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Tue, Oct. 22

Barnes: Reflections on our community

Dr. Ron Barnes

Dr. Ron Barnes

When our family first moved here in 1968, I considered Prescott—rightly or wrongly—to be a town. When we retired here in 1985, this beautiful community had become a city.

It was also a community that revered its history. Citizens who had lived here for years were proud of what Prescott once was and had become. Of course, some old-timers would fuss about the many changes that had taken place and the lack of appreciation for Prescott’s rich frontier history as well as the stories that made this community unique.

But I would argue that most of the old-timers and the new residents appreciated the values, goals, ideas and ideals that community leaders developed and accepted.

What has emerged through the years has been a commitment to celebrate our history while adapting to the inevitable challenges that come from an increasing population.

I believe there is a recognition that certain covenants are important to us. There is a belief that the individual counts; that our natural resources should be preserved; that education and recreation are community priorities; that the community’s history and stories should be appreciated; that the unique hometown character of the community should not be lost as population increases, and that the community’s future should be tied to our past.

Prescott has many imbedded heroes and stories that identify the complex character of the community. There are myths, legends, characters and memories that tell us more than what history books relate.

Through them we learn about local adventurers and adventures, good and bad men (and women), controversy and harmony, noble and ignoble uses of power, roles leading families and elected officials played, and why certain ideas work here and others don’t. It is the accumulation of these stories interwoven with history that enables us to understand Prescott’s present culture.

To become part of the community newcomers should take the time and make the effort to appreciate the covenants that bind us and the culture that defines the community.

They might tour the Sharlot Hall Museum, read Melisa Ruffner’s book, “Prescott: A Pictorial History,” visit the Phippen Museum of Western Art, explore volunteer opportunities, take advantage of learning programs offered through Yavapai and Prescott colleges. I also suggest folks apply to become involved in the Prescott Area Leadership program.

There is a lot going on here in our community. In the immortal words of Harry Golden, “Enjoy, enjoy!”

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