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Wed, Oct. 16

Editorial: Re-naming 'Row good for business

The Prescott City Council took up a suggestion this week from Dave Michelson, owner of The Palace Restaurant and Saloon, to rename a segment of Montezuma Street to "Historic Whiskey Row."

Some in our town will likely see this as bad window dressing - promoting only one industry and glamorizing drinking. Some also could complain that it is a costly action for businesses there. We see it as cementing history and promoting a natural draw for visitors to the Prescott area.

The block, on July 14, 1900, was totally razed by fire. "Most of the color and stories of Prescott originated in this one block landmark that still celebrates that fact that it once hosted over 40 saloons," its website states.

One of those stories centers on The Palace, where patrons saved the historic bar from the fire by moving it out the door onto the courthouse plaza. Legend says they didn't miss a beat - moving the bar or drinking to their health.

While it is difficult to imagine 40 saloons packed into that one block, it is really no surprise because Whiskey Row is famous for its history. Part of that history centers on names such as Wyatt and Virgil Earp, 'Doc' Holliday and Big Nose Kate. They moved here in 1879, prior to their infamous shootout in Tombstone.

According to websites about Whiskey Row, the buildings - including Sam Hill Hardware Company, the Highland Hotel, the Palace, the Levy Building and the Hotel St. Michael - were "constructed with permanence and appearance in mind in styles typical of early 20th century building. ... resulting in a unique turn-of-the-century façade which is essentially intact today."

Sadly, some derision has surfaced since plans to replace the building that housed the Bird Cage Saloon and two other businesses that burned on May 8, 2012. Those plans, critics say, do not adhere to that "unique façade" that is supposedly "essentially intact."

That is a stumbling block for the history of the 'Row; however, suffice to say, we can call Whiskey Row a center of activity for a fledgling town that has grown to become the backbone for a city's tourism trade.

The discussion on Tuesday appeared favorable toward the proposal, which should come up again in about a month.

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