May 5, 2024

Arizona's 1st Telegraph Pole Was Erected at Ft. Whipple

Officer's Quarters Ft. Whipple (1871)

As 1873 dawned, the Weekly Arizona Miner lamented that Arizona was “about the only great geographical division of the Union that is not now connected with the Capital of said Union…by telegraph.” Indeed, Lt.-Gen. George R. Crook, the man in charge of fighting in the Indian Conflicts, requested that the War Department build a telegraph line from California into the Arizona Territory in 1871. However, by 1873, Crook had already made peace with the Apaches and the “Indian Wars,” as they were called were winding down. Yet the wiring of Arizona to the rest of civilization would still be of great benefit in case of conflict from Mexico and Arizona “would no longer be isolated,” the Miner observed.

March 24, 2024

1898: The Railroad Roundhouse Disaster

MH Dodge and Captain Donaldson were visiting in front of the Catholic Church around 2PM Tuesday, August 16, 1898. Dodge was facing toward the rail yard when he witnessed an immense piece of iron rise 200-300 feet into the air. Immediately, the concussion of a huge explosion reached the men’s ears. Even more disturbing, this giant, rotating projectile was heading straight toward them! 

March 10, 2024

Jerome's Great Fire of 1898

One year before the fire;
almost all of this would be destroyed.

The Journal-Miner described it as “one of the greatest calamities in the loss of human lives and destruction of property that has ever occurred in the territory, and it may also be said in the West.”

December 17, 2023

The Snow-Mageddon of '67!

Consensus knows that Prescott gets snow, but it almost never lasts long—often melting away before evening. This was the reasoning behind the city selling off its “excess” snow removal equipment. But then in mid-December, 1967, a below freezing cold-snap accompanied by four waves of heavy snow eventually produced 72 inches with drifts measuring up to 10 feet. 

Ironically, it was the city of Phoenix that sent ten snowplows, at its own expense, to help with the crisis.

September 3, 2023

Payson's 'Oldest Continuous Rodeo' Claim Proven False

Payson, Arizona claims their rodeo is the "World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo since 1884." It's a contention that relies largely on oral legends. However, a review of the historical newspaper records refutes the assertion.

July 2, 2023

1921 Rodeo Had Several More Attractions

 In anticipation of the great 1921 event, Grace Sparkes wrote: “Oh boy!  Can’t you hear the grinding of the old chute doors, the smell of clean horse flesh and the general atmosphere of the town just percolating with Frontier Days?"

However, just the year before, it was thought that the World’s Oldest Rodeo had run its course. There wasn’t enough profit in 1920 to hold the show in '21, but a group of businessmen and townspeople started a new fraternal organization which would be called the Smoki (Smoke-eye) People. They held a fundraising fair called the Way Out West Show May 26, 1921 to raise money for the rodeo.

Not only did the rodeo go on, but it was able to upgrade. This was the first rodeo to utilize a public address system. The “electric announcer…carried [one’s voice] to every part of the grounds,” the Weekly Journal-Miner revealed. It involved the latest technology of the day costing “several hundred dollars,” and the same style was being utilized by US President Wilson.