April 30, 2015

The Birth of Watson Lake

Nestled along the Granite Dells, Watson Lake makes for one of the most picturesque scenes in Prescott.  Watson is a man-made lake created in April of 1915 with the completion of the Granite Creek dam by a company from Indiana.

Needless to say, water is extremely important in the desert and the anticipation of a new lake close to the city brought the biggest celebration Prescott saw in many years.  

There were notable speakers, free barbecue, Prescott's band and a special train to get to the celebration as the four-ton steel gates would be closed to store the waters of Granite Creek.  "Acting Mayor AJ Head...issued his proclamation declaring a general holiday from 1 o'clock until 5 on that auspicious day," the newspaper noted; even the courts were closed. 

April 15, 2015

There Were Cars in the Prescott National Forest Before There Were Whitetail Deer


Anyone who has spent any length of time in the Prescott National Forest is well aware of the large population of whitetail deer who call it home.  It seems they've been there forever.

But few locals and sportsmen are aware that the whitetail deer did not exist in the forest until the spring of 1915--a full half-century after the city was founded!  There were automobiles in the forest before the white-tail deer ever showed-up! Their arrival came in large numbers and was a complete surprise.

April 4, 2015

Skull Valley Earned Its Gruesome Name Twice

It would be a strong statement to say that a piece of land is "cursed"; something this author would rather avoid.  Yet it seems that some spots in the world are painfully familiar with the angel of death.

Skull Valley, AZ (a half hour west of Prescott,) is one such place, having earned its gruesome name not once, but twice.  Both times involved a large loss of life to the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe.

It's been said that "Ploughing-time down [in Skull Valley] means, among other things, grave-exhuming time – the annual harvesting of dead men’s bones.  And the supply of these grisly evidences...of long ago appear to be inexhaustible." (*1)