That’s right! And voted by whom, may I ask?
Prescott is continually being lauded by magazines and statistical polls as one of the top retirement destinations in the U.S. Although easy to understand with its 4-season climate and exercise potential, Prescott is also a wonderful town to raise your kids. How do I know? Because along with my siblings, I was raised here.
Prescott was and is a town of adventure. Sitting on the edge of the wild western frontier, Prescott has deep routes carrying back to the days of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and more. Prescott has seen many changes over the years from a tiny mall (Ponderosa Plaza) to the newer Gateway Mall and shopping district where Bullwhacker hill once stood. Once a seriously dangerous road, Bullwhacker hill was revered by locals for its steep and curvy grade into town. During heavy snow, Bullwhacker hill was a death-trap. When the city decided finally to allow the “Bull’s Whip” to be straightened out, it was to some relief. The remnants of the old road are still visible to north side of Highway 69 as a ghostly reminder…a reminder to long-time residents of where Prescott truly began when entering town. Nowadays, there’s just a mall and a huge hotel blocking the view.
I personally remember when Prescott finally had a “mall”. Back in the 70’s & 80’s, Prescott was bustling on the west side of town. Prescott High School was in full form and industry was finally popping up. As a kid, Prescott was both a super-boring place to live, but also had the formula for adventure. We more-than-welcomed the “mall”, which wasn’t much of a mall at all. Anchored by Sears and J.C. Penny’s (previously located in downtown Prescott where the Bashford Courts are now) the Ponderosa Plaza was a tiny strip mall which inlcuded T.G.&Y, AJ Bayless Grocery, an Ice Cream shop, B-Dalton Book Store, one sports store, a jewelry store, several local clothing and antique shops, and of course the arcade. The mall became a wonderful hangout destination and sort of odyssey in the trek to get there. We personally liked the path behind the newly built K-Mart plaza, through the graveyard, into the mall parking lot. Back then, there was no Gail Gardner Road to cross, just a ditch and a parking lot.
Back in the day, downtown Prescott was also very different, although no so much as to not recognize it. One of these days, I’ll get ambitious and dig through my parent’s old photo books with a scanner in hand.
Prescott was certainly a fun town to grow up in! If you’re looking for quaint towns to move and raise a family, consider Prescott, AZ.