Main Births etc
Prescott, Arizona
—  City  —
Courthouse & Buckey O'Neill statue
Motto: "Welcome to Everybody's Hometown"
Location in Yavapai County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 34°32′30″N 112°28′10″W / 34.54167, -112.46944Coordinates: 34°32′30″N 112°28′10″W / 34.54167, -112.46944
Country United States
State Arizona
County Yavapai
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Marlin Kuykendall
 • City 41.51 sq mi (107.52 km2)
 • Land 40.12 sq mi (105.41 km2)
 • Water 0.85 sq mi (2.14 km2)
Elevation 5,368.23 ft (1,636 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 39,843
 • Estimate (2013[2]) 40,590
 • Density 915.6/sq mi (353.5/km2)
 • Metro 215,133 (US: 201th)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 86300-86399
Area code(s) 928
FIPS code 04-57380

Prescott (Template:Lang-yuf; English pronunciation: /ˈprɛskət/ /ˈprɛskɒt/ PRES-kət or PRES-kot) is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843.[1] The city is the county seat of Yavapai County.[3] In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple.[4] The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.

The towns of Prescott Valley, 7 miles (11 km) east; Chino Valley, 16 miles (26 km) north; Dewey-Humboldt, 13 miles (21 km) east, and Prescott, together comprise what is locally known as the "Quad-City" area. This also sometimes refers to central Yavapai County in general, which would include the towns of: Mayer, Paulden, Wilhoit, and Williamson Valley. Combined with these smaller communities the area had a population of 103,260 as of 2007. Prescott is the center of the Prescott Metropolitan Area, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as all of Yavapai County. In 2010 Yavapai County had 211,073 residents according to the United States Census Bureau, making Metro Prescott the third-largest metropolitan area in Arizona, after Phoenix (4.2 million) and Tucson (1 million). Metro Prescott will eventually become part of the Arizona Sun Corridor megaregion, with a total estimated megapolitan population of 7.4 million people in 2025.

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe reservation is located adjacent to and partially within the borders of Prescott.


First Territorial Capital and Governor's Mansion, 1864. Now part of Sharlot Hall Museum

First Prescott Courthouse, circa 1885

Arizona Territorial Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin replaced Governor John A. Gurley, appointed by Abraham Lincoln, who died before taking office. Downtown streets in Prescott are named in honor of each of them. Goodwin selected a site 20 miles (32 km) south of the temporary capital on the east side of Granite Creek near a number of mining camps. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864.[4] Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864, a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community.[5] Prescott was officially incorporated in 1883.

Prescott served as capital of Arizona Territory until November 1, 1867, when the capital was moved to Tucson by act of the 4th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[6] The capital was returned to Prescott in 1877 by the 9th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[7] The capital was finally moved to Phoenix on February 4, 1889, by the 15th Arizona Territorial Legislature.[8]

The Sharlot Hall Museum houses much of Prescott's territorial history, and the Smoki and Phippen museums also maintain local collections. Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott boasts many historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona's oldest restaurant and bar, and many other buildings that have been converted to boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, and restaurants. The city was named after author William H. Prescott, whose writings were popular during the Civil War.

Prescott also has a place in western folklore with the fact that Virgil Earp, Wyatt Earp's older brother lived in Prescott in 1879 and told him of the boom town in Tombstone, Arizona. It is also rumored that Doc Holliday spent some time in Prescott just before heading to Tombstone.[9]

After several major fires in the early part of the century, downtown Prescott was rebuilt with brick. The central courthouse plaza, a lawn under huge old elm trees, is a gathering and meeting place. Cultural events and performances take place on many nights in the summer on the plaza.

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee for president, launched his presidential campaign from the steps of Prescott's Yavapai County Courthouse.

Nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, part of the Prescott Fire Department, lost their lives Sunday, June 30, 2013 while battling the Yarnell Hill fire that ignited two days earlier south of Prescott.


Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain in Prescott.

Prescott is 55 mi (89 km) west-northwest of the State of Arizona's geographic center.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.5 sq mi (107.5 km2), of which 40.7 sq mi (105.4 km2) is land and 0.81 sq mi (2.1 km2) is water.

Prescott is considered part of North Central Arizona. It is just south of the Granite Dells. Granite Creek flows generally north from the Bradshaw Mountains through the city, the Granite Dells, and the Little Chino Valley to the Verde River.


