My family was the Mark and Ethel Barker family who lived in the Verde Valley before the Clemenceau Public School was constructed in 1923. I had a sister, Margaret Barker Bilynskyj who was one of your (Clemenceau Heritage Museum) volunteers a number of years ago. Margaret, a retired nurse also volunteered at the hospital. My dad was on the school board continuously during his lifetime. I have his service plaque presented to for his work at Cottonwood High School. Margaret always wanted bricks purchased for the four sisters in our family who attended Clemenceau K-9 and then I attended K-12 graduating in 1951 from Cottonwood High School.
My friends Paula and Pay Schnebly (maiden names) recently visited the Museum. Mr. Schnebly was my English teacher and their mother and my mother were good friends. The Schnebly’s lived with us during the rough weather because it was difficult to get back and forth to Sedona in the winter. My husband and our children lived out of state for so many years, but it is nice to have lovely memories.
O.K. Garretson, one of the early school principles, was a best friend of my father, and my mother had him to dinner and sewed on his shirt buttons. O.K. was a bachelor, met his wife, a Clemenceau third grade teacher, when my sister Beth attended her class. Later, Dean O.K. Garretson was my dean of Education at the University of Arizona when I was attending the U: 1951-55. My sister, Gwen Barker, was one of the first students at Clemenceau. She later taught English in the Jerome High School.
My Auntie pop (Nurse, Barkie Williams) nursed James Douglas when he was quite ill and lived in Jerome. Our dear friends the Langdon’s lived in a beautiful brick home just north of the Clemenceau Smelter. Their son was blind, but had God given talent of music. He played on a beautiful grand piano and had several of us, ages 3 and 4, in with our mothers and Mrs. Langdon, to hear him play and to learn to pick out the tunes and to use our small fingers. Years later, I also remember the Smelter coming down!
Our family had the Cottonwood Fuel and Feed in the early 1930’s. My aunt, Barkie Williams, delivered many of the population of the early Verde Valley. One of my good friends, Patricia MacArthur Rauh, here in Tucson, and many of my classmates there, were delivered by Aunty Pop (Williams).
Thank you for your work and for keeping alive a history of the valley that is so precious to so many.
My parents moved to Phoenix from El Paso in 1918. We lived in the vicinity of 12th St. & Indian School Road, which was a long distance from downtown Phoenix.
I was born in 1926, a few years before the beginning of the Great Depression (who said it was great?) Mother and Dad and their family of six knew how to treasure every item that was owned.
Dad had been in the construction business and obtained a job as a carpenter in the remodeling of the Arizona State Capital Building on West Washington Street. There was a remodeling in 1918 and another in 1930; I do not know which one he was involved in. He retrieved (I say retrieved rather then something less honorable) a pair of solid brass doorknobs with the Seal of the Great State of Arizona deeply embossed in each of them. These were placed among his treasured rock and mineral specimens in his workshop behind the house. He knew how often I looked at and admired those door knobs.
He would bring home various pieces of lumber and other reusable items from almost every job he worked on. He was a pack rat and our yard looked a private junkyard most of the time.
He mounted one of the door knobs on a piece of beautiful, polished ironwood from the black root of a dead ironwood tree in the desert. This was presented to me for some special holiday (now forgotten by me.) Shortly before he died he gave me the second one because he felt they should be kept together. The doorknobs are my legacy. These were admired by my Daughter when she was growing up and then by my Grandchildren when they came to visit.
In 1999 there was an article in the Prescott Courier about work going on at the State Capital Building to restore it to its original beauty. I immediately thought of my favorite conversation pieces, the Sacred Doorknobs. I called the museum at the Capital and ask if they would like to have them to use in the restoration work. They were interested, so I mailed them to be displayed at their original home – after the hiatus of seventy or possibly eighty two years. They are on display in the Capital Museum – with Ray E. Pringle’s name and the story of their past history.
I did not want to leave this world and the Sacred Doorknobs until I could rest assured that they were a permanent piece of Arizona History.
My first cowboying job was in the spring of 1950, working for the “Windmill Ranch” at the age of 14. We camped at Black Tanks below Casner Mountain. Several cowboys were there and they asked me, “Kid do you know how to shoe a horse?” Well, I told them I had helped my Dad shoe several and they said, “Well that palomino horse out there is yours and he needs shod.” So, that’s the first horse I ever completely shod by myself.
