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    Historic Buildings

    Sharlot-Hall-Museum-Gov-MansionInside Ranch House Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott Arizona 2Fort Misery Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott Arizona

    Our On-Site Historic Buildings include the following:

    • Get to know Museum founder Sharlot Mabridth Hall through an exhibit revealing her life and passions. She was a woman ahead of her times in many ways, yet with a keen sense of history.
    • The crown jewel of the Museum grounds is the original Arizona territorial Governor's Mansion, proudly standing in the same place where it was built in 1864. It is the Museum's original home.
    • The Museum's primary exhibits and dioramas are housed in the Sharlot Hall Building, built in 1936 as a project of the Civil Works Administration. This building also served as Sharlot Hall's home for a period.
    • Completed in 1875, the Frémont House was built with local, milled lumber when the town of Prescott was little more than a decade old. At that time it was considered one of the more desirable residences in town. John Charles Frémont found it a suitable residence while he served as the fifth territorial governor of Arizona (1878-1881). In 1971 it was moved from its original location in downtown Prescott to the Museum grounds where it was restored to its original magnificence.
    • The Bashford House is a Victorian treasure that houses the Museum's gift store. It is the only one of Prescott's many Victorian houses that is regularly open to the public.
    • From a vintage stagecoach to Sharlot Hall's own 1927 Durant Star Touring Car, the Transportation Exhibit will stir the imagination of visitors of every age.

    Off-Site Historic Buildings

    • Library and Archives: Across the street from the Museum exit (and the Bashford House) is the world-class research library and archives of the Museum. Thousands of pictures, rare old books, and display artifacts combine with state-of-the-art research technology to provide a wealth of information available to scholars, authors, and "the curious" investigators of Arizona history. The Library and Archives are in the McCormick building at 115 South McCormick Street - due east of the Transportation Building.
    • Orchard Ranch: An informational kiosk at the entrance of the Orchard Ranch RV Park on Hwy. 69 east of Prescott Valley marks the location of Sharlot Hall’s family homestead, called Orchard Ranch. The site also includes a cabin constructed with wood from the Hall home.


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    On Site: The Lawler Museum Center

    John Helen Lawler Exhibit Center Prescott ArizonaSharlot Hall Museum MuseumCenterSharlot Hall Museum Exhibit

    Completed in 1979, the LAWLER MUSEUM CENTER is the hub around which Museum activities revolve. It houses the reception center; the Museum Archives and Library; a lecture/exhibit hall with changing exhibits; storage areas for the Museum's object collections; offices; and workshops. In the lobby you'll find an exhibit about the founder of the Museum, Sharlot M. Hall.

    On Site: The Governor's Mansion


    In the summer of 1864, workers under Samuel Blair built this log house for the governor's home and office. It is the oldest building associated with Arizona Territory still standing on its original location. Undoubtedly the Mansion escaped demolition because of Sharlot Hall, who founded this Museum in the Governor's Mansion in 1927.

    This floor plan was taken from the back page of Margaret McCormick's diary and represents the Mansion as she found it on her arrival in late November or early December 1865. This matches a description written in a letter by Richard McCormick to his friend Cephas Brainard in Albany, New York August 17, 1864. He stated that he lived in the north half and Governor Goodwin lived in the south half. Meals were taken in a communal dining room.

    The current room use pattern is taken from a letter written by Margaret McCormick to her friend Emma Denike in Rahway, New Jersey April 1, 1866. She reflects the changes she had made since her arrival. The McCormicks had met Governor Goodwin and his party going east at the beginning of crossing of the Mohave Desert November 8, 1865. Goodwin was going east to take his seat as the elected representative of Arizona Territory to Congress. From this meeting Margaret knew that she could do whatever she wished with the Mansion as Goodwin would not be back. She had the wall that made Goodwin's side into two rooms removed. This became the office for Richard McCormick and presumably Henry Fleury who was living upstairs. It also doubled as a place to dance when the McCormicks entertained. The north side was then rearranged to put the parlor in Richard's old office space, the bedroom in the old parlor area, and turning the old bedroom into a storage room. We have replaced the wall in its original place on the north side. This wall was removed by Sharlot Hall to make room for her artifacts.

    Floor plan from Margaret’s diary, about 1865-1867. Letters indicate room use. Notice the planned outside room on the northwest corner; there is no evidence that it was ever built.


