, but there were so few children, they paid tuition to Washington School.
With my three year old son in tow, I made the rounds of elementary classrooms, taking the kids out about an hour early, bundling them up, and herding them to the truck.

Then I was carefully steering our old pickup packed with nine kids, the youngest in front and oldest in back, up the steep, curved, already snow covered road toward home. (that would be illegal today of course, perhaps rightly so) As I dropped the last of my charges, I noticed the chunks falling from the sky had reached huge proportions, and I was relieved when we made it around the bend and up the steep hill of our driveway where the truck then sat immobilized for about a week.

We were snowed in for eleven days, getting out one time to get into town for groceries and a little Christmas shopping. There was propane in the tank, but it was far from full, so we set the thermostat at sixty degrees and used the fireplace for extra heat. The electricity went off early on and without the electric stove, I cooked in a dutch oven in the fireplace. We melted snow in pans set around the fireplace for drinking water. While many people lost phone service, we were fortunate to have ours most of the time.

At that time, Groom Creek was still primarily a community of summer homes and we got calls from concerned neighbors. One offered a huge woodpile (gratefully accepted) another, the location of their spare key and the contents of their freezer (gratefully declined), and one permanent neighbor who happened to be vacationing in Florida called to say, "If you need booze, break a window!" (gratefully, kept in mind.)

It happened that Disney was filming a movie, something about Ostriches, in Mayer or Dewey. The film crew was renting a lovely old house that had once been an old stage stop, but one cameraman, with his family, rented a house fairly close to us. He was an intrepid athlete who happened to have his skis with him. It was a blessing for a permanent resident, the eighty- three year old author Walt Coburn a diabetic, as the cameraman who skied to town daily, brought back insulin as well as food to keep his film crew buddies going.

One of my worries was our Shetland pony, Cupcake. Although she was covered with thick woolly coat I fretted because she refused to go into her stall to stay dry. At some point during the storm, the snow turned wet and slushy. I worried that Cupcake would turn into an icicle. Out we went to shovel out three or so feet of corral gate, feed room, and shop so that we could put the feed into the shop and Cupcake into the tiny feed room. There was a partition between the feed room and the stall with a manger on the stall side. The next morning, we found a bone dry Cupcake in the corral. She had clambered up over the three or four foot partition, through the manger into her stall. I still think we saved her, as that morning, all the trees were uncased in ice and limbs were crashing down everywhere.
We had cut our Christmas tree a week or so before the snow started, so we brought it in and decorated it in it's usual front window setting. The day we got out to shop the electricity was still off, but when we rounded the bend just at dusk the tree was shining out from it's place in the front window, lights reflected off the snow, with all the radient beauty of Christmas.
When the second storm hit we were snowed in again for about another week, but the roads were cleared by Christmas day.
Here's a photo of a snowy Pioneer Home taken in 1967.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

St. Joseph's Academy 1885-1966

Mother John Berchmans Hartrich, along with sisters Mary Martha Dunne and Mary rose Doran made the harrowing stagecoach journey through hostile territory from Tuscon to Prescott in 1878. They had the dual duties of nursing the sick and starting a school for Catholic children.
They discontinued their nursing duties in 1885 to focus on teaching and in 1901 built this academy on a 10 acre plot of land called Murphy Hill that was donated by a prominent Prescott land investor, Frank Murphy.
The new school, St. Joseph's Academy was designed and the construction supervised by Sister Aurelia Mary Doyle. It cost $45,000, with the doors opening in 1904.
By 1910, students from outlying ranches and mining towns were boarding at the Academy at a cost of $20.oo monthly. All were welcome regardless of denomination.
These stairs were commonly used by townspeople as well as students attending the the academy. When I was in Jr. High, I lived on Grove St. and my best friend lived on Alarcon, so the stairs really cut down on the distance we had to walk when visiting back and forth.
There's a great photo taken in 1966, from approximately the same place as the photo above, looking along Willis street. You can Go here to read more about St. Joseph's or just scroll down to the photo. 1966 was the year of the last graduating class at the Academy.

The photo below is fairly old, but I don't know what year it was taken. The tree beside the building in the above photo is no longer there.

You can always click to enlarge the photos...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In the Beginning...

This is an old and murkey picture, it helps to click.