The next morning I heard the cook rattlin the pots and pans, so I got up, rolled up my bedroll, and started over to the fire, I looked at my watch and it was 15 minutes after 2:00am. Well, my bedroll was already rolled up, so I went over and poured me a cup of coffee. The cook said, “Well kid, you better go wrangle the horses”. Heck, I hadn’t kept a horse in, so I took off a foot in the general direction I thought they ought to be-I walked 1/2 of Yavapai County looking for those horses. Finally I decided if they needed horses before daylight somebody else had better go get them; because I can’t find them. I headed back toward camp and man was I lucky the horses came in ahead of me-I never told anyone I hadn’t found them. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good!
Since then I have done day work for just about every ranch on this side of Mingus Mountain in Yavapai County including present day work on the Grosetta Ranch.
February 14, 2006 – I visited Aunt Irene Contreras Hilbers today since it was Valentine’s Day. It was very fitting that she shared a story with me about how my grandmother (her mother), Inocentie Leivas, met her future husband and their early years of marriage.
Eduardo P. Contreras (her future husband) owned a small ranch in Wild Horse Basin near Hillside, AZ along with his brother, Ramon in the early 1900’s. Inocentie was a young girl, 17, that lived in Signal, AZ with her mother and siblings. Her uncle, Epiphanio Leivas (Grandma Tula’s brother), knew Eduardo and wanted him to meet his niece. He brought Eduardo to Signal so that he could meet his niece. Eduardo promptly asked if he could write to Inocentie when he went back home. Of course, Inocentie said yes! They developed a long distance love connection through letters written in Spanish. As some time passed he knew that he wanted Inocentie to be his wife. Eduardo had his mother, Oriola Castro Contreras, write a letter to Tula Lievas (Inocentie’s mother) to ask for her hand in marriage. That was the custom of the time.
The offer of marriage was accepted by Inocentie and her mother, so they decided to marry with a county judge presiding. But Eduardo’s mother, Orioloa, would have none of that and insisted that they be married by a Catholic priest. Of course there were no Catholic churches anywhere near so they arranged for a priest (Rev. C. Mandiz) to come from Kingman, AZ in the mail truck to perform the marriage in Signal. Aunt Felicita Contreras (Eduardo’s sister) and her cousin Lucy Monreal (Angelina Monreal’s daughter) traveled from Prescott to Signal to help with the wedding preparation. They set up a makeshift altar at the ranch in keeping with a traditional Catholic wedding. The wedding took place September 16, 1910. Eduardo was 32 years of age and Inocentie was only 18. Their witnesses were Epifanio Leivas (Inocentie’s uncle) and Felicita Contreras. They received a cow as a wedding present with the EHO brand given to them by A.C. (Tot) Young from Skull Valley.
Uncle Ramon decided to sell his share of the ranch to Eduardo. After a short time, Eduardo’s bride Inocentie, became pregnant with their first child, Irene. They decided to sell the ranch and move back to Yavapai county to be near the rest of her family. Irene was born July 7, 1911. After the birth of Manuel in 1912, they took advantage of the American dream and applied for a homestead in 1914 near Skull Valley 15 miles west of Prescott. The ranch included 155 acres of deeded land and 15 sections of forest permit below the west side of Granite Mountain known as Tonto Flat. That is where the rest of their children were born; Edward (1914), Catherine (1919), Raymond (1918), Angie (1921), Marcella (1925), Adela (1930), and Richard (1934).
Recorded by: Cara Contreras Welch (daughter of Edward M. Contreras). Other facts were added from old articles from the Prescott Evening Courier.
I was born at our home in Phoenix in 1926. Have lived in Arizona my entire life. I remember going barefoot in the summer and running to find some shade or a patch of grass to cool my feet – I had to watch out that the patch of green wasn’t a “bull head.”
During the dust storms, we would stand in the dirt street and let the sand and small rocks blast our legs – children do some strange things just for entertainment.. We would swing over the irrigation ditches on the low branches of the cottonwood trees. Occasionally a rattlesnake would come in with the irrigation water. We drove to Prescott by way of Bumblebee, Wickenburg then up Yarnell Hill which was a two lane highway and came into Prescott by way of the White Spar road-I always got car sick from all the twists and turns.
