Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Elks Theater & The Yavapai Club

pictures will enlarge when clicked

The Elk's theater and opera house opening in 1905, was built by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. The three story structure cost $65,000. I think the top floor served the Elks Lodge with offices on the second, and the theater of course, on the ground level.

Inside, seats that could be easily removed to make room for ballroom dancing provided seating for around 900 people.
The fancy decor was green and gold with Elk's head logos highlighting each of the box seats on the sides of the stage. This theater was a hub for community life where graduation ceremonies and school plays were held.

There were also professional plays and acts. Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink the lauded German diva performed there. Parker Anderson has written a very fun account of her visit to Prescott.

According to Parker Anderson, in 1910 the Elks recognized that Charles Howard's Electric Theater housed in the Head Hotel, had been drawing the majority of the entertainment business by featuring Vaudeville acts and short movie clips.
Since the Opera house had proved to be less "of a financial boon" than they'd expected, the Elks hired Charles Howard to manage their less successful Theater. He promptly closed the Electric Theater and Vaudeville acts and movies were then shown at the Elks theater seven nights a week.

When we moved to Prescott in 1947, the Elks theater was the place to see movies like Gone With the Wind, Leave Her to Heaven and All the King's Men while the Studio Theater, once standing on the corner of Cortez and Union, was the place Prescott kids congregated every Saturday afternoon to watch westerns staring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Audie Murphy. We were also spellbound by Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan of the Apes and my personal tropical favorite Kay Aldridge as Nyoka the Jungle Girl.
I thought this would be a good time to include this picture of the Yavapai Club. The interesting thing is that this building looks quite different than the building across Marina Street from the Carnegie Library in the top photo. I don't know when this building was built, but it was a "gentleman's club" built by Frank Murphy that included a restaurant, games room, library, sleeping accommodations, and even a bowling alley. It had a ballroom and a library. Yavapai club members were local businessmen.

I think this is the oldest picture and the building in the top photo is a remodel although this one looks like it has more room....Hmmmm What do you think??

The building shown peeking out on the east of the Yavapai Club, between it and the old Capitol Building, was the Drake Opera House formerly S.E. Patton's Opera House. I don't think I've seen a picture of it in the whole.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bathing Lake Update

Azlaydey sent me these pictures of her family swimming in the Granite Dells pool/lake.
They're especially great as they give us a perspective lacking in the other pictures so now we have an almost 180 degree view of the lake.

This one of her Mom was taken from about the site of the old Leave Her to Heaven set. It was probably around 11 a.m. or so because you can see the afternoon's thunderheads, reliable as clockwork then, just peeking above the boulders.
The picture below is of her children and looks across from the rocks toward the old movie set. (I recently watched the movie again and this time, in the beginning of the movie, I saw this set and pool. )
It looks like all three of these children were having a wonderful time, even the little dabbler with the broken arm who was probably under instructions not to get her cast wet!
That's most likely one of those huge inner tubes, not a boat in front of the looks-like-a-house move set.

Azlaydey and I both raised our children here in the sixties and seventies. We didn't know each other, but we could easily have stood side by side at the Fourth of July parade.. we share a nostalgia for those beautifully simple times and neither of us would trade them for today's mad paced, and restrictive society.
I'm going to leave these pictures here for awhile because I don't want anyone to miss them. Later I'll move them down to the bathing lake series.
Thanks Azlaydey! And thanks for your comments telling about ranching life in Skull Valley when you were raising your children.


PAMSETGAAF Pure Air Maximum Sunshine Equitable Temperature Good Accommodations Ample Food.
From 1903 to 1945, Dr. John Flinn and his wife Margaret operated a sanitarium in Prescott for patients with tuberculosis. Dr. Flinn, who had once suffered from tuberculosis himself, was a native of Nova Scotia who was recognized nationally as an authority on the illness.
Some well known people were among Dr. Finn's patients including the film star Lila Lee, Walter Winchell, and Cleveland Amory who, according to Melissa Ruffner, edited the Courier while he was here.
These rentals on South Willow are the site of Dr. Flinn's sanatorium.

In the community below, the street is in the the shape of a horse shoe with this charming cottage at the center and high point of the bend, and top of the hill.

There were a number of communities, like this one in Pine Crest, throughout Prescott, catering to TB patients and some of our best known citizens came here suffering from that disease.

The house below was my Grandmother's from 1958 until her death in 1970. We knew that it had been part of the community of homes for patients with tuberculosis and that it had been much added on to and remodeled over the years. The many windowed room on the right side, Gram's kitchen, had been a bedroom, easy to fill with fresh air and sunshine.

The house below was home to Richard Nixon when his Mother brought his tubercular brother to Prescott.

Granny J. has reserved the ramada at Finn Park for a blogger picnic on April 19. I was wondering why I didn't remember the name there and was reminded that it used to be Acker Park.
For a look at a brochure from Pamsetgaff, you can go to the UofA library. It has pictures of the bungalows.

Katherine J. Gernand Nicolay wrote an article giving lots of information on the subject of Prescott citizens who first came here suffering from TB. You can read it here.
I'm having all kinds of trouble with blogger on paragraph spacing and switching around. I'm going to stop now. Don't forget you can click the pictures for an enlarged view.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Head Hotel

In 1947, when my Mom, my Aunt, and I disembarked from the train one hot August day, we walked the short distance to the Head Hotel to take some rooms where we stayed until we got our bearings and rented a little cottage from, I believe, the Dandee court over on Goodwin and Granite Streets.
I remember walking to the Pigley Wigley where we bought some lovely peachy tasting peaches. The kind you simply can't buy in stores any more.
We asked about the prominent landmark seen at the end of Gurley Street and were told it was called Thumb Butte. "Oh," and "Ahhh.." said the three round eyed tourists.
I'm not sure when the Head Hotel was built. Obviously before the automobile became the prefer ed mode of transportation. If you're given to conjecture as Ee and I are, you might want to see what you think of this image in the Arizona Memory project. After much scrutiny and back and forth viewing of the various images, we think the "Head House' was the center portion of the Head Hotel and the rest built off either end.

According to the above add, the Post Office was once housed there. Later, the lower portion housed the New State Star moving picture theater before movies were seen at the Elk's Theater and J.C. Penney's was located there prior to moving to the Bashford building.

There was a spur of the Mt. Union Electric Streetcar line running down Cortez to the train depot and here's a shot of the hotel compiler with streetcar.

_And a shot of the hotel in 1938 with lots of old cars in front. Clearly, Western Auto was located there at that time. It stayed in that location for quite a number of years, at least into the early fifties.

Jarat has a nice photo of the way the building looks today. After many years of providing rooms available on a monthly basis that served as permanent residences for many of Prescott's elderly citizens, I think it's been turned into more modern apartments. What say you, Granny J.? I think you addressed the subject, but can't find it in your blog.....
Update: I spoke with a representative of a local property management company who told me the old Head hotel, although changed on the outside and bearing the new name the Prescott Inn, he believes is still pretty much the same on the inside, and is still operating in much the same way. He gave me the name of the current owner, so I'll try to contact him to ask about future plans for the hotel.