Today: Jul 03 , 2020

Yavapai County Courthouse: 100 Years of History

17 October 2016  
The Yavapai County Courthouse celebrated its 100th birthday on Saturday by opening up for everyone to visit and by rededicating the building's cornerstone, on the northeast corner.

To start the event, Presiding Judge David Mackey spoke briefly about the courthouse and the efforts put into the restoration. Joining him at the top of the stairs were Elisabeth Ruffner, Supreme Court Justice Bob Brutinel and Supervisor Jack Smith. 

Courthouse employees, including security personnel, provided snacks and information. Citizens of all ages toured the building, enjoying the new historical display on the first floor and finding out about the jail and other services which once occupied the building.  Courtrooms were open with knowledgeable guides explaining trial procedures and the history of the rooms. 

The displays now housed on the first floor next to the law library feature many photos, focusing on the history of the Prescott, including important trials. One is the story of Fleming Parker, a cowboy with a grievance against the railroad who broke out of jail, killed a Deputy City Attorney and stole Sheriff Ruffner's horse.   Another more recent trial, that of the Poland Brothers who robbed an armored car on I17, is still remembered by many Prescott folks.

The seats in some of the court rooms are original and even still have the built-in hat racks.

The displays of historical photos and artifacts will remain available for view whenever the Courthouse is open for business. A brochure with a detailed history of the Yavapai County courthouses can be found at the information desk.


The cornerstone rededication was performed by members of local and statewide Masonic lodges.  The original dedication in 1916 was also a Masonic ceremony.  Cornerstones are important symbols in Masonic philosophy.  They say that a "right and true" cornerstone is necessary for the stability of any construction. The colorful and solemn ceremony added to the interest of the occasion.

There is a time capsule in the cornerstone of the Courthouse, placed there by the Masons on October 19, 2016. It will not be retrieved until such time as the Courthouse is no longer sound or fitting for its purpose. Some of the items in the time capsule include:

  • Holy Bible
  • Mayor’s annual Message and Report of City Clerk for year 1915-16
  • Banking forms from the Prescott National Bank
  • Old photographs and papers deposited by Morris Goldwater
  • Copy of Special Edition Arizona Journal Miner, 1908
  • Mining map of Prescott and vicinity
  • Map of Jerome Mining District
  • Booklets from Yavapai County Chamber of Commerce
  • Telephone Directory of Prescott District
  • Penny from Prescott Chapter No. 2 R.A.M.
  • Proceedings 1916 session O.E.S., F.& A.M., R.A.M., and K.T. Constitution
  • Constitution of Grand Lodge, F.& A.M. And Grand Chapter of O.E.S.
  • A History of Freemasonry in the State of Arizona
  • Copies of Prescott and Jerome Newspapers
  • Letterheads, Financial Statements, etc., from business firms of Prescott
  • Premium List of the Fourth Annual Northern Arizona Fair
  • Weekly Programme, Elks Theatre
  • "Hassayampa,” 1915 and 1916 and other papers from Public Schools.
  • Copies of Yavapai Magazine