This view of Thumb Butte looking up Granite Creek must be what those first intrepid mountain men and trappers saw when they first tracked Arizona waterways in search of beaver pelts. Although I doubt that Ewing Young and Kit Carson trapped Granite Creek, they are reputed to have trapped the Verde and to have stocked up on water and jerked antelope (pronghorn) meat at Del Rio Springs in Chino Valley, before tackling the arduous trip to the Grand Canyon.

It's just another sad tale of history that the beaver trapping in the Southwestern United States began around 1825 and only twenty-five years later, beaver were pretty much eradicated from Southwestern rivers. In Larry McMurtry's book, Buffalo Gals, two old trappers realize the error of their ways, and when they have an opportunity to buy a pair of beavers while in England they do so, hauling them up into the Colorado (I think) mountains to release them in a stream. Okay, it's fiction, but a lovely idea just the same.

And, while we're on the subject of trappers... perhaps the first party of trappers to enter the New Mexico territory was led by Sylvester Pattie and his son James . While the men of the Pattie party were away from their camp, a band of Apache raided it, stealing their belongings. Among the items taken were Sylvester Pattie's red, long john" underwear. Pattie's lost red shirt became a fierce Apache Chief's trademark. He wore the red shirt so constantly, the feared Apache Chief was called Mangas Coloradas, Spanish for red sleeves.

When you click this for a better view, you can see a number of containers, one clearly labeled Obispo. Does anyone know what that is?
In 1862, a party of about thirty mountain men, soldiers, and other adventurers led by Joseph Reddeford Walker, made their way up the Hassyampa river arriving in the central Arizona. mountains in 1863, about the same time Governor Goodwin established the first territorial capital at Del Rio springs. Soon, mining claims were located in the general vicinity of the confluence of the Hassayampa with Groom and Wolf Creeks respectively , miners established placer claims like the one pictured above, and were soon combing the creeks in search of gold nuggets.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hassayampa Bridge

I love this old card of the covered bridge on Senator Highway below Hassayampa Lake. I started to research the lake, but have found nothing online so far. It looks as though I need to look for this at the Sharlot Hall Museum. If I am able to find out more about the lake that was at one time, a reservoir for the City of Prescott, I'll post a link to these pictures.

Meanwhile, here's the photo of the little bridge that, once covered, now stands exposed to the elements, and leading to it the road that sketches out a narrow passage with the mountain pressing in on one side and a sheer drop to Hassyampa creek on the other.. I was always a little nervous on this road, fearing we would meet someone and have to pass or try to back up.
I couldn't decide between the two post cards. Tinted or not, so just posted both. The last time we crossed this bridge, we drove from Lynx Lake road past Hassyampa Lake and back down to Prescott on the Senator Highway. It's a fun drive although the road at the top is still a bit rough and at times, has been snowy long after snow has melted in town.
Hassyampa Lake was still used as a recreational and fishing lake until in the nineties the City sold the lake to a private developer, and he some big log homes around the lake area. I haven't been up there for a couple of years so don't know if you can still drive clear through, or even if the lake has water in it.

click to enlarge pictures

If you're considering driving between Prescott and Lynx Lake on this road, you might want to call the Forest Service to ask about road conditions.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gurley Street

You can click to enlarge the photo.

Here's another view of Prescott looking West on Gurley St, probably 1905-06. The city planners who staked out streets wide enough to accommodate a good deal of traffic, showed remarkable foresight, although it would have been virtually impossible for them to imagine the amount of traffic those streets must bear today.

In 1863, when it became apparent that the Confederacy had it's eye on the wild land east of California that was reputed to be rich with gold, silver and other natural resources, Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to divide the New Mexico territory approximately in half, and to establish the Western half as the Arizona territory. He appointed John A. Gurley of Ohio as Governor. Governor Gurley died on August 19, 1863 before he could began his Gubernatorial duties and John Noble Goodwin was appointed to take his place. Gurley Street was named in honor of John A. Gurley.

A trolley system was established for Prescott, run by the Mount Union Railway Company. The two cars, one for a downtown route, and one to service Fort Whipple (now known as Bob Stump V. A., the name change being one of my pet peeves), held twenty-eight passengers apiece and were both heated and lighted. Why "ride shank's mare " when for a nickel, you could ride in style?

It's unknown exactly when the lines started their official run, but on May 27, 1904 Prescott's city dignitaries were treated to a ride. You can read more about the establishment of the street car lines here at Sharlot Hall Museum, Days Past.