Prescott is located in the Bradshaw Mountains of central Arizona, at an altitude of 5,400 feet (1,600 m). The city has what is classified under the Köppen climatic classification as a Mediterranean climate (Csa) owing to its relatively high rainfall and dry early summer period, with mild to cool winters and warm to hot summers.[10] Average annual precipitation for 1981–2010 is 17.75 inches (451 mm), with spring and early summer the driest times of the year.[11][12] Snowfall is typically light and snow cover usually melts away quickly; the 1981–2011 average seasonal total is 12.8 inches (33 cm). Despite the Csa classification, the largest portion of precipitation falls during the July–September monsoon season. Average daytime temperatures remain above 50 °F (10 °C) the entire year, but diurnal temperature variation is large throughout the year, averaging nearly 30 °F (17 °C) annually.[11][12] On average, temperatures reach 90 °F (32 °C) on 36 days annually, though 100 °F (38 °C)+ readings are uncommon and do not occur every year, much unlike the Sonoran Desert to the south and Mojave Desert to the west. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 21 thru May 1.

There was a severe drought from 1999 to 2009, seen from the lack of snowpack in the Bradshaw Mountains. Local creeks do not contain water except immediately after the rare rains. Nevertheless, at the start of 2007 lakes were reported as full. The winter of 2005–06 had less than 3 inches (7.6 cm) of snow, compared to an average snowfall of 22 inches (56 cm).[13]

Climate data for Prescott, Arizona (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 52.0
Average low °F (°C) 23.8
Record low °F (°C) −21
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.57
Snowfall inches (cm) 2.9
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.7 5.9 5.9 3.4 2.9 2.0 9.5 9.9 5.8 4.0 4.2 5.0 64.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.1 1.1 1.0 .3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .3 1.2 5.0
Source: NOAA (extremes 1898–present)[11]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 668
1880 1,836 174.9%
1890 1,759 −4.2%
1900 3,559 102.3%
1910 5,092 43.1%
1920 5,010 −1.6%
1930 5,517 10.1%
1940 6,018 9.1%
1950 6,764 12.4%
1960 12,861 90.1%
1970 13,631 6.0%
1980 19,865 45.7%
1990 26,455 33.2%
2000 33,938 28.3%
2010 39,843 17.4%
Est. 2013 40,590 19.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2000, there were 33,938 people, 15,098 households, and 8,968 families residing in the city. The population density was 915.6 people per square mile (353.5/km²). There were 17,144 housing units at an average density of 462.5 per square mile (178.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.93% White, 0.50% Black or African American, 1.27% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 8.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,098 households out of which 18.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.62.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.9% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 18.9% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 26.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,446, and the median income for a family was $46,481. Males had a median income of $31,834 versus $22,982 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,565. About 7.4% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Prescott Gateway Mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 2002, replacing Ponderosa Plaza as Prescott's major shopping center.

Downtown Prescott has dozens of independently owned and operated shops.


Brinkmeyer House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Hassayampa Hotel, built 1927. Henry Trost, architect.

Prescott has many Victorian style homes. Prescott has 809 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Prescott is home to the downtown historical area known as Whiskey Row, until 1956 a notorious red-light district . In 1900, a great fire destroyed almost all of the buildings on Whiskey Row, including the 1891 Hotel Burke, advertised as "the only absolutely fireproof building in Prescott".[15] By legend, the patrons of the various bars simply took their drinks across the street to the Courthouse square and watched it burn. At the time of the fire, the entire bar and back-bar of the Palace Hotel was removed to the square by the patrons as the fire approached, re-installing it after the gutted brick structure was rebuilt. (The size of the back-bar is impressive, and appears not easily moved, even by many hands.) Whiskey Row runs north and south on Montezuma St. between Gurley and Goodwin St., directly west of the county courthouse. This single city block has been the home of the St. Michael's Hotel (formerly the Hotel Burke) and the Palace Hotel since the late 19th century, along with other colorful purveyors of night-life. Merchant Sam Hill's large hardware store was located near Whiskey Row.[16]

There are four golf courses within the city limits: Antelope Hills Golf Course, which consist of the City of Prescott South Course and the City of Prescott North Course, Hassayampa Golf Club, and Prescott Lakes Golf Club. More courses are located nearby in surrounding towns.

