"Just re-located to Prescott and now have a deep appreciation for not only Whisky row but the entire region. Great research work and well written." Amazon customer, November 8, 2016
The Whiskey Row historian was honored and humbled to be introduced in such an eloquent manner at the Prescott Centennial Center by a dear friend, John McKinney, USMC: “I know of two formulas for success. One: it happens when preparation meets inspiration and perspiration results. Two: success happens when you find a need and fill it. Our speaker tonight epitomizes both of these criteria. Brad Courtney found that Whiskey Row was referenced in almost every book about Prescott, but that no one had written a comprehensive book about Whiskey Row itself. He found a need and was inspired. After four years of extensive and intensive research regarding Whiskey Row history, coupled with his master’s degree in history, he was prepared. His resulting book, Prescott’s Original Whiskey Row published by The History Press, has been a bestseller since its launch in late 2015. Brad has become one of Prescott's most popular speakers; his appearances have resulted in turn-away crowds at Sharlot Hall Museum and other venues.” Introduction by John McKinney, USMC, 2016 Sheriff of the Prescott Corral of Westerners
From The Daily Courier - Hearsay, legends and myths of Prescott’s “Whiskey Row” will be debunked and uncloaked as Brad Courtney, local historian and author, presents his “Origins of Whiskey Row” talk at Sharlot Hall Museum on Saturday, March 19. For the past several years, Courtney has been researching early mysteries and archival records, tracing the beginnings of “the Row” that go back as far as 1864. His book “Prescott’s Original Whiskey Row” tells the history of the block-long, famous landmark. The presentation will reveal some of his discoveries and focus on such saloons as the Diana, Quartz Rock, Cabinet and Palace, which stands proudly today as the Row’s centerpiece. Admission to the lecture and book signing is free, and will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on March 19, in the West Gallery of the Lawler Exhibit Center. Courtney’s interest in Whiskey Row and its history began as a curiosity. After moving to Prescott after a career teaching on the Navajo Indian Reservation, he wanted to learn more about its storied past, with which he was enamored. Lo and behold and to his surprise, he found very little published and devoted solely to the rich history about Whiskey Row. He set out to write the book he wanted to read, and has begun work on a follow-up book with the working title, “The Resurrection of Prescott’s Whiskey Row.” Sharlot Hall Museum is located at 415 West Gurley Street, two blocks west of the Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott. For more information, contact the Museum at 928-445-3122 x10.
- "While living in the area, it was nice to read, for once, about those individuals who were part of Prescott's history, many of who are well known and also those who played a minor role, and where the various saloons and buildings were located along or near Whiskey Row prior to the great fire of 1900. For those who wish to read more about the early history and "goings on" in the town of Prescott, this is the book. It is jam-packed with lots of interesting tales from the early days after the territorial capital moved south from Chino Valley to the new town of Prescott, Arizona." Glen F. Brose, Chino Valley, AZ
"Yesterday I finished reading your wonderful book. I think you did a great job of clearing up the confusion surrounding the origin of the Palace Saloon. . . . Although I've heard the Violet Bell-Hicks story from you before, this was a very interesting telling. Also compelling were the stories of the "dynamite demon" and the guy who stomped the prostitute to death. Unbelievable that nobody came to her rescue. . . . . I think your book will sell very well." Thomas P. Collins, PhD Author of Arizona on Stage: Playhouses, Plays, and Players in the Territory, 1879-1912
"This book is obviously thoroughly researched and scholarly and, at the same time, told in a conversational tone. I felt like Brad Courtney and I were sitting at the Palace Saloon sharing a couple of drinks while he related the history of Whiskey Row. I liked his style of concluding a chapter and also giving the reader a "heads up" to the next one. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the real history of the Old West." Alan Cook, Elgin, Illinois
"I'm mid-way in Brad Courtney's book, Prescott's Original Whiskey Row. Very interesting--lots of history, good pictures and illustrations! A good read." Laura Whitlatch Irrgang, Sun City, Arizona
"Brad did an amazing job at his book lecture and I really like his book."
"Brad's thorough research on his subject has done Prescott and Whiskey Row very proud. Presented in an easy and conversational tone, Brad has worked hard to find the real history of this piece of Arizona, and it shows. A highly recommended read and one to keep on the shelf." Amazon.com reviewer
"Finished 'Whiskey Row' and enjoyed it immensely! I must confess that I knew little about Arizona's history prior to reading this book. The elegant yet entertaining style was very impressive and held my interest throughout. Congratulations, Brad, on producing an important tome about your beloved Prescott! It is clearly a very significant work of historical scholarship!" Anders A. Holmberg, M.D, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Westerners - January 7, 2016 "Special thanks, of course, to Brad. With 28 hours notice, he gave a riveting, informative talk that was of great interest to all in attendance. Really looking forward to his November presentation." - John McKinney, Sheriff, Prescott Corral of Westerners
Prescott Kudos - December 10, 2015 New book recounts Whiskey Row's colorful history "Prescott's Original Whiskey Row" by Bradley G. Courtney
I had no idea how much of a Western drama - studded with indelible characters and considerable violence - the early Whiskey Row actually was until I picked up the brand new History Press edition of "Prescott's Original Whiskey Row," by Bradley G. Courtney, a local resident. The book covers the original Whiskey Row from its birth in 1864 through several minor fires to its death in the Great Fire of 1900.
Although each of the multitude of early drinking establishments had plenty of customers, Courtney divides the saloons into five tiers, with the Palace and the Cabinet at the top "because they're the only pre-Great Fire saloons still standing." (You'll have to read the book to understand where the Cabinet is now.) Saloons in the other tiers had colorful names as well as colorful characters as owners and customers: Quartz Rock, Nifty, Eclipse, Fashion, Keg, Petrified, and Owl were a few names of these well-kept watering holes. One saloon, The Keystone, seemed to be cursed, according to Courtney, and generated more than its share of tragedy.
Many of the early Whiskey Row incidents that Courtney recounts - murders and stabbings and beatings - were fueled in the most part by whisky and fermented resentments, the two bloodiest nights at the Diana among them. Others, despite much alcohol-inspired merriment along with card-game and other disputes in very early "establishments" (that were sometimes constructed with covered-wagon canvas cloth stretched over two pine poles) ended with only a few bruises and "little promiscuous firing of revolvers." Courtney recounts several of the most colorful stories. With this kind of Wild West culture, law and order was hard to establish, though there were frequent heroic and involved chases where posses mounted up and thundered out after the lawless. The one that will stay in my mind, although successful, appeared less than a Hollywood version, with two men in a horse-drawn carriage pursuing a desperado, two pursuing on horseback, and Virgil Earp running along behind on foot, toting a Winchester.
- Reviewed by Susan Lang, Peregrine Book Company event coordinator