Off the Shelf: Book highlights firefighting past
This is the first published history of the Prescott Fire Department. A fire brigade, known as the Prescott Volunteers, was formed in 1878 after a fire in a shop next to Morris Goldwater's store at the corner of Cortez and Union streets. The volunteers did the best they could with limited water and equipment. On July 5, 1883, a fire consumed over half the buildings on Montezuma, on the west side of the courthouse plaza. In 1884, S.N. Homes, owner of the Journal-Miner newspaper, died in a fire at the Sherman House on Goodwin Street, near the present location of the Chamber of Commerce. The newspaper campaigned for the creation of a water works and a fire department and the Prescott Volunteer Fire Department was officially established on March 3, 1885.
Eric Conrad Jackson's new book on the Prescott Fire Department contains a wealth of local history. It is especially interesting to me because my father, grandfather, and four uncles were Phoenix firefighters.
A Prescott firefighter/paramedic, Jackson grew up in Prescott and is a 14-year veteran of the Prescott Fire Department. The book contains over 200 vintage photos from the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Fire Department scrapbooks. Jackson pored through old newspapers and listened to oral histories. The result is a 127-page book covering the history of firefighting in Prescott from the early days to the present.
The book documents how Prescott Fire Department developed as the city grew, adding stations, fire apparatus and people as needed. The early hose carts and wagons were pulled by hand. In 1906, the city bought two horses to pull the hose wagon. In 1915, the city purchased two Ford Model-Ts to haul men and equipment.
The Prescott Fire Department is one title in the Images of America series produced by Arcadia Publishing, which includes: Around Yavapai County, Around Dewey-Humboldt, Ash Fork, Camp Verde, Cemeteries of Yavapai County, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Elks Opera House, Empire Ranch, Jerome, Montezuma Castle, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona, Verde Valley, Williams, Williamson Valley Road, and many other books on Arizona's local history.
Jackson will be at the Peregrine Book Company to talk about his new book and sign copies on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m.
The Peregrine Book Company is located at 219A N. Cortez St., in Prescott.