Area Information

Prescott is located in the Arizona central mountains at 5,347 feet above sea level. It is the perfect climate to enjoy all four seasons. Temperatures rarely exceed 90 degrees in the summer and most days are filled with sunshine. Prescott is located a short hour and a half drive from both Phoenix and Flagstaff.

As a hub for several scenic tours and day trips, Prescott is close to many of Northern Arizona’s Treasures. Over 450 recreational trails wind through the Prescott National Forest offering enjoyment for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. And don’t forget about golf… Prescott has four public and four private or semi private golf courses from which to choose. Prescott Arizona is home to many art galleries and boutique shops, most of which are located on the famed Whiskey Row and Courthouse Plaza. In the evening, Prescott continues to entertain with live music and dining downtown and a fine variety of restaurants throughout the area. The Prescott area also boasts a recently expanded public library and a new adult center. Join us in the cool pines of Northern Arizona.

HISTORY
Arizona Territorial Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin replaced Governor John A. Gurley, appointed by Abraham Lincoln, who died before taking office. Downtown streets in Prescott are named in honor of each of them. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864. Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864, a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community. Prescott was officially incorporated in 1883.

Prescott served as capital of Arizona Territory until November 1, 1867, when the capital was moved to Tucson. The capital was returned to Prescott in 1877 and was finally moved to Phoenix on February 4, 1889.
The Sharlot Hall Museum houses much of Prescott’s territorial history, and the Smoki and Phippen museums also maintain local collections. Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott boasts many historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar, and many other buildings that have been converted to boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, and restaurants. The city was named after author William H. Prescott, whose writings were popular during the Civil War.

Prescott also has a place in western folklore with the fact that Virgil Earp, Wyatt Earp’s older brother lived in Prescott in 1879 and told him of the boom town in Tombstone, Arizona. It is also rumored that Doc Holliday spent some time in Prescott just before heading to Tombstone.

After several major fires in the early part of the century, downtown Prescott was rebuilt with brick. The central courthouse plaza, a lawn under huge old elm trees, is a gathering and meeting place. Cultural events and performances take place on many nights in the summer on the plaza.

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican nominee for president, launched his presidential campaign from the steps of Prescott’s Yavapai County Courthouse.
Geography
Prescott is 55 miles west-northwest of the State of Arizona’s geographic center.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.5 square miles and is virtually surrounded by the Prescott National Forest.

Culture
The downtown area of Prescott has many historic Victorian style homes. Prescott has 809 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Prescott is home to the downtown historical area known as Whiskey Row. In 1900, a great fire destroyed almost all of the buildings on Whiskey Row, including the 1891 Hotel Burke, advertised as “the only absolutely fireproof building in Prescott”.By legend, the patrons of the various bars simply took their drinks across the street to the Courthouse square and watched it burn. At the time of the fire, the entire bar and back-bar of the Palace Hotel was removed to the square by the patrons as the fire approached, re-installing it after the gutted brick structure was rebuilt. (The size of the back-bar is impressive, and appears not easily moved, even by many hands.) Whiskey Row runs north and south on Montezuma St. between Gurley and Goodwin St., directly west of the county courthouse. This single city block has been the home of the St. Michael’s Hotel (formerly the Hotel Burke) and the Palace Hotel since the late 19th century, along with other colorful purveyors of night-life.

There are four golf courses within the city limits: Antelope Hills Golf Course, which consist of the City of Prescott South Course and the City of Prescott North Course, Talking Rock Golf Club, and Prescott Lakes Golf Club. More courses are located nearby in surrounding towns.

Prescott hosts annual events such as Frontier Days, The World’s Oldest Rodeo (1888) (featured in the 1972 film Junior Bonner), Easter Egg-Stravaganza, the Bluegrass Festival, Earth Day, July 4 Celebration, Tsunami on the Square, art festivals, a Cinco de Mayo celebration, Navajo Rug Auction, Pumpkin Patch Carnival, World’s Largest Gingerbread Village (actually on the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe reservation), Prescott Film Festival, Folk Arts Fair, parades, the Acker Music Festival, The Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Prescott Highland Games, Courthouse Lighting, Whiskey Off Road and Ragnar Relay Del Sol. On New Year’s Eve, historic Whiskey Row saw the inaugural Prescott Boot Drop to usher in the 2012 New Year. The illuminated 6-foot (1.8 m) tall cowboy boot with multi-colored stars was lowered from the historic Palace Restaurant rooftop’s 40-foot (12 m) flagpole to the delight and cheers of celebrants gathered on Montezuma Street which was closed for the occasion. Also located in Prescott is the Heritage Park Zoo.

Climate
Prescott is located in the Bradshaw Mountains of central Arizona, at an altitude of 5,400 feet. The city has what is classified under the Köppen climatic classification as a Mediterranean climate (Csa) owing to its relatively high rainfall and dry early summer period, with mild to cool winters and warm to hot summers. Average annual precipitation for 1981–2010 is 17.75 inches, with spring and early summer the driest times of the year. Snowfall is typically light and snow cover usually melts away quickly; the 1981–2011 average seasonal total is 12.8 inches. Despite the Csa classification, the largest portion of precipitation falls during the July–September monsoon season. Average daytime temperatures remain above 50 °F the entire year, but diurnal temperature variation is large throughout the year, averaging nearly 30 °F annually. On average, temperatures reach 90 °F on 36 days annually, though 100 °F readings are uncommon and do not occur every year, much unlike the Sonoran Desert to the south and Mojave Desert to the west. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 21 thru May 1.

There was a severe drought from 1999 to 2009, seen from the lack of snowpack in the Bradshaw Mountains. Local creeks do not contain water except immediately after the rare rains. Nevertheless, at the start of 2007 lakes were reported as full. The winter of 2005–06 had less than 3 inches (7.6 cm) of snow, compared to an average snowfall of 22 inches (56 cm)

Demographics
U.S. Census 2012 Population Estimate 40,308.