Originally Published: May 6, 2014 6:02 a.m.
PRESCOTT, Arizona - As the home to the only 150-year-old buildings still standing in Prescott, and the repository of much of the city's history, the Sharlot Hall Museum will play a prominent role in Prescott's sesquicentennial celebration this year.
While the museum is hosting events throughout the year, the big party will take place on Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 1, since the city was officially christened Prescott on May 30, 1864.
"Now is the time for Prescott to have a celebration of its own," following the state's centennial celebration in 2012, the museum's Interim Director Fred Veil said Thursday as museum officials announced their sesquicentennial weekend line-up of events to local supporters and elected officials.
The museum events are being coordinated with other events on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza and the Mile High Middle School athletic field.
Partial closures on Goodwin and McCormick streets will make it easier for pedestrians to stroll the few blocks between the plaza, field and museum events.
The museum events kick off at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 30 with the Territorial Dinner. Sticking with the sesquicentennial theme, the dinner will accommodate 150 guests. Veil alerted history lovers Thursday that more than two-thirds of the $75 tickets already are sold.
Murphy's Restaurant will cater the dinner on the museum lawn. It will feature historically inspired recipes from early Prescott cookbooks.
The dinner also will feature an open bar, champagne "Territorial Toast," ceremonial raising of a 35-star flag, entertainment by the Central Arizona Concert Band, and living history presentations featuring the Arizona territory's first governor and secretary, dinner committee chair Jennifer Bartos announced.
Guests will receive commemorative wine glasses, beer glasses, calendars and programs.
A special guest will be a member of a family that has lived in Prescott continuously since 1864.
Different stories from Prescott's first newspaper, the Arizona Miner, will grace each dinner place setting.
And the front page of the first Arizona Miner will be reproduced on the museum's three-day program of events that museum visitors will get all weekend.
"It's a good primer" of the origins of Prescott's founding, Veil noted.
On Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, the museum is opening its doors free to everyone for the celebration.
Living history re-enactors will demonstrate territorial crafts in the museum's historic structures throughout the weekend.
Other weekend events include frontier children's activities, a 19th Century fashion show, a performance from the Generations Youth String Band, and a 2 p.m. Sunday lecture on Prescott's founding.
A re-enactment of the May 30, 1864 meeting when the founders chose the name "Prescott" for the Arizona territory's first capital will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday. Re-enactors will read the resolutions the pioneers adopted.
The museum just happens to be the home of the cabin where that 1864 meeting took place, thanks to the late Sharlot Hall, who preserved "Fort Misery" by moving it to the museum grounds in 1934. It was built along the banks of Granite Creek two blocks south of the museum in 1863-64 by Santa Fe trader Manuel Yrissari as his home and store.
"It's the oldest surviving log cabin in Arizona," museum Chief Curator Mick Woodcock said. "It was the center of town for awhile."
The museum also is home to the first governor's mansion, built in 1864.
(See the Feb. 21 Daily Courier for details about May 30-June 1 events on the plaza and athletic field that were announced last week.)
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