Signs of Prescott History Thursday, Jun 4 2020 

Prescott Carnegie Library

Prescott Carnegie Library

The City of Prescott has erected a surfeit of signs around Prescott documenting local history. The following examples come from a recent walk about. The Prescott Monday Club raised $4,000 to match a grant from Andrew Carnegie to build “The Carnegie Library” in a Classical Revival style with a symmetrical façade, a pediment over the main entry door, and a beautiful arched window above the entry. The Prescott Public Free Library opened on November 24, 1903 and served until 1974.

The Elks Opera House originally opened in February 1905. On July 24, 2010, under the ownership of the City of Prescott, the “Restoration of the Elks Opera House” returned the elk statue to the roof, refurbished the exterior entry and first lobby to its 1928 look, and renovated the second lobby to reflect the colors and patterns of 1915.

A red brick building built in 1884 which housed the Territorial Legislature and Prescott City Hall was remodeled in 1904 for use as “Prescott High School.” In 1914, it was demolished, and a new high school was constructed. In 1931, a junior high school was added. In 1973, the entire block was cleared for a new Yavapai County Administration complex.

In 1903, railroad entrepreneur Frank Murphy demolished three buildings to construct “the Yavapai Club,” an organization “incorporated by businessmen of the county for the purpose of furthering the material and social interests of the community.” The club featured a library, games room, restaurant with buffet, a bowling alley, sleeping accommodations, and a second-floor ballroom. The club was turned over to the high school in the 1930s before being torn down about 1941.

Washington School

Washington School

“Washington School,” the oldest school building in Yavapai County, opened on September 1, 1903. It was constructed in a Classical Revival style using deep red brick with tuff and cement trim. In 2018, it was repurposed as the Prescott Unified School District offices, although it also houses the Discovery Gardens Early Childhood Center.

“The Day Octagon,” built in 1877, is the oldest know fired brick building in Arizona. Dr. Warren E. Day built the first surgical hospital in the Arizona Territory where he pulled teeth, delivered babies, fitted eyeglasses, and cared for the community’s other medical needs. He continued his practice until the 1920s.

Prescott Fine Arts

Prescott Fine Arts

In the fall of 1878, the Sisters of St. Joseph came to Prescott. They built a hospital before starting construction of a church in 1891. The first service was held February 17, 1895. A substantial brick structure in the “Sober Gothic Style” featuring pointed arches, decorative brickwork and two colors of local rhyolitic tuff stone for trim and the foundation of the “Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Rectory.” The last service was June 13, 1969. It is now a theater and art gallery for the Prescott Fine Arts Association.

“Hassayampa Inn” opened November 20, 1927. The Prescott Journal Miner described its Mission/Spanish Revival style as having “more the appearance of a palatial home than of a hotel.”

“The Bank of Arizona,” chartered in 1877, was the first business in the Arizona Territory devoted exclusively to banking. Work commenced in August 1900 on their second design that reflected Prescott’s prosperity in a classical Second Renaissance Revival style with rusticated stone and fired brick and a large column bringing attention to the corner entry. The interior featured oak paneling and patterned wallpaper. The Bank of Arizona later became the First National Bank of Arizona, then the First Interstate Bank, and finally Wells Fargo Bank which closed it in 1988.

More Prescott Sculpture Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

Prescott, Arizona hosts a wide variety of sculpture. Solon Borglum, the younger brother of Gutzon of Mount Rushmore fame, has two impressive works on display at the Yavapai County Courthouse. “Rough Rider” (1907), located in the north plaza, celebrates Captain William (Buckey) O’Neill who was killed at the Battle of San Juan Hill, the July 1, 1898 decisive battle of the Spanish-American War. “Cowboy at Rest” (1990), located on the south side of the courthouse, is a replica of a 1903 sculpture Solon created for the Lewis and Clark Exposition held at Portland, Oregon in 1905. “Early Rodeo” (1988) by Richard Terry, located near the entrance to City of Prescott offices, commemorates Prescott’s claim to have the world’s oldest rodeo. “Cowboy in a Storm,” a replica from George Phippen’s his last work before his death in 1966, was placed in the Phippen roundabout in 2018. Phippen, co-founder and first president of Cowboy Artists of America, is the namesake for the Phippen Museum of Western Art.

Early Settlers by Bill Nebeker

Early Settlers by Bill Nebeker

“Early Settlers” (1985) by Bill Nebeker greets city visitors at the “Y” intersection of Sheldon and Gurley. We recently took a closer look at its images of a cowboy, mule skinner, gold prospector, and pioneer woman. Not far from this point is the Richard Marcusen Sculpture Garden on the Yavapai College campus most recently documented in my April 26, 2020 blog entry on the “Yavapai College Trail.” “Permian Corridor” (2000) by Roger Asay and Rebecca Davis uses flagstone averaging three inches of thickness to compose a work 7 x 12 x 22 feet. Amidst a small rose garden is a piece in memory of Gabrielle and Ted Liese with the inscription “May your essential spirt live on.” By the way, the names of my favorite roses in bloom were “Day Breaker” and “Teasing Georgia.” Known as deadhead, all the irises had there spent blooms removed with “Son of Sun” being one of the few still flowering. Across the street from the sculpture garden there are two unidentified sculptures, one with a Native American motif was done by Richard Marcusen, the Yavapai faculty member for whom the sculpture garden is now named.

Pioneer Woman by Bill Nebeker

Pioneer Woman by Bill Nebeker

“Silver Tornado” (1996) by Natalie Krol, a 4,000-pound stainless steel 10 x 14 foot bucking bull that commands one’s attention when passing Yavapai Regional Medical Center on Whipple Street, is wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kitty-corner to the hospital, “Footsteps to the Future” (2010) by Deborah Corenhaver Fellows commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America (1910-2010). This project was initiated by Eagle Scout candidates, Will and Paul Reilly, who raised some $98,000 and coordinated details for this siting. Prescott has an amazing array of sculpture and each piece tells a story.

Masked Silver Tornado by Natalie Krol

Silver Tornado (masked) by Natalie Krol

Yavapai College Trail Sunday, Apr 26 2020 

Gathering II

Gathering II

Saturday and Sunday morning, we hiked the 1.5-mile Yavapai College Trail. We were the only ones on this trail that circles the 110-acre campus and is part of the Arizona state trail system. On Saturday, we walked counterclockwise, on Sunday, clockwise. The college has several beds of blooming California poppies while Indian paintbrush wildflowers can be seen along the trail. We enjoyed our views of Thumb Butte, the Prescott Resort, and Veteran Affairs houses. The campus tennis courts are off limits during the COVID-19 pandemic and the baseball diamond pleads for Roughriders to come back for a game. Saturday was an exceptional day to walk through the Richard Marcusen Sculpture Garden where we admired “Muse I” by Barbara Sorenson, “Star Twister” by Lyman Whitaker, “The Gathering II” by Gary Slater, “Community Gothic” by Dick Marcusen, “Leaps and Bounds” by John Skurja, “Helix” by Tom McClare, “Pop Toot” by Steven Klein, “Good Adventure” by Joseph McShane, “Seated Woman” by Michael Anderson, and “The Certainty of Madness and Spring” by Ed Haddaway (2000). The varied beds of irises maintained by the Prescott Area Iris Society are waiting to burst forth. The early irises in bloom included “Pamela Rae,” “Kermit,” “Starwoman,” and “Afternoon Delight.” On Saturday, the parking lot had two long lines of cars waiting to pick up Fresh Food Boxes from the Prescott Farmers Market. On Sunday, we met a few people walking on the campus. A bench on the trail had the following inscription: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Congo Masks & Music Saturday, Mar 14 2020 

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

The Musical Instrument Museum is celebrating its tenth-year anniversary with a special exhibit, “Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa” (November 8, 2019-September 13, 2020). We were treated to a collection of 150 masks, instruments, and costumes from the late 1800s to early 1900s from dozens of Central African cultural groups. The exhibition contextualizes masks alongside musical instruments in their authentic performance settings. It Introduced us to different peoples’ worldviews, histories, religious beliefs, and morals through intricate masks, constructed out of a variety of materials, showcasing remarkable artistry. The mask, we learned, may perform to frighten, protect, appease, bless, purify, honor, heal, exalt, encourage, distract, celebrate, or entertain.

We also visited the Artist Gallery which commemorates great musicians, innovators, and instrument makers. It is an interesting collection of instruments and their artists who have enriched our musical heritage. The Musical Instrument Museum is a great place to experience music, the language of the soul.

Melita Hunsinger Featured in Prescott Concert Monday, Jan 20 2020 

The Phoenix Symphony performed in Prescott yesterday afternoon. Until two years ago we were Phoenix Symphony season ticket holders usually selecting four performances. We discovered that many of our choices were ones also performed in Prescott. This year the Yavapai Symphony Association is sponsoring seven concerts, five with the Phoenix Symphony. Yesterday’s performance was the second this season featuring, Melita Hunsinger, Phoenix Symphony’s Principal Cellist, performing Robert Schumann’s “Concerto in A minor.” Interestingly, the three movements Nicht zu schnell, Langsam, Sehr lebhaft) are played without a pause. The concert started with Felix Jacob Ludwig Mendelssohn’s “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in E Major, opus 21.” The concert notes indicate that he “finished it on August 6, 1826 when he was 17 years old.” After an intermission, the concert concluded with Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 4 in A Major, opus 90.” Conductor Tito Munoz informed us that Mendelssohn did not allow this piece to be published in his lifetime and that he revised the second (Andante com moto), third (Con moto grazioso), and fourth (Saltarello: Allegro di molto) movements. He did not revise the first movement (Allegro vivace). This symphony, known as the Italian, was published posthumously in 1851, four years after Mendelssohn’s death at the age of 38. We enjoyed experiencing the Phoenix Symphony in Prescott. The Yavapai College auditorium has good acoustics, although the seats are not arranged to avoid possible obstructions from those seated in front of you.

Acker Night 2018 Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

Music Machine

Music Machine

Rain earlier in the day did not affect this year’s 30th anniversary of Acker Night. Some 600 performers in 145 groups in 140 businesses participated in this musical showcase that raises funds: to provide scholarships for music lessons, to purchase instruments, and to support local youth performing arts programs.

After admiring the Yavapai County Courthouse lights and taking photos within the gazebo, we took in some of the performers on Whiskey Row. “Sidekicks” performed country, bluegrass, and Gospel in the Prescott Trading Company. “Lady T and the Tramps” hit their acoustic Americana groove in the Clothes Hound. “Perfect Strangers” belted out their rock, country, and pop tunes in the Hotel St. Michael alley.

Rather than wait in the long line to get into the Elks Theatre on Gurley, we entered Liberty Lane to be entertained by the silky voice Renee Patrick Grant and the energetic keyboards from “Nicole Pesce.”

Along Cortez we admired the variety of banjos playing Dixieland with the “Hometowne Banjoleers” in Lamerson Jewelry. “Adam and Friends” rocked us in The Marketplace. “Road One South” performed the blues in Country Bank. “Music Machine” celebrated Christmas music on a theatre organ in an open area adjacent to Adrenaline Salon. Our dinner table with friends in Papa’s Italian Restaurant was in a back room far from where “Sax Appeal” performed. We enjoyed a taste of Italy in the pines.

Acker Night is another unique way to celebrate Christmas in Prescott.

Next Page »