Prescott is home to The Arizona Pioneers' Home, a continuing care retirement home, operated and funded by the State of Arizona, originally intended for impoverished Arizona founders from Territorial days. Initially the home was built to house 40 men, but in 1916 an addition of a women’s wing was completed to provide for 20 women. Later, in 1929, the home again expanded to include Arizona’s Hospital for Disabled Miners (current total capacity is 150 beds). Scenes from the 2008 movie Jolene were filmed in the Pioneer's Home in 2006. The Home has had many colorful residents, including a John Miller, who had claimed to be Billy the Kid, and who was exhumed from the Pioneer's Home Cemetery in 2005 in an attempt to identify DNA evidence. Another resident was "Big Nose Kate" Elder, who would also be laid to rest in the Pioneer's Home Cemetery, though not without controversy.

While Prescott is known for its western and cowboy feel, it is also the home of Prescott College, a small liberal arts college located just west of the downtown area that emphasizes environmental and social justice. In recent years Prescott College has fostered The Catalyst Infoshop (an Anarchist Free Space), Karma Farms (a community garden program), a local farmers market, as well as many other establishments. It is a non-profit organization which has an undergraduate body of roughly 800 students, and an average student to faculty ratio of 7:1 in on-campus classrooms.[17] There are four general programs at Prescott College: the On-campus Undergraduate Program (RDP), Limited-Residency Undergraduate Degree Program (ADP), the Limited-Residency Master of Arts Program (MAP), and a Limited-Residency PhD program in Sustainability Education.[18] Those enrolled in the Limited-Residency programs work with various mentors and Prescott College faculty, usually in their home communities. On-campus students live in Prescott and attend classes at the college itself.

Prescott hosts annual events such as Frontier Days, The World's Oldest Rodeo (1888) (featured in the 1972 film Junior Bonner), Easter Egg-Stravaganza, the Bluegrass Festival, Earth Day, July 4 Celebration, Tsunami on the Square, art festivals, a Cinco de Mayo celebration, Navajo Rug Auction, Pumpkin Patch Carnival, World’s Largest Gingerbread Village (actually on the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe reservation), Prescott Film Festival, Folk Arts Fair, parades, the Acker Music Festival, The Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Prescott Highland Games, Courthouse Lighting, Whiskey Off Road and Ragnar Relay Del Sol. On New Year’s Eve, historic Whiskey Row saw the inaugural Prescott Boot Drop to usher in the 2012 New Year. The illuminated 6-foot (1.8 m) tall cowboy boot with multi-colored stars was lowered from the historic Palace Restaurant rooftop’s 40-foot (12 m) flagpole to the delight and cheers of celebrants gathered on Montezuma Street which was closed for the occasion. Also located in Prescott is the Heritage Park Zoo.

Prescott was the location of Arizona's first Elks Lodge (BPOE). In December 1895 a group of enterprising businessmen in Prescott, sturdy products of the early west, charted the original petition for a dispensation and later established the Prescott Elks Lodge #330. "Mother Lodge of Arizona" The Prescott Elks Opera House was built by the lodge in 1905. The Prescott Elks Lodge now located in Prescott Valley and has served the community for over 116 years.

A panorama of the Courthouse square in downtown Prescott.
A panorama of the Courthouse square in downtown Prescott.


Prescott was designated "Arizona's Christmas City" by Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in 1989. Other notable designations include:

2000. Downtown Historic Preservation District (which includes "Whiskey Row") —one of 12 such National Register Historic Districts within the City.

2004. A “Preserve American Community”[19] in 2004 by First Lady Laura Bush.

2006. One of a “Dozen Distinctive Destinations”[20] by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

2008. Yavapai Courthouse Plaza recognized as one of the first ten “Great Public Places”[21] in America by the American Planning Association. The plaza enjoys the select company of such iconic places as New York City’s Central Park and Santa Monica Beach in California. The historic courthouse stands in an oasis of green grass in a gothic cathedral of 170+ trees including 127 American elms. More than 130 activities occur annually including arts and crafts shows, concerts, dancing, outdoor movies, and other special events. People are always seen on the plaza. Walking (3 laps = 1 mile) around the plaza is quite popular with the locals.

