Open main menu

Fort Whipple was a U.S. Army post which served as Arizona Territory's capital prior to the founding of Prescott, Arizona. The post was founded by Edward Banker Willis in December 1863 [1] in Del Rio Springs and originally named Camp Clark, after Surveyor General of the New Mexico Territory John A. Clark. On May 18, 1864 it was moved 21 miles southwest to a miner's tent settlement on the left bank of Granite Creek called Granite City (also Granite Dells, Gimletville), which was on higher ground, had better access to lumber, and the military could better protect miners. At this time, the post was renamed Fort Whipple, after Amiel Weeks Whipple, a Civil War Union General. The capital was placed two miles south in the new city of Prescott founded in 1864.[2][3]

Fort Whipple
Prescott, Arizona
Chino Valley-Del Rio Spring Marker.jpg
Del Rio Springs marker where Fort Whipple was originally established
TypeArmy fortification
Site information
Controlled by Arizona
Conditionmedical treatment facility
Site history
Built by United States
In use1863 - 1913
Garrison information
OccupantsUnited States United States Army

By 1895 the place was dilapidated, and in 1897 scheduled for deactivation, but in 1898 the US declared war on Spain, and 200 troops were recruited and sent east to the Spanish–American War. The Fort was inactive until 1905 when new buildings were constructed and four companies (about 500 soldiers) moved in, which were not needed after Arizona became a state in 1912, and the place was deserted except for a maintenance crew. In 1918 during World War I, the Army reactivated Fort Whipple as a hospital for respiratory illnesses, many with tuberculosis (TB) and soldiers injured by nerve gas. It had 22 buildings and 900 sick beds.[4] The property was transferred to the US Public Health Service, and in 1931 to the Veterans Administration, renamed Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Prescott. In 2004 it was renamed the Bob Stump Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, after Congressman Stump, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Along with being a hospital, the fort still has buildings on the hills nearby, which once served as the officers quarters. Now, the buildings are homes to nurses and doctors of the hospital.

Fort Whipple MuseumEdit

One of the military officer's quarters (building 11, painted yellow and green) has been turned into the Fort Whipple Museum, with artifacts and history about the fort and hospital, including medical instruments, Army weaponry, the Buffalo Soldiers, maps, photographs and memoirs written by those stationed there. The museum is operated as a joint project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Historic structuresEdit


  1. ^ FortWiki
  2. ^ Brandes, Ray (1959). "A Guide to the History of the U.S. Army Installations in Arizona 1849-1886". Arizona and the West. 1 (1): 42–65. JSTOR 40166912.
  3. ^ Hoagberg, Earl (May 1999). "135 Years Ago Today a Capital is Born Named Prescott". Sharlot Hall Archives & Library.
  4. ^ Bates, Al (May 2000). "From Fort to Veteran's Affairs the latest chapter of Whipple". Sharlot Hall Archive & Library.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 34°33′17″N 112°27′10″W / 34.55472°N 112.45278°W / 34.55472; -112.45278