Fort Whipple, Arizona
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  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.
Del Rio Springs marker where Fort Whipple was originally established
|Condition||medical treatment facility|
|Built by||United States|
|In use||1863 - 1913|
|Occupants||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. 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.
- Brandes, Ray (1959). "A Guide to the History of the U.S. Army Installations in Arizona 1849-1886". Arizona and the West. 1 (1). JSTOR 40166912. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
- Hoagberg, Earl (May 1999). "135 Years Ago Today a Capital is Born Named Prescott". Sharlot Hall Archives & Library.
- Bates, Al (May 2000). "From Fort to Veteran's Affairs the latest chapter of Whipple". Sharlot Hall Archive & Library.
- Fort Whipple Museum – Sharlot Hall Museum
- Remembered Names and Forgotten Faces of Fort Whipple, by Al Bates, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, Apr 1999.
- 135 Years Ago Today a Capital is Born Named Prescott, by Earl Hoagberg, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, May 1999.
- People Before Days of the Empire at Fort Whipple, by Al Bates, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, Nov 28, 1999. Copy
- Whipple, Glassford, and the "talking mirrors", by James H. Riddle, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, Jan 2000.
- The Days of the Empire at Fort Whipple, by Al Bates, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, Feb 2000.
- Del Rio's quick brush with the seat of government, By Terry Munderloh, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, Oct 2000.
- From Fort to Veteran’s Affairs: the latest chapter of Whipple, by Al Bates, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library, May 28, 2000.
- Fort Whipple: Territorial Fort to VA Medical Complex – Part 1, by Al Bates, The Daily Courier, Prescott AZ, January 14, 2012.
- Fort Whipple: Territorial Fort to VA Medical Complex – Part 2, by Al Bates, The Daily Courier, Prescott AZ, January 21, 2012.
- Photos online, Sharlot Hall Archives & Library.
- Charles A. Curtis. Army Life in the West (1862–1865). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 20, 2017. ISBN 978-1545458785.
- The History of Fort Whipple thesis, by Phillip D. Yoder, The University of Arizona, 1951
- Fort Whipple Reconstruction Photos, ca. 1905-1908, Arizona Historical Society Archives