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.

March 26, 2023

The Forgotten, Lost Town of Val Verde


The evening of September 24, 1904 was windy, and the smelter’s open building provided some relief from the heat of the furnace. Around 9pm, as part of their routine, workers wet-down the furnace and began to remove, or “undrape” the liquid slag. This time however, there was too much of the by-product and the slag poured out of the furnace too quickly for the men to control it. 

“It spread over the floor, in front of the smelter,” the Weekly Journal-Miner explained, “and the molten slag, coming in contact with the water, caused [an] explosion, sending the hot metal all through the building; setting it on fire in a number of places.” While there was an abundance of water on hand, it was impossible to check the progress of the blaze as the strong winds fanned the flames. 

Not only was the building doomed, but so was the five year-old town of Val Verde. 

February 5, 2023

The Mammoth Senator Tunnel

In the early prospecting days of the 19th century, the Senator and other adjacent mines were thought to be a bonanza of gold ore. They were worked down until they reached water and work was given up. However, in early 1905 a plan was announced that would completely revive the Mt. Union section of the Hassayampa mining district.