March 28, 2015

1932: Prescott Police Chief Demands Gun Control (and the Shocking Reason Why)

Prescott Police Chief Worth Rybon just dug a .22 caliber bullet out of a living room chair.  It had passed through a pane of glass from outside the house.  The Chief had had enough.

Mrs. Emma Franks, owner of the house, was relieved that she was not at home at the time.  Two Prescott women had already been shot in the head from such gun-"play".

It seems that when adolescents and young boys are given guns, they eventually just HAVE to shoot them at something!  Within city limits, this became a dangerous problem.

March 17, 2015

The Death of Mangas Colorado: "The Greatest Wrong Ever Done to the Indians"

Mangas Colorado was an important Apache warrior/leader who fiercely fought to protect his people's land from encroaching Mexicans and Anglos.  His capture by the first whites to eventually settle in the Prescott area on January 17th, 1863 would start a series of events that would produce a bitterness that kept murderous hostilities brewing in Arizona for almost an additional quarter of a century.

March 8, 2015

Horses, Autos & Primitive Traffic Laws

The teen years of the 20th century brought an awkward adolescence when it came to street traffic.  Animals and autos didn't mix well on the same path.  Car clubs suggested rules that were eventually adopted nationwide.  Yet when it came to issues specific to individual towns, some of these primitive traffic laws are sure to bring a smile to today's reader.

In Prescott, the major issue was the interaction of mechanical automobiles and beasts of burden (mostly horses and mules).  Traffic was becoming crowded and dangerous for everyone.  And as far as Prescott was concerned, it was the animals that should take all priority.

March 3, 2015

Entertainment In Prescott a Century Ago

In later January 1915, nothing much happened in Prescott according to the Journel Miner newspaper.  Heavy snows made all travel but train nearly impossible.

The resulting slow news stories were charming:

* A couple of hundred words were given to the story of two boys who "shot the lock off the pump house (and)...After a stern lecture and cross-your-heart promises," the boys were released...

* It was observed that the mail-posts in downtown had received "so many degradations from local canines" that replacements were needed swiftly...

* It was reported, in detail, how a local woman slipped and fell on the ice. (No hospitalization was needed--simply bedrest)...

All of which gives the author an opportunity to talk in general about entertainment in Prescott a century ago...

Meet the Father of Prescott's Current Identity

On January 31st, 1940, the current identity of Prescott, Arizona was born. The drive to move Prescott from an old mining town and former capitol to a tourist-based city would begin.

At a meeting held at the local superior court, Paul B. Murphy, secretary of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, outlined a plan to city leaders that would eventually mold Prescott into the beloved town we know today.

1915: Prohibition Threatens to Close Prescott's Library

As the New Year dawned on 1915, everyone knew the saloons of Whiskey Row would be closed, but realization quickly set in that Prescott's library would be next.

Voter initiated Prohibition just went into effect in Arizona. But the drying up of legal liquor also meant the drying up of city tax revenues on the sales and licensing of alcohol. This led the town fathers into making some tough decisions and severe cuts to public services.

The library, for example, required an annual budget of $600 ($24,000 in today's dollars) and the money was simply not going to be raised by the city in 1915 to keep the institution open.