    On Site: The Sharlot Hall Building

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    The Sharlot Hall Building, constructed in 1936 as a project of the Civil Works Administration and once home to Miss Sharlot Hall, houses the Museum’s primary exhibits. It was constructed of native rock and pine logs and has been the Museum’s primary exhibit hall since its completion in 1934.The founding of a wilderness territorial capital in 1863 to statehood in 1912 is narrated through 14 exhibits and dioramas that reveal a rich history of mining, the military, Indian conflicts, railroads, and ranching.
    Here visitors discover colorful stories of everyday frontier life of the 1860s, of rowdy cowboys and miners, of businesses fueled by gold and government, and the devastating night fire, fueled by wooden buildings, that consumed much of downtown Prescott in 1900.

    On Site: The School House

    School House Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott ArizonaSchool House Sharlot Hall Museum2School House Sharlot Hall MuseumIron Turbine Windmill Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott Arizona

    This replica of Prescott's first community School House was built in 1962 by the Rotary Club. Samuel Rogers claimed to have built the original school, which stood on Granite Creek near today's Prescott Mile High Middle School, was destroyed by fire in 1948.

    There were no iron stoves available, so the children spent their recesses hauling stones from the creek to build a fireplace.

    What was it like to attend a one-room school? School was held in winter and lasted for three to five months.  In one-roomschools, pupils were not divided into grades, they were seated by size, with the smallest students in the front of the room. Students studies reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, and geography at their own levels of ability. Paper was scarce so lessons were prited on slates using slate pencils. Formal work was done in ink on paper. The blackboard was literally made of boards painted black. Pupils sat on benches because there were no desks. According to a former student, the school had a wash basin and a bundle of switches for punishment.

    This 1885 Iron Turbine WINDMILL (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) was relocated from a local ranch.

    On Site: Fort Misery

    Fort Misery Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott ArizonaSharlot-Hall-Museum-Fort-MiserySharlot Hall Museum FortMisery

    Fort Misery is the oldest log building associated with the territory of Arizona. It was built on the banks of Granite Creek (two blocks south of the Museum) in 1863-64 by Manuel Yrissari, a trader from Santa Fe, to be his home and store.  Sharlot Hall had it disassembled in 1934 and reassembled on the Museum grounds. A complete reconstruction, done in 1996-97 with assistance from the Heritage Fund, Arizona State Parks, has restored it to its original configuration. It is furnished as it would have been in the 1890s when Judge John Howard was its owner and resident.

    In it's many uses since 1863, it has served as the first law office in Arizona, the first general store in central Arizona, the first Protestant worship house in central Arizona, the first boarding house in central Arizona, and the first courthouse in  Arizona.

    On Site: The Ranch House

    Inside Ranch House Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott Arizona 2Wagon Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott ArizonaSharlot-Hall-Museum-Ranch-House

    The Ranch House was built by the Works Progress Administration workers under Sharlot Hall’s supervision in the 1930s to represent the ranch homes of the area. Although the earliest settlers to this area were mostly single men, families soon followed.  Homes were built of the abundant Ponderosa pine trees. As time passed, sawn lumber replaced hewn logs, and ranch homes began to look less rustic. Most ranch houses had only a single, multipurpose room. Cooking, sleeping, bathing and other indoor activities took place there. A fireplace was used for cooking and heating. Many families saved their money for such luxuries as a cast iron stove, glass windows and additional rooms.

    Most ranches were as self-sufficient as possible. A milk cow and some chickens were acquired as soon as practical. A garden plot provided fresh vegetables for summer use and to put up for winter. Seed was generally saved from year to year to reduce expense and insure a constant supply of seed that would breed true.

    A ranch woman's work included milking the cows, tending the chickens, planting the garden, washing, mending, cooking and caring for the family's needs. Up before dawn, she worked through the day and into the night. At a time when sewing was done by hand, and labor-saving devices were few, there was little time for leisure. Traditionally, Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing; Wednesday was mending; Thursday was cleaning; Friday was baking; Saturday was odds and ends or a trip to town: and Sunday was the Sabbath, a day of rest. Without television or radio, rest often meant quilting, reading, and playing with the children.

    As a ranch woman herself, Sharlot M. Hall was keenly aware of the area's ranching history. In 1936, she convinced the Works Progress Administration to build this log cabin as a tribute to pioneer ranchers and to house her collection of saddles and branding irons.