As a teenager, a group of us came to Prescott to the Smoki snake dances. After working 45 years of my adult life, I decided I had enough of the heat in Phoenix and moved to Prescott. The week I came to Prescott, the temperature in Phoenix was 123. I am grateful every day for enjoying the wonderful weather in Prescott. I would not consider living any place other than the State of Arizona and in Prescott.
My great grandfather, Josiah Marr, started Bumblebee and Canon City (Black Canyon City) but during the depression, he had to chose one or the other to keep and since at the time the major road went through Bumblebee, he chose that. They had the post office and store but when the highway came and they relocated that to flow thru Black Canyon City, they realized their decision had been the wrong one. I was born in Tucson and we moved to Prescott when I was 5, of course that was the year of the “big snow storm” that everyone talks about…we lived at the airport then and I remember my dad taking our tractor to town to get groceries for us and various neighbors. We could stand on the snow drift by our house and get on our roof. I loved going thru Prescott Jr. High and High School and having some of the same teachers my parents had when they attended. My dad built the first “real adobe” home in Prescott (Williamson Valley) and we felt like we lived so far out of town then. The 4th of July was a time when all the ranchers and families came to town and we all got to put down our blankets and coolers full of food on the plaza and visit all weekend. It was a time to see folks you hadn’t seen all year and catch up. I miss Snow Cap, Julie Anns Bakery and Jim Dandys Hot Dogs. I remember my parents seeing the article in the magazine describing Prescott as “Mayberry” and them saying that our little town was never going to be the same again…
In 1948, when my physician husband and I came to Prescott, the converted Jefferson School building at the south end of Marina Street was still being used as the Community Hospital after the Grove Avenue Mercy Hospital had burned. The board of trustees had been managing to maintain operations but required an additional $400 to meet the annual fiscal shortage. They had raffled a calf for several years to raise the balance, but a potentially contentious situation had arisen to introduce the wisdom of a change.
Judge Jack Ogg was president of the board at the time and called on Mrs. J.P.McNally to ask the Medical Auxiliary to sponsor a fund raising event. Olivia then called me to say the Auxiliary was going to have a Holiday Charity Ball for the hospital, and I was the chairman.Thanks to Kiekeffer’s evergreen trees, everybody’s tree lights and card tables, APS installation of temporary additional power, special dispensation from the State’s Attorney to serve alcoholic beverages, etc, we decorated the armory, false ceiling and all, for dancing to a 14 piece band. The doctors underwrote the first event, and we raised $4,000.00.
The popular event continued for sixteen more years to help support the hospital which combined with the County Hospital at Whipple and Miller Valley Road using the government’s Hill Burton funds which became available after WWII. Progressive expansion as a hospital district required the current name change to Yavapai Regional Medical Center, and it’s been a remarkable transition from the original county hospital at the site, with it’s milk cow and produce garden, to the National award winning facility of today.
My parents moved our family to Toltec in 1968 and then to Tucson in 1969. I graduated from Sahuaro High in 1977. I moved away in 1978 and joined the Air Force. I returned to Arizona in1986 to be stationed at Williams AFB where I met my husband. In 1990, I was shipped overseas and spent the next 12 years at different bases. When it came time for retirement, we thought about where we wanted to retire to and Arizona topped the list. Other states were considered briefly but none could top Arizona. We bought some land outside of Ash Fork, built a home and have been blissful ever since. Our first night in our new home, we were standing outside in the dark where the stars looked so close that we could almost reach up and grab them! And then a bat took a dive at my head–no damage and that was the last bat I saw. It both took a little bit of time to adjust to the quiet. So quiet you could hear the bird wings flapping. It took my husband several months to stop ducking. We just got back for a long trip across country but the beauty of other states can’t top the beauty of Arizona. It’s our home and always will be. Happy Birthday Arizona!!
