Grace Sparkes Activity Center – Prescott AZ

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Description

The Prescott National Guard Armory was built from 1936 to 1939 by the relief workers of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Today, it is called the Grace Sparkes Activity Center and the Prescott Parks and Recreation offices are located on the lower floor.

The former armory is a large building constructed of reinforced concrete that was meant to provide a large interior hall for drills.  The exterior is sheathed with cut native stone. Sandstone lintels are used over windows set deeply into the walls. The front entrance features a medieval style gate over the double doors and different color and pattern of stone work than the rest of the façade.

There are plaques in front of the building to Grace Sparkes, who led the effort to bring New Deal funding to Yavapai County, and explaining the origins of the Armory Building.

The old armory is part of the Prescott Armory Historic District, which was placed on the National Register in 1994.  The latter includes the Prescott Citizen’s Cemetery, Museum of Indigenous People, and the City Park and Ballfield (now Ken Lindley Field).

The Armory building occupies the highest elevation of the Historic District complex, and the hillside steps down by stone walls to the parking lot, tennis courts and playing fields to the west.

There is a curious inscription etched by hand into the steps in front of the old armory, which may read “WPA/PWA” but might also be “All/FWA”, referring perhaps to the Federal Emergency Works Administration (FERA).

 

Source notes

"The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," The Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association. 2012.
http://www.library.arizona.edu/newdeal/map.html

Allison Dunn and Gina Chorover, Prescott Armory Historical District. Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS #AZ-14). National Park Service, Washington D.C. 2014.  https://www.loc.gov/item/az0657/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Prescott,_Arizona

 

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 12, 2022.

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Location Info


824 E. Gurley St.
Prescott, AZ 86301

Coordinates: 34.54223, -112.458195

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