Governor John Noble Goodwin selected the original site of Prescott following his first tour of the new territory. Goodwin selected a site 20 miles south of the temporary capital on the west side of Granite Creek near a number of mining camps. The territorial capital was later moved to the new site along with Fort Whipple, with the new town named in honor of historian William H. Prescott during a public meeting on May 30, 1864. Robert W. Groom surveyed the new community, and an initial auction sold 73 lots on June 4, 1864. By July 4, 1864 a total of 232 lots had been sold within the new community. Prescott was officially incorporated in 1883.
Prescott served as capital of Arizona Territory until November 1, 1867, when the capital was moved to Tucson by act of the 4th Arizona Territorial Legislature. The capital was returned to Prescott in 1877 by the 9th Arizona Territorial Legislature. The capital was finally moved to Phoenix on February 4, 1889 by the 15th Arizona Territorial Legislature. After several major fires in the early part of the century, downtown Prescott was rebuilt with brick.
The city of Prescott and its environs were lucky, in a way - they were not hit by a strike on Doomsday, and merely saw portions of the clouds that signaled the destruction of Phoenix and Flagstaff. Yet, these same strikes would effect the area mere days later, as panicked refugees from those blasts began to arrive, along with some radiation from over the mountains, believed today to be from the Los Angeles region. The refugees proved to be more than the outer communities could handle, and overwhelmed them.
However, all was not lost: the refugees from the blasts, in fighting their way through the outlying communities on the way to Prescott, had largely used themselves up, with few actually making it to the central areas of the city alive. Between the radiation they received elsewhere, and the fallout landing in the region, still more, as well as some locals, perished as well. Over the next couple of months, medication and fuel would run out, leaving the old and crippled in a state where many did not last the winter. Others would leave in an attempt to find members of their families who had not been in the city that day, or to see if they had survived the blasts in the destroyed cities somehow. All told, the population of nearly 21,000 in Prescott at Doomsday would shrink to barely 10,000 by the end of 1987, with survivors from the outlying towns totaling another couple thousand. A militia was raised and headquartered at Fort Whipple, a military hospital, as well.
With stories from the refugees flowing to the city government, now led by Sam Steiger, a former congressmen, it became readily apparent that the vast majority of the population of Arizona was dead, and that they were probably the only city to still survive. As such, they declared themselves the provisional government of the state, and gave the mayor the title of governor as well, to little dissension, pending contact with federal authorities. By 1985, the government had essentially given up hope of contact with the federal government - two years of struggling to survive, and relying on bad farmland, ranching, and hunting excessively with no outside contact at all had seen to that. As such, on October 28, 1985, the government declared itself independent, even thought its authority did not stretch out of the valley in which Prescott sat.
Over the next few years, things improved somewhat, as precipitation increased and made it possible to grow more and better crops. Slowly, they began to rebuild areas destroyed or damage by time and the refugees, and to plant real fields of crops.
In 1995, reports of outsiders in the area arrived in the city for the first time in many years. While militia were not able to confirm this, the locations of the reports seemed to suggest that they came from the north. These reports would continue to grow in number, until in 1997 the militia finally came into contact with one of these scouts.
After intense discussion, it was revealed by the scout that he was from a Navajo Nation to their north, and they had indeed been watching and trying to remain unnoticed for two years. The Prescott leadership sent a delegate northwards with the scouts, who attempted to convince the Navajo leadership to help them. Still recovering themselves, the Navajo declined to aid the Prescotters, for the time being. However, the Prescott leadership did learn that other areas had survived, though no real contact with a federal government had been received by anyone since shortly after Doomsday when Texans had talked to federal authorities that had fled to Mexico - they had been abandoned to their own activities by the remnants of the American government.
To their dismay, the government of Prescott, by now under the current Mayor-Governor, Ken Bennett - a protege of Steiger - they also learned that they were the only real settlement that the Navajo, or indeed, anyone else, had found in the entire state. They learned of the extent of the damage done on Doomsday in the state, with essentially all major population centers hit of destroyed in the chaos that followed.
The government at Prescott was upset to hear of this, but continued to badger the Navajo, and the Mexicans and Texans as well, for aid. Eventually, in 2002, it was agreed that they would help them. Soon, work began at Fort Whipple, to upgrade the defenses and medical chambers, as well as the farms, and to try and re-establish electricity in the area. This is still ongoing today.
News of the outside world has recently been gained through contact with other nations in the region, and of the disbandment of the USA and its re-establishment, after a fashion, on the plains, has been met with a quiet reserve. The government at Prescott does not recognize the new USA as being the USA. The
Navajo, Texas and Mexico agreed in 2005 to recognize the Prescott government as being the official government of what areas of Arizona are not under the control of the Navajo as well.
Government and Politics
Prescott is governed by a seven-member council, and the Mayor-Governor. Elections are held every two years, though little changes in the members of government from election to election. For the first time in a decade, however, in the 2011 elections Mayor Marlin Kuykendall lost to challenger Alan Dean Foster, a local writer.
Given the movement of President Reagan and his government from the continent in the 1980s, and subsequent actions that they took, the Prescott government, and most people, consider the USA to have "abandoned" them, so they are not keen at the concept of the New United States. Indeed, they are likely to ally with Texas, if not eventually join them outright.
The military employed by the government is primarily made up of cavalry, which is very useful to them. Infantry sections also exist, and the government does have control over several planes, though they are still inoperable, and even pilots and aircraft engineers from the university. Overall, the military is led by Colonel Thomas J. Trask, formerly an aircraft engineering student at the university.
Prescott, despite it being thrust once again into the modern world, remains a town very much in the past. Indeed, someone from the Old West would not look out of place in the city, nor would they think the area unusual. Ranching and industries derived from it are king, and the location of the state next to what was once a National Forest means the animals have plenty of room to roam.
Still, farms remain in the area. While not the most efficient ever, they too form a significant part of the economy, especially in the production of spirits.
As per treaties negotiated with the Navajo and Texas, the two states, in exchange for help modernizing and repairing Prescott and its outlying settlements, have been given economic concessions, along with the Mexicans. The three states are thus currently the only ones allowed to export what few modern goods the government allows into Prescott, as the government considers its current way of life to be a very good way to live.
These same governments have recognized Prescott as the rightful government of most of the former state of Arizona. It is believed that once Prescott and its environs are brought into a more modern time period, these powers will begin to aid them in expanding into the rest of the state.
In what is developing to be an issue with the Navajo government, non-Navajos from their territories have begun to move to Prescott - and natives from around Prescott are moving northwards. While not likely to be a major point between the two, both would prefer that everyone stay more stationary.