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Did You Know Prescott Was Not Arizona’s First Territorial Capitol?

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

For every Prescottonian, the distinction of Prescott being the first Territorial Capitol of Arizona is a point of historical pride. But what would you say if that was a misnomer?

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Chino Valley, Prescott’s neighboring town was the location of Arizona’s first territorial government. According to the Chino Valley Historical Society, Lt. Amiel Whipple of the U.S. Army Cavalry chose the site in 1864 because it afforded “good water, firewood within 2 or 3 miles and building timber of the best quality. The neighborhood abounds in deer, antelope, turkeys, and other varieties of game.” Chino Valley was also the location of what would become known as the Verde River. The valley was the perfect location to supply the cavalry’s livestock with hay, water, and grazing land.

A few months after Whipple’s arrival the established fort was moved to Prescott to be closer to the miner’s settlement. Fort Whipple is still in use today as the local U.S. Veterans’ Administration.

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