My submission is much newer than the ones posted, but here are the good memories I remember about Arizona. We moved to Arizona in 1996 with the plans of raising our family in a small town. We often took hikes, we often went to the Verde river for some wholesome cool-water fun until the monsoon season started, we would take day drives to see the beautiful scenery and openness that Arizona can still offer. My fondest memories are those that were spent raising our children in the Verde Valley and family coming to visit and taking them sight seeing showing them the beauty. It was amazing to us that the weather was warm some times HOT in the summer and yet freezing in the winter(with a chance of snow). I loved the seasons…changing of the leaves in Oak Creek Canyon, Spring even though the shift of spring changed it was gorgeous, the monsoons, who could ever forget the grandeur of the lighting and thunder storms, the sunsets after the storm, the smell of rain on the valley floor, we knew we were in for an awesome show. The stars…oh my goodness…it often left me speechless. Oak Creek Canyon-Slide Rock is breathtaking, until people visit so much that the water gets contaminated. There are so many things about the Verde Valley/Yavapai County/Arizona that are awesome, often speechless that no words could describe. No matter where you go in Arizona it is different, no two places are alike. I remember when we first moved to Cottonwood, one of the main intersections, 89A and Main st. still had the wire signal light, it wasn’t until late 1997 early 1998 that the street lights went to metal posts; and Hwy 260 was only a two way road with no center lane; Hwy 89A from Cottonwood to Sedona was only a two way lane, in many ways I’m glad they widened the road(mostly for safety), but in many it’s sad because a lot of the beauty has been lost. Unfortunately we have had to move out of Arizona to take care of aging parents, but if I had to do it all over again or get the chance to move back to Arizona, I would do it in a heart beat…Prescott would be my choice. (There are so many great memories…too many to write in words).
During WW 2 I was a little kid living with my family (Mom, Dad & two brothers) on N 7th Street in Phoenix. Across the street German POW’s (then called PW’s I think) were working in an irrigation ditch. My older brother Dick & I tried to talk with them, but Mom didn’t like that & tried to stop us. Dad spoke a little German with some of them. I don’t recall any interference from the guards (two, I think).
Dick later told me some of the POW’s came to our house, but I don’t remember that, so don’t know if it is true, or how often, or with what result.
Both sets of Grandparents came to visit us from Northern Calif, and both left early because of the heat. Dad worked for Greyhound Bus Lines and so their bus fare was either very little or free.
I’m very glad to now live in Prescott.
THE BIG SNOW OF 1967
December 12, 1967 snow started falling. It was beautiful. We didn’t get much snow in Skull Valley. The problem was that it kept on falling, right through the 20th. Over the 8 days, 46″ fell. It would be called “the BIG snow of 1967″. Travel between Prescott and Skull Valley was at a standstill, which meant supplies could not be brought in. Phone lines were down, and we were virtually isolated for a few days. School was cancelled and people found it hard to get to the general store for groceries, and the mail. My husband, Bob would get on the ranch tractor and drive down the cottonwood lane and the “old” road and get supply lists from the neighbors he passed. He would pick up the groceries and supplies at the store from Bob and Mary Kukal, the owners. Everyone had a charge account there, of course. He’d get their mail from the Post Office. Then he’d make the drive back down the lane, and drop off the things to our neighbors, pick up any extra milk, eggs, etc. they might have, to share with the neighbors who didn’t have enough. Bob always gave them time to let them catch up on the local news. Folks missed that while they were marooned during the snow.
My family lived in Miami, Arizona and while attending school there I met the most beautiful girl in the world. Her name was Dorothy and she held my heart in her hand. I worked a newspaper route and did yard maintenance for several of our neighbors in order to afford asking her out on a date. With butterflies in my stomach and being half scared to death I finally mustered up the courage to ask her out to a Saturday movie matinee. I almost fainted when she accepted. I was up early Saturday morning in preparation for the big event and just after an early lunch I was on my way out to the east side of Claypool, Arizona to pick her up. The drive back to Miami was beautiful. Dorothy was really dressed up. She smelled good and was in the best of moods. My expectations ran high. We found a parking place close to the theater and went in. After the purchase of popcorn and a Coke we went in and sat down. At this point everything went wrong because my mother sat down between us. I was furious, but what could a ten year old boy do…
In the early forties, right after WW 2 was started, I had the opportunity to travel with Dr. C.E. Yount Sr., and would go with him to appointments at hospitals. He was the Yavapai County Health Officer. I never went when he was treating a patient and remember going with him to the Jerome Hospital.
On another trip, he took me to the (new) Westward Ho Hotel for a conference. I walked to the Good Samaritan Hospital while waiting for him. At that time, there was nothing past Good Samaritan but cotton fields. That was the first time I went to Phoenix. It always puzzled me why he took me. I was too young to drive; maybe just for the company.
