Historic Sam Hill Warehouse
The History of the Prescott College Art Gallery
The Sam Hill Warehouse -- A Historic Landmark
The Sam Hill Warehouse is significant for its historic associations with one of Prescott’s oldest businesses and with the general economic growth of Prescott at the turn of the century. Originally named The Samuel Hill Hardware Company Warehouse, this historic building was constructed in 1903 to serve the storage needs of the expanding Sam Hill Hardware Company.
The Samuel Hill Hardware Company was founded in 1877 in downtown Prescott by Yorkshire, England native Samuel Hill. In 1900 the already prosperous business was destroyed along with the rest of Whiskey Row on Montezuma Street in the infamous Prescott Fire. However, Hill reestablished the store the same year, and by 1903 the company had become the largest regional supplier of hardware, in addition to mining, ranching, and household goods. The hardware company’s newly erected warehouse served as storage for surplus stock including dynamite, wagons, windmills, Winchester rifles, and Ford Model Ts.
Samuel Hill died in 1901, but the store remained family-owned for 89 years. In 1966 the Norris family purchased the business, and in 1977 the Samuel Hill Hardware Company celebrated its 100th anniversary, still standing by its motto, “Everybody swears by Sam Hill.” In 1980, the Samuel Hill Hardware Company on Whiskey Row closed its doors for good.
National Register of Historic Places
In 1981 the Sam Hill Warehouse was restored and approved as a certified historic structure by the National Park Service for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Warehouse subsequently housed the El Escondido Restaurant before Prescott College acquired the building in 1993. Since then, the Warehouse has been a venue for art exhibitions, concerts, readings, dances, fundraisers, wedding receptions, college community gatherings, and various local events. Today, the Sam Hill Warehouse houses the Prescott College Visual Arts Center and dedicated Art Gallery providing a “contemporary rustic” creative environment for the community at large.