Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

The Palace: “Arizona’s Oldest Frontier Bar”

Brunswick Bar, saved from fire

Brunswick Bar, saved from fire

©Bert Gildart: The ambiance is clear the moment you walk into the Palace Bar in Prescott, Arizona. Along the walls, hang images of Tom Seleck, Willie Nelson, John Wayne and others. Along yet another wall hang images of Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Doc Holiday and Big Nose Kate.

This is a western bar–as yet other features attest.

The images and other features are not false advertising; the Palace makes the claim that it is “Arizona’s oldest frontier bar,” and that claim is apparently true, though there was an interruption to its tenure. In 1900 the Palace went up in flames in what is infamously known as the “Whiskey Row Fire.”


Though the bar burned to the ground, the massive and ornately carved Brunswick Bar shown here was carried across the street to the plaza by patrons. One year later, the Palace was back in business, the Brunswick Bar restored to its original position.

Because of its history, the Palace is certainly a place to reminisce about the Wild West. The Earps all frequented the bar and so did Doc Holiday, often accompanied by his lady friend, Big Nose Kate.

Historically busy--and still busy

Historically busy–and still busy

Holiday died in a sanitarium for tuberculous in Glennwood Springs, Coloraod,  but Kate died in Pioneer Home here in Prescott; and before departing this mile-high city, I hope to visit her site, for she was such a western character, as the picture on the bar wall seems to suggest.

Though the photographic angle down plays her famous nose, she certainly appears to be a woman who could take care of herself, something the movie “Tombstone” so graphically revealed.


Today, the Palace Bar has added dining to its stable of drinks, and after taking “intrusive” photographs in the bar (with the manager’s permission) we enjoyed a delightful meal. Janie ordered a bison burger while I opted for fish and chips. Granted, not a very “western” choice, but next time I’ll try and do better.

And now a note on the photography, which was more than simply grabbing snap shots. Because the premises were so huge, I selected a 12- to 24-mm lens and then used the widest focal length the lens offered.

Prescott Courthouse lawn, where ambiance begins.

Prescott Courthouse lawn, where "ambiance" begins.

Then, because the light was so dim, I mounted the camera on a tripod and took most all of the images for about ½ second. And, then, because movement could have detracted from the final image, I took about a dozen, selecting for my blog and for my “Prescott Folder” one in which motion contributed to the picture.

Generally, our time in the Palace was in a rather subdued environment, but Janie and I both wagered that on any given Saturday night, the Palace might well live up to the Wild West experienced by the Earps, Doc Holiday, and Big Nose Kate. That thought was reinforced by the Borglum (famous for the presidents at Mount Rushmore) bronze of the bronc rider found right outside in the court yard square–directly across the street from the Palace Bar.

Might the rider have been thinking about trying to ride his hoss’ into the Palace?

3 Responses to “The Palace: “Arizona’s Oldest Frontier Bar””

  1. sadira Says:

    Bert…it’s always so much fun to see Prescott through someone else’s eyes! It gives me new appreciation for the place (plus, you’ve been finding out facts that I knew little about) I sure am going to miss you and Janie when you finally leave us…

  2. al walker Says:

    great work on prescott. used to live there doc holiday passed away at glennwood springs co. in a sanitaruim not tombstone az. thanks al walker

  3. Bert Gildart Says:

    Thank you, Al, and the correction made above, changing Tombstone, AZ to Glennwood Springs, CO.