August 20, 2017

Chamber of Commerce Brings Excitement & City Slogan (1910)

By 1910 it seemed that Prescott was the only city of appreciable size in Arizona that did not have a Chamber of Commerce. There had been attempts before, but they ended up dissolving due to factional differences. But now the situation was becoming acute, if not embarrassing.

"Even the town of Parker had such an organization," the Journal-Miner grumbled, "and it has sufficient influence to cause the government to consider seriously throwing open the lands of the Indian reservation for settlement." (*1)

However, this time the Chamber would meet great success. For it not only included Prescott's businesses, but the involvement of her citizens as well.

"Judging from the past failures in that line, there were some who predicted that there would not be a dozen persons present (for the forming of the Chamber,) but at 8:00 the old Electric theater, where the meeting was held, was nearly filled with citizens." (*1)

"They represented men in every profession, in every line of business, and many wage workers, who realize that the growth of Prescott will inure to their individual benefit, as it will to the merchant and to the property owners." (*1)

ES Clark was elected chair and a suggestion made that a Board of Directors be elected immediately. Another suggested that a committee be appointed to write a constitution and by-laws and then elections for a Board held. Still a third man suggested that before any of this were done that those interested should sign a temporary membership roll to discern real interest. This was agreed to. The announcement that 82 business interests signed the roll "was geeted with great applause, for it was a result that not even the most sanguine supporters of the movement had anticipated." (*1)

A membership committee and an organization committee each with a dozen men were formed. (*2)

It was also decided that capital would be raised by selling 5000 shares of stock at $5 a share. (*3)

"After the meeting adjourned there was a general feeling of satisfaction expressed over the auspicious character of the affair, and without exception all predicted that something had been accomplished that would prove permanent and that would mark the beginning of a new era in the history of Prescott." (*1)


The surprising story of "big-box" stores a century and a half ago in Prescott.


A constitution and bylaws were compiled. "Copies of the constitution and by-laws of the Chambers of Commerce of Phoenix and San Diego had been received and digested by the committee and the best features of each selected." (*4)

Immediately the Chamber involved the citizenry by announcing a contest for a slogan for the city. Eventually over 350 entries were submitted for the new slogan. Some of the odder entries included: "May Her Roman Virtues Win;" "Our Ozone Gives Tone;" "Creator of Jealousy;" "The White City;" and "Prescott--We're On--R U?" (*5)

Of the 350-plus suggestions received, 319 were seriously considered. The Journal-Miner printed a list of all 319. (*5)

Several involved Prescott's wonderful climate: "The Sunkist City;" "Climate of the Gods;" "Cool Summers and Mild Winters;" and "Headquarters of the Sun."

Some reflected civic pride: "World's Desire;" "Best of the West;" "We'll Win You Yet;" and "Prescott Unexcelled." 

Many told of the city's hospitality: "Pilgrim, We Greet You;" "Buy a One-Way Ticket;" "You'll Never Go Back;" and "Settle Here With Us."

And we mustn't forget the beautiful scenery: "Nature's Masterpiece;" "Gem of the Mountains;"  "Arizona's Loveliest;" "Palace of the Pines;" and "Grandeur Unsurpassed."

"The Place to Live," submitted by Col. EA Rogers of the Courier won first place. "Our Climate Cures" won second and "City of Blue Skies" received third. One entry, "Opportunity Its Only Knocker," was given honorable mention. (*6)

How a man from Phoenix helped Prescott develop her current identity.

"RS Masson, president of the Prescott Gas and Electric Co. announced...he (would donate) illuminating signs at the (railroad) depot" that displayed the new slogan on four separate "miniature electric globes." (*7)

The Chamber didn't stop there. They also involved the citizenry in a photo contest. "Beauty spots are in much favor," the Chamber announced, "and those who have taken pictures in the past can dig up (their) best ones." Cash prizes were offered with $10 going to first place, $5 for second and $2.50 for third. (*8)

Over 116 pictures were submitted for the Chamber's use in "boosting" materials. (*9)

In just 7 weeks after its founding, the Chamber: (*7)

  • Distributed hundreds of "mailer boosters" to citizens to be inserted into their out-of-town correspondence.
  • Placed an advertisement in the March, 1911 issue of West Coast magazine. Also submitted to the magazine were four landscape photos of the Prescott area. The Chamber paid the cost to have these engraved for printing so they could be returned and utilized again elsewhere.
  • Six photos of Prescott and the surrounding area were scheduled to appear in the Geographic Reader which also advertised the city.

Indeed, the Chamber of Commerce was well on its way. Soon plans would be made to build summer cottages and colonies to accommodate Valley of the Sun residents trying to get some relief from the heat and Prescott would gain its reputation of being a go-to summer destination.

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An index of the early histories and place name origins of several locations in Yavapai County, Arizona.


Tourist Tips:

The Prescott Chamber of Commerce offers an excellent "Visitor Center" page that includes information on area attractions, walking tours and much more!


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SOURCES:
(*1) Weekly Journal-Miner; 11/23/1910 Pg. 3 Col. 6 
(*2) Weekly Journal-Miner; 11/23/1910 Pg. 7 Col. 1 
(*3) Weekly Journal-Miner; 11/30/1910 Pg. 1 Col. 2 
(*4) IBID. Pg. 8, Col. 5.
(*5) Arizona Journal-Miner 1/26/1911 Pg. 3 Col.1
(*6) Weekly Journal-Miner;  2/1/1911 Pg. 8 Col. 6
(*7) Weekly Journal-Miner; 1/25/1911 Pg. 8 Col. 6
(*8) Weekly Journal-Miner 3/1/1911 Pg. 6 Col. 6
(*9) Weekly Journal-Miner; 3/8/1911 Pg. 3 Col. 2

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