2012. Number 1 True Western Town of the Year[22] for 2011 by True West Magazine and One of the 61 Best Old House Neighborhoods in the U.S and Canada by This Old House Magazine.[23]


The City of Prescott operates under a council-manager form of government. The council has six council members and a Mayor, all elected at-large by the people of Prescott. Council members are elected to staggered four-year terms, and the Mayor to a two-year term. Elections for Mayor and council members are held in the first year after the national presidential and mid-term elections to keep national issues from overshadowing local concerns. Mayoral and council elections are non-partisan. There are no term limits for council members or the Mayor. The council appoints a professional city manager to oversee the daily administrative operations of city services and their respective departments, including the Prescott Fire Department. The current city manager is Craig McConnell. The current Mayor is Marlin Kuykendall, re-elected in 2011. Council members elected in 2011 are Jim Lamerson, Charlie Arnold, and Chris Kuknyo. Council members elected in 2013 are Greg Lazzell, Jean Wilcox, and Steve Blair.[24]


Colleges in Prescott

  • Prescott is the main site of Yavapai College's campuses in Yavapai County. Yavapai College is a community college that was established in 1965 and held its first classes in 1969.
  • Prescott College
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott
  • Northern Arizona University and Old Dominion University have campuses in Prescott
  • online, for-profit Northcentral University is based in Prescott Valley, Arizona

High Schools in Prescott Prescott Unified School District operates public schools. There are 20 public schools, including five charter schools, in grades K-12 and four private schools in Prescott.[25][25]


View of airport from Hwy 89

The city has a municipal airport, Ernest A. Love Field, 7 miles (11 km) north of the downtown courthouse. Local public transit is handled by the Prescott Citibus.[26] The two main thoroughfares in and around Prescott are Arizona State Route 69 and Arizona State Route 89. Route 69 connects Prescott with Prescott Valley to the east, eventually curving southeast before reaching Interstate 17 at mile marker 262, about 65 miles (105 km) from downtown Phoenix. Route 89 travels mostly north–south and connects Prescott with Chino Valley and Paulden to the north, continuing northward until it joins Interstate 40 at mile marker 146, Ash Fork.

Notable residents[]

Sister cities[]

See also[]

  • Best places in the US to retire

Notes and references[]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ a b Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9. 
  5. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 36,38. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9. 
  6. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9. 
  7. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9. 
  8. ^ Wagoner, Jay J. (1970). Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-8165-0176-9. 
  9. ^ Doc Holliday
  10. ^ "World Maps of Köppen-Geiger climate classification". Institute for Veterinary Public Health. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013.*/ Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Data Tools: 1981-2010 Normals". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.*/ Retrieved August 26, 2014.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NOAA" defined multiple times with different content
  12. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Prescott, Arizona". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013.*/ Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  13. ^ Microsoft Word - CLIMATE_PRC_07.doc
  14. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  15. ^ Prescott Area Geological Field Guide, 1999, prepared for Earth Science Week. Copy available at Yavapai College library.
  16. ^ A volunteer docent statement from the free official downtown Prescott guided historical and architectural tour claims this is the origin of the phrase, "Where in the Sam Hill did you get that?". This may not be accurate, since "Sam Hill" is also a euphemistic reference to Hell predating Prescott, being a polite way of saying "Where in the Hell did you get that?". However, there was indeed a Sam Hill Hardware store, attested to by the bronze letters embedded in the concrete sidewalk spelling out "SAM HILL" inset in the sidewalk at each boundary of the property.
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ Preserve America Community: Prescott, Arizona
  20. ^ Dozen Distinctive Destinations - Prescott, AZ:
  21. ^ American Planning Association (APA). Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza Prescott, Arizona: 'Jewel' of Downtown Prescott
  22. ^ Meghan Sarr / by the Editors. 2012, Feb. Top Ten True Western Towns. True West. p78.
  23. ^ Pandolfi, Keith. "Pine Crest Historic District, Prescott, Arizona | Best Old House Neighborhoods 2012: The West | Photos | Home & Real Estate". This Old House.,,20569041_21120801,00.html. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  24. ^ "City Officials - City of Prescott, Arizona". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  25. ^ a b Arizona Department of Education
  26. ^ WestWeb Services. "Prescott Citibus | Prescott Transit Authority". Retrieved 2012-08-17. 

External links[]

Detail, old National Guard Armory

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