    On Site: The John C. Frémont House



    Completed in 1875, this modest structure was built with local milled lumber when the town of Prescott was little more than a decade old. At that time it was considered one of the more desirable residences in town. The sophisticated construction of this house reflects the rapid growth of Prescott during the ten years after 1864. Furnishings are from 1875-1881.
    John Charles Frémont found it a suitable residence while he served as the fifth territorial governor of Arizona (1878-1881). Frémont gained fame as the “Great Pathfinder” because of his pre-Civil War expeditions to the West. He ran for president of the United States as the first standard bearer for the Republican Party in 1856. Later he served briefly as a Union general. His career waned after the war, and his appointment as governor was seen as a means of improving his fortunes.

    The Frémonts resided here briefly, paying $90 a month for rent. It is likely that the house would have been sparsely decorated because it was a rental property from which the Frémonts were absent frequently. The cost of buying things to decorate a temporary residence in the pre-railroad era or bringing out large items from the former residence of the Frémonts also suggest Spartan surroundings, as was the case for most army officers posted to the Arizona Territory.

    Despite these challenges, the governor’s accomplished wife, Jessie Benton Frémont, used the home for social gatherings. After she returned to the East, their daughter Lily assumed the duties of hostess and homemaker.

    Through the years, the house deteriorated. In 1971, it was scheduled for demolition. People in the community rallied and with a combination of private and public funds arranged for the structure to be moved from downtown to the Museum grounds. Restoration, based in part on Lily Frémont’s diary, proceeded slowly, but after considerable effort the house became a gem complete with furnishings from the 1875-1881 period.

    On Site: The Transportation Building

    Sharlot-Hall-Museum-Stagecoach buckboardSharlot-Hall-Museum-Star-Four-Touring-CarSharlot-Hall-Museum-Bicentennial-Wagon

    The transportation building was constructed in 1937 and served as an automotive repair shop. It holds the Museum’s vehicle collection, which includes a stagecoach used in Tombstone, Arizona (and held up at least one time); a Conestoga wagon once driven from Yuma, Arizona to Massachusetts; and Sharlot Hall’s personal Durant Star Touring car.  This 1927 “convertible” still runs well and is often a featured attraction in Prescott parades.  The building’s open design accommodates occasional quilt and spinning demonstrations and other special programs.

    On Site: The Bashford House

    Sharlot-Hall-Museum-Bashford-HouseSharlot Hall Museum Bashford House2Inside Bashford House Gift Shop Sharlot Hall Museum Prescott Arizona

    The BASHFORD HOUSE (and MUSEUM SHOP), is an excellent example of Prescott's Victorian architecture, the height of housing fashion for the twenty-five years before statehood. Built in 1877, it was bought by merchant William Coles Bashford for his young wife, Louise Evans. The couple expanded and modified the house extensively. In 1973, history escaped the bulldozer once again. The 1880 William C. Bashford House, a building of “architectural value and high integrity” was saved by the people of Prescott and moved to the Museum property.

    Today this Victorian treasure welcomes guests as the Museum Store. Exhibit panels and artifacts explain who lived here, the story of a remarkable civic effort to save and move her, and of the Bashford brother’s “Big Store” that was the retail heart of downtown Prescott for 70 years. The gift store offers a wide variety of books, victorian items and museum related memorabilia.

    Off Site: The Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives

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    The Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives is a full-service Research Center. The Center provides a variety of resources and archival materials for patrons’ and researchers’ use as they investigate, examine and study the various topics concerning Prescott, the surrounding communities, Yavapai County and the Arizona Central Highlands area. The Museum was established in 1928, and, in essence, the archives, too. Hence, we have a variety of materials in the collections that reach back into Arizona’s Territorial era right up to the present.

    Our reference desk staff and volunteers welcome patrons’ queries and will assist all on their path of inquiry and research. Although staff cannot do the actual research, they are always ready to direct one to a beneficial resource. Unfortunately, due to limited staff and time, it is not possible to conduct research for patrons. When you visit the Library & Archives facility, basic computer literacy is recommended, as many items can be found only via the Research Center’s website. Also, it is suggested patrons make a research appointment whenever possible.

    Off Site: The Orchard Ranch


    Sharlot Hall’s family homestead, called Orchard Ranch, was located in what is now the site of the Orchard Ranch RV Park on Hwy. 69 east of Prescott Valley. This is where the former Kansas girl earned the title of ranch woman as the caretaker of the homestead as well as of her aging parents.

    An informational kiosk stands at the entrance of the property with highlights of the Hall family as well as the Fain family that acquired much of the ranch acreage. The site includes a cabin made of wood from the Hall home, built as a partnership with the Prescott Valley Historical Society, a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sharlot Hall Museum. Residents of the RV park maintain the kiosk as a sign of their pride in the importance of the area’s history.

    Click here for a map showing the location of the Orchard Ranch exhibit.