March 18, 2018

1871: CB Genung Builds the Old Yarnell Road

Come 1871, the farmers and ranchers of Kirkland and Peeples Valley had a logistics problem. They wanted access to the Wickenburg and Phoenix markets for their products, but there was no wagon road down the rim that was suitable for heavy loads.

"There was a road that could be traveled by light rigs and empty teams, but no (loaded wagon) could be handled over it." Additionally, the old trail was an excessive 60 miles long.

A new, better route was desperately needed and Charles Benjamin Genung proposed a road that would cut off a whopping 33 miles from the journey.

March 11, 2018

A Union Spy in the Joseph Walker Camp

Joseph Rutherford Walker, circa 1860
It is well understood that Fort Whipple was established to protect anglos around the Prescott area. However, there is evidence that initially the federal government was not so much interested in protecting the miners as it was in protecting the minerals.

March 4, 2018

Rich Ranchman Tries to Get Away With Murder

1918's "trial of the century" was the first murder case ever heard in today's Yavapai County Courthouse. Details of the case were so lurid, salacious, and popular that column-inch coverage of the trial was greater than the concurrent, closing weeks of World War 1!

Cast of Main Characters:
Robert J. Miller: 36 year-old ranch-hand and kindly lady's man; worked on the Stephens' ranch and was gunned-down April 2, 1918 in a clothing store downtown on Gurley St.

Joe Stephens: Wealthy cattle rancher from the Simmons area and family patriarch. It would take an average 1918 worker over 130 years to earn what Joe Stephens was worth. Despite prohibition, he was known for frequent drunken tirades.

Mrs. Stephens: 45 year-old, besieged wife of Joe Stephens. At the very least, she was victim of drunken verbal abuse. Although the subject of domestic violence was not broached in 1918, contemporary readers might discern disturbing symtoms of such.

Harry "Bud" Stephens: Sophomoric son of Joe and Mrs. Stephens. Considered a World War 1 draft-dodger. There was no disagreement that this 22 year-old was the gunman who killed Miller.

February 25, 2018

Road Crew Finds Giant Skeleton on Sycamore Creek

In February 1913, a road crew started digging "where the grade of the Verde railway passes" over Sycamore Creek in order to facilitate improvements. Soon they uncovered evidence that they had found a prehistoric gravesite. What shocked them further was the enormous size of the bones located within it.

It was later calculated that this humanoid skeleton must have stood at least 8 feet tall.

February 18, 2018

The First Prescottonians Killed in the Indian War

As Prescott began to develope into a small, isolated bastion of anglo civilization, conflicts with Native Americans were immediate and regular.

Although trappers and miners were killed in the area prior, here are the accounts of the first Fort Whipple soldier and the first citizen of Prescott to be killed in the Indian Conflicts.

February 11, 2018

The Zany Prostitution Sting at the Depot House

By 1918, Prescott was keen to clean-up the city's reputation in regards to prostitution. Fines were increased from a simple slap on the wrist to truly punitive amounts.

The red-light district on Granite street was closed down and prostitution stings were begun at other locations including the Depot House. However, on the night of August 4th, the sensitivities of the Chief of Police would be put to the test and, in the end, Cupid would have his way.