August 2, 2015

1877: Early Prescott Super Stores

1877 Goldwater "Super Store" was located
where the Prescott City Hall is now.

There was much talk and excitement when Goldwater & Bro. first started building their new store in 1875.  It would take two years to complete the two-story brick building.  But in a time when most business establishments were 500 to 1200 square feet, this new "mammoth" store was 3600 square feet.

Attached was a frame warehouse for bulk items that provided an additional 1200 square feet making the 4800sf establishment four times bigger than most other stores!

The Goldwaters' were successful general store proprietors for 15 years in Arizona before they opened the new store.  The Arizona Weekly Miner of January 19th, 1877 predicted "the future financial success of this enterprising firm."

Indeed, the Goldwaters would operate a store in Prescott for many decades to come.

An advertisement in the January 12th paper gave a listing of the products available:

Groceries and Provisions:
Local Produce; Cheese; Dried Fruit; Dried Beef; Canned Goods; Syrups; Tea and Coffee; Spices; (and surprisingly)--Mackerel, Salmon Bellies, White Fish, and Cod Fish.

Paints; Oils; Brushes; Glass and Putty.  Window Shades; Wall Paper; Rugs; Furniture; Lamps; Clocks; Mirrors; Mining Equipment; Horse Equipment; Ammunition; even Chimneys!

There was tobacco, cigars, snuff and cigarettes.  There were clothes and coats for men, women and children; perfumery; stationary; even candy.

The paper stated that the Goldwaters "know what kind of goods (are) needed here and their stock bears evidence of that knowledge."

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The "J. Goldwater & Bro." store was a big advertiser in the Arizona Weekly Miner and as a result, many column inches were freely given to describe the brand new store.  Although the author could not find any interior pictures of this particular Goldwater General Store, the paper did all it could to paint a picture with words.

After passing through the arched doorway, "one is simply amazed at the appearance which meets his view."  The 16 foot high walls had a "hard finish and the ceiling being painted white, gives to the whole such a light and airy appearance that the four fine chandeliers that are suspended from the ceiling seem to have been placed there merely for ornament."

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There were "three stylish white counters with grained on each side (of the store) and one in the center.  The shelving (was) neatly and elegantly finished in white and surmounted by a broad cornice which (was) ornamented by a narrow strip of gilt molding along its center."

The 10x12 foot office had turned-posts and railings that allowed "an unobstructed view of the entire store."  It contained a black walnut desk, an "elegant calendar clock" and "one of MacNeale & Urban's celebrated safes."  Additionally, (of course,) there was a gold scale which was "especially noticeable for the artistic workmanship displayed in (its) construction and finish."

For a young town growing out of the wilderness, it must have been quite a sight.

For the Goldwaters, however, this brand new, expensive building still didn't fit the bill.  After just a year, plans were being laid to build another large building at a new location less than a block from where they were originally located.

In 1880, the Goldwaters moved to this location at the SE corner
of Union & Cortez.

This new store was deemed as perfect and the Goldwater General Store remained at this location serving the citizens of Prescott for the next fifty years.

Tourist Tips:


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Arizona Weekly Miner; January 19th, 1877, page 4 col. 2.
IBID; January 12th, 1877, page 2 col. 5
The Goldwaters of Prescott (Sharlot Hall, Days Past)


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