My great grandparents, grandmother and her family came to the Verde Valley in 1876 by wagon train (the Sessions and the Allen families). Also in the same wagon train my great grandmother on my mother’s side, her step dad (Pap Burrous) and her husband (Julius Gowett) and she, Henretta Agnes or (Nettie Gowett) as she was known by her whole life here. The wagon train was a small one – only seven or eight wagons. Grandmother Allen and great grandmother Nettie Gowett stayed close their whole lives. I remember setting listening to them remembering their experiences coming across the plains. What one remembered the other had forgotten or tried to forget. The Indians were always friendly to them.
My dad’s family, Raymond Simington Allen, settled in Cherry Creek and homesteaded 99 acres. They raised great apples and provided for themselves almost everything they needed. My moms family, Nettie and Julius Gowett, settled on a ranch below Camp Verde where Pap Burrous is buried in a little pioneer cemetery.
I have lived in the Verde Valley my whole life. Born in Clarkdale, lived a very short time in Cottonwood and at the age of 2-1/2 hears moved to Bridgeport on a small ranch where I grew up attending Willard Grade School and Cottonwood High School.
My dad was a sawyer and worked at the McDonald Sawmill near Stoneman Lake when we first came to Arizona in the late 1930′s. I had two brothers so there wasn’t much doll playing for me. I had my own cast metal cars and marbles. We walked on stilts and cans on our shoes; rode down inclines on sleds with metal on the runners to make them slippier on the pine needles. We made our own kits and played with tops. We played Annie over, tag and hide an’ seek. Every two weeks we made the long trek down the Blue Grade to McGuireville where we stopped at Midge Pigman’s store and was allowed to choose a bottle of pop from the cooler on the porch. Then on to Cottonwood. A really big thing for us kids. We was each given a nickel to spend. We always went to the Oasis Café which is the F Stop today at the corner of Main and Pima. They had a glass case counter with penny and two for a penny candy. We did pretty well with our nickel. I remember there was two slot machines in the little café. Gambling was legal then. I don’t remember when the law changed to make it illegal to gamble in Cottonwood.
Cottonwood is a special place. I grew up here and I love it still. Arizona is the Best, bar none!!!!
Happy Birthday Arizona.
I was born in Illinois (both my grandmother and mother were born in Prescott). My grandparents lived in Prescott at the time of my birth. My mother and I would ride the train from Chicago to Ash Fork (a 3-4 day trip) where my grandparents picked us up and drove us to Prescott. We would stay for most of the summer. It was WONDERFUL playing in my sand-box in the back, having tea parties with my nana, playing in the water at Granite Basin and just being a kid.
In 1941 WWII began. My father had had medical training and enlisted in the Navy in 1942 when that skill was needed. The war brought oil rationing. We had an oil furnace, the house was very cold and the doctor told my mother that we needed to move to a warmer climate. We moved to my grandparent’s house on North Summit Street.
Prescott was a wonderful place to grow up. My mother got a job at the Power Company which was located on the ground floor of the Masonic Building. She was the receptionist and telephone operator, using a switchboard with all kinds of wires that needed to be poked into the right hole in order to make the connection.
Kids did not need to be closely supervised by their parents as whatever adult was around made sure that you were doing the “right thing.” I was placed in the kindergarten at Lincoln School. I stayed in that school for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. I had Jean Anderberg-Valentine as a 2nd grade teacher. It was her 1st year at Lincoln. We were NOT allowed to climb on the rocks at recess and lunch time. We were lined up and given cod liver oil (first from a spoon and later in a capsule) at school. A couple of the kids had a brace on their arm or leg due to the effects of polio. On the way to and/or from school, I stopped at Joe Allen’s Market at the corner of Park and Grove Streets. Candy was rationed but Kool-Aid and cough drops were available substitutes.
One windy, rainy day, my mother and I were walking home from down-town. She had purchased a red hat with a bill for me. It was very protecting, but I just hated it. The water was gushing down Granite Creek as we crossed over the bridge. We stopped to look at the water. I bent over–and in a flash, my red hat blew off and into the rushing water. I watched with tear-filled, guilty eyes as the water carried it down the creek and out of sight. It was my worst day in Prescott. Some of my best times were at the Elks Theater. The Saturday cartoons were especially good. The Elks Club (my grandfather was a member) gave an annual Christmas party for members’ children and grandchildren. That was a FINE affair.
The official name for my grandfather’s job was “Yavapai County Chief Probation Officer”. In everyday terms, he had responsibility for children, both good and bad. He must have done a good job because he served in that position from 1919-1950 (when he passed away). When school was not in session, I would accompany my grandparents as my grandfather had business in other towns in the county. On one trip to Jerome, he had to go in an office in a restaurant/bar. There was a sign by the front door that said, “No Minors Allowed”. I couldn’t figure out why miners couldn’t go into a business in a mining town. That was the day that I learned the difference between “Miner” and “Minor”.
When my father came home from the war, we moved to Phoenix where there were more jobs available. I went to Kenilworth, Creighton and Scottsdale Elementary School during fourth grade. In eighth grade, I attended Madison #2. North High was my high school. I graduated with a degree in teaching from Arizona State College/University. It was then that I decided that Phoenix was not cosmopolitan enough for me and I moved to California’s Bay Area.
In 1992, my husband and I moved to Prescott and I became “recycled.”
My grandfather was an attorney in Tombstone before Arizona’s statehood, so I have a lot of fond childhood recollections of time my family spent in Cochise County. During my adult life in Prescott, I have many wonderful memories of living in such a historic city, among them celebrating Prescott’s centennial in 1964 and watching Barry Goldwater announce his candidacy for president of the United States on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse.
In October 1985 I was fed up with the corporate life in the NY metropolitan area, and was thinking hard about early retirement. I was attending a convention in Las Vegas, and I called my wife and said “Why don’t you fly out here, and we’ll drive around Arizona for a week and see what that’s about.” We had no planned itinerary. We spent a night in Kingman and a night in Flagstaff. We headed south, and saw a sign for Oak Creek Canyon. She said “This is what my parents talked about – the best part of their bus tour.” So we headed down Hwy. 89A. When we got to Midgley Bridge and looked around, we said, “This is the place.” When we arrived in Sedona we turned into a real estate office and got a list of properties for sale. About 24 hours later we owned a lot, and said “We’ll live here for the rest of our lives and have plenty of time to see it,” so we left town and drove to see Prescott and points beyond. At the time we thought that’s an unusual story, but it turns out that’s what happened with many Sedona people. They call it “Red Rock Fever.”
I had a layout of our new lot and had taken some photos, so we went back East and designed a nice two-story Pennsylvania house, as we had when we built there 25 years before. The next March I was in the West again, and drove to Sedona to see the lot and make some building plans. I looked at some houses being built, and thought “My plans are stupid!” They didn’t fit the West at all, so I hired a local designer and worked with her. Soon we had also hired a local builder. At the end of June, having finally retired, I drove to Sedona, rented a studio apartment (while Joan stayed at work back in New Jersey), and started to build.
It’s the best decision we ever made. I said then that I’ll live ten years longer because of that decision – and now it’s been almost a quarter century and we’re looking forward to many more years. Getting involved in local affairs and organizations has kept the blood flowing, and plans are to keep involved. Volunteering is good for you!
My Father, Mother, Brothers and Sister moved to Prescott, AZ 31 years ago. My father took an early retirement when the Chicago Sun-Times was bought by the Chicago Daily News. He promptly bought a bar and restaurant at the time called the Owl Bar and the restaurant portion was leased to what was Maria Luisa’s. I moved out a year later and my first memory is of driving into town and thinking “I am home”. I never looked back.
My favorite times of the year were the 4th of July and Christmas. The parade, rodeo, street dances and carnival were favorite highlights on the 4th. About 20 years ago Prescott was declared the Christmas city and the Courthouse Lighting became a favorite event for our family. Then about 15 years ago the Acker Music Festival started happening and that too is one of our favorite activities to attend. Though Prescott has grown tremendously it will still always have that small town feel to me.
And the memories go on and on…
My family moved to Scottsdale Arizona when I was 4 yrs old. I went to Navajo Elementary School from K-8. While living there my father who worked as management in Western Electric i.e. AT&T, put one of the first touch tone phone systems in the United States in Prescott in 1964. He fell in love with Prescott and bought 3 acres out on Williamson Valley Rd. and Sylvan Dr. I spent most of my vacations and summers helping build our home. While doing that I remember going to the races in Jerome when they closed 89A as the race track. I also remember going downtown to Frontier Days when it was truly a wild place. Drinking beer anywhere outside was the norm. The Cowboys of the area would grab “a long haired hippie” downtown and forcible cut their hair. One year some Bikers came into town and heard about this and had a rumble with the Cowboy’s and won. But, as it may happen the ASU football team was in town and beat up the Bikers. We also saw many a western music star playing in the Courthouse Gazebo like Eddie Arnold and Buck Owens. I also remember how many famous Arizona people had summer homes here like Jack Williams our past Governor. We also had one of the first paved highways in Arizona, 89 between Prescott and Phoenix. Going through my last years of high school here leaves me with excellent memories, Arizona and Yavapai County will always be my home.
I love the breathtaking view from the top of Thumb Butte Mountain in Prescott. My favorite memory is of the nightly water fights we used to have up and down Gurley Street in Prescott during the annual 4th of July celebrations. It was a lot of innocent fun for many years.
A big event back in the 1940s – a group of us would catch a ride to Prescott. We would swim at Granite Dells, sleep on the lawn at the courthouse and attend a dance somewhere, always on the lookout for girls, though we were afraid of them. We watched the parade and hung out. Didn’t have money to go to the Rodeo. We had a good time and could say, “yeah, we went to Prescott for the 4th of July.”
My fondest memories of growing up in Prescott included the skating rink over where the YMCA swimming pool is now located; swimming and fishing in Granite Basin, Lynx, Willow and Watson Lakes and swimming at the Dells pool that was a natural rock formation which included a rope swing and going to the movies at the Elks Opera House and Drive-In Theater out Senator Highway. Prescott was a small town with very few stores so the big thing was to go to Phoenix for the big shopping but then we started getting more stores like T,G & Y and Kmart to add to the Yellow Front, Cornet and later the mall at Iron Springs.
We traveled all over the County including crossing the Tuzigoot swinging bridge and going up into Montezuma Wells ruins when it was still allowed and going to Slide Rock in Sedona was fun, wet and cold.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to live in Prescott and grow up in a small town with friendly people and virtually no crime. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
My husband and I bought acreage in northern Yavapai County (Ash Fork) in Juniperwood Ranch subdivision in 1973. We tried to make it at that time but employment was scarce so we decided to wait for retirement to make this our home. During the time we stayed on the property sheep were being herded. We had a very large St. Bernard dog named Sam. When the herd of sheep came through were we were staying, Sam broke his chain and scattered the sheep from here to kingdom come. I can’t begin to tell how bad we felt and there was nothing we could do.
In 1991 we finally were able to begin making Arizona our home. Things on Juniperwood Ranch are certainly different from Maryland, where we were born and raised. We live off the grid and depend on solar and wind power and haul our water. During our first years there was not even cell phone service so we made appointments with our children when we would call since we had to drive to Ash Fork and use the pay phone. The few residents on the Ranch at that time communicated amongst us via CB radio. I would get on early and begin every day welcoming the residents to another day and each one took their turn in response. We were all in the same boat with muddy roads when it rained or snowed. We also got together to work on the roads with what equipment was available from the residents. Rakes and shovels, old tired dump trucks, old graders, etc. were used. Most often food was provided by the ladies that couldn’t get out and do the hard labor. Things have changed now with more people moving in that this type of neighborhood cooperation doesn’t work anymore due to the increase in traffic.
We still love it here and hope to be here for many years to come.
Since we have become Arizonians we have volunteered with Search and Rescue in Yavapai and Coconino Counties as well as volunteering at the Ash Fork Museum/Visitor Center. We continue to volunteer in various other organizations and help where we can.
My family moved from Minnesota in 1959 and settled in South Phoenix, buying a house about a half mile north of Baseline Road and about four blocks west of Central Avenue. It was a wonderful place to grow up. We were close enough to the citrus orchards and Japanese flower gardens on Baseline Road to be able to smell the blossoms at night, and much of the area was still in cotton and alfalfa fields so there was lots of room to roam about. The summers were hot but it didn’t bother my brother and me. We spent our days at the public pool and we would have contests to see who could walk the farthest barefooted on the asphalt street in the middle of the afternoon. Dust storms were frequent summer monsoon events back then, and I remember watching huge clouds of dust coming from the south over the top of South Mountain and then we would run around the house and close up all the windows until the storm passed.
My earliest experiences in Yavapai County were attending church camp in the Prescott area and my family would often go camping at Red Rock Crossing, where my brother and I would spend hours playing in Oak Creek. After high school, I moved to Prescott to attend college and remember great places like Allen’s Nu-Way Market on Gurley Street where you could buy groceries and put them on account; and Julie Ann’s Bakery at the old Park Plaza shopping center, where you could get the most delectable treats!