Thousands of years before homes and box stores dotted the Prescott Valley landscape, lava flowed from a volcano on what is now Glassford Hill, mammoths roamed and prehistoric people hunted abundant wildlife.
Local historian Jean Cross explores the depths of the area's history in her new book, "Prescott Valley," published by Arcadia Press as part of a heritage series that looks at people and towns across the country called "Images of America."
Cross, who currently serves on Prescott Valley's Old Town Board Committee, fills a considerable portion of the book with photos and illustrations of Prescott Valley's frontier times, for much of which she purchased publication rights from the Sharlot Hall Museum archives.
"Prescott Valley has a very rich history. It began about 10 million years ago when Glassford Hill erupted, and then about 10,000 years ago, mammoth grazed this valley," Cross said, citing hikers, who in 1984, discovered bones and tusks sticