Palace Station Adventure down an old stagecoach road and visit the historic Palace Station!

The Proper Function



If you’re not already familiar with the Senator Highway, then you have an opportunity to adventure down the crown jewel of Arizona backroad travel. This rocky highway was built in 1866 as part of the Prescott and Lyn Creek Toll Road. The toll was $1.50 per wagon and $0.50 cents per horseback rider. In 1875, Samuel Fredricks, who owned the Senator Mine, constructed a connecting road from Groom creek that led directly to the mine. Eventually, this road would extend to 32 miles and connect with another mining town called Crown King.



That same year, Alfred “A.B.” Barnum and Matilda Spence moved to Crooks Canyon and constructed a log cabin home. They intentionally chose this location as it was along the Senator Highway between Prescott and the Peck Mine, which at the time was one of the most resourceful mines in the Arizona Territory. The log cabin was built in a typical pioneer fashion as it had two downstair rooms and a loft. This cabin would eventually become a ranch, farm, post office, saloon, bunkhouse and stage stop for all travelers and miners in the area.

“You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough!” – Mae West


Most of the original buildings are since gone – the bunkhouse, chicken house, blacksmith shop, barns and stables – but, the main structure remains and is the oldest house in the state from the early pioneer days. As you bump up & down the Senator Highway, know that this is the same road utilized by the Prescott & Phoenix stage back in 1877. The stage would stop at Palace Station where the passengers would receive a meal from Mrs Spence and the horses watered. The trip from Prescott to Peck Mine was completed in a single day, so stage riders were not offered overnight accommodations. Behind the Palace Station bar was a sign that read Meals $0.50, Beds $1.00, Hay & Grain $1.50.



From 1880’s to 1910, Palace Station was a prime Bradshaw Mountain destination. By 1908, most of the mines had dried and engineers starting building other roads to Prescott making travel down the treacherous Senator Highway unnecessary. Ironically, it would be the same year that Alfred “A.B.” Barnum would pass away. The Palace Station was later sold for $10 in 1913. Today, you can continue to visit this historical site which is now owned by The U.S. Forest Service. It is a private residence as a Prescott National Forest ranger lives here year-round. You may stop and take photos, but the station is private and not open to the public.



1_WidePhotoAlfred B. Spence died in 1908 and is buried in the Palace Station Cemetery. Clinton Henry Black, son-in-law of Mr. Spence, is also buried in the cemetery. It was learned that Mr. Beck was drilling a hole in the Buster Mine when a “terrific explosion” occurred killing him instantly.

1_WidePhotoPhoenix Boy Scout Troop 109 has been caring and restoring Palace Station for more than 30 years! Troop projects have include repairing fences, installing the flagpole, clearing brush and improving the helipad. The Proper Function wishes to thank Troop 109 for helping preserve and protect this historic site!

This Proper Function
(Approximate Data)
Party Cloudy
2,315ftElevation 13.7hrsDistance From You
LocationPalace Station
State, RegionArizona,Central
Coordinates34.361303°, -112.386934°
DirectionsView on Google Maps
Time6 hrs


Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and founder of The Proper Function, an outdoor editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.