On two different days we visited Prescott and then NPS Montezuma Castle national monument.
First the day we went to Prescott it was more of a day for taking a drive to see the country side than anything else. We stopped for breakfast in the little mining town of Jerome high on the mountainside. We ate at the Mile High cafe, we recommend it. We really enjoyed the drive over the mountain on hwy 89A, a winding mountain road. DON'T DRIVE YOUR RV OVER THIS ROUTE. There are signs to warn you about the length of vehicles, we can easily see why the restriction, what, with the switchbacks and the narrow streets in Jerome. YIKES! When we got to Prescott we found the old town area and parked for our walk about town. There is a walking tour map available from the tourist center. The old town area is a city square around the old courthouse. The many shops, bars and eateries make for a nice afternoon of walking around. Outside of the business area is a collection of old Victorian dated homes that are beautiful and are described in the walking brochure.
Next day, we jaunted over the freeway to the NPS Montezuma Castle National Monument. First off, Montezuma or his people were never here, you have to know that going in. When the place was "discovered" by the whites in the late 1800's, the archeologists made a lot of assumptions about the ancient peoples who dwelled here and they were wrong. But the name stuck and hasn't been corrected, for whatever reasons. Uggghhh! The following came fromt he NPS brochure. The first permanent settlements in the Verde Valley resembled those of the Hohokam culture, which extended throughout southern and central Arizona. Between 700 - 900 some Hohokam moved north into the valley. Theses skilled farmers grew corn, beans, squash, and cotton using a variety of techniques that included canal irrigation. Above ground masonry dwellings are attributed to Northern Sinagua influence into the valley by about 1125. No. Sinagua culture centered around present day Flagstaff. By 1150 Southern Sinagua began building large pueblos, often on hill-tops or in cliffs. Montezuma Castle reached its maximum size in the 1300's and were occupied for another century through the 1400's.
No one knows exactly why the Southern Sinagua abandoned their pueblos by the early 1400's. Possibly, over population for the resources at hand, conflicts, lack of water, even spiritual beliefs. The Hopi much later took over the dwellings and lived happily for many many years. Enjoy the pictures, we really enjoyed our afternoon learning about these marvelous ancient apartments...