The Senator Highway once served as a primary stagecoach thoroughfare for central Arizona, serving primarily miners and related industries. The Spence family, newly arrived from Missouri in 1875, saw opportunity and constructed the two-story Palace Station in the years following. By 1878 the Station was being advertised as a stagecoach stop. They primarily served meals to travelers and feed and water to horses. Some Friday nights, “fancy ladies” could be seen near the Station to relieve miners of their pay.
By the early 1900s, the nearby mines dried up, rail roads were being built in the area, and fewer and fewer stagecoaches stopped by Palace Station. In 1913 the business was sold, but the station remained in use by other owners, including ranchers. In 1963 the U.S. Forest Service acquired Palace Station. At more than 140 years of age, the structure is one of the earliest examples of pioneer cabins in the region.
During HistoriCorps’ 2017 project at Palace Station, we met Ray Jackson, author of “Spence’s Palace Station: History in the Bradshaw Mountains.” His history of the building and the people who lived there will give volunteers wonderful context and background information to make this project even more enjoyable.
Our partners on the Prescott National Forest have invited HistoriCorps volunteers to do the hands-on work necessary to preserve the cabin, so it can be opened as an overnight rental for the public. It seems that the station’s past, as a bunkhouse and rest stop, has defined its future. Help us keep history alive in the Bradshaw Mountains this summer!
SESSION DATES: May 30 – April 4 and June 6-11
Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.
IMPORTANT: The road to Palace Station is not passable for those with low-clearance vehicles. Vehicles like a Subaru Outback, Jeep Cherokee, or similar can access this location with careful, slow driving. Tent camping only.
HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn these traditional skills necessary to restore the Palace Station. Much of the scope of work is intended to prepare the cabin for overnight rentals through the “Window With A View” historic cabin program.
- Refinish interior walls and floors: 35%
- Rehabilitate windows and shutters: 20%
- Repair and replace chinking and daubing in exterior log walls: 5%
- Construct porch railings and stairs: 30%
- Miscellaneous carpentry repairs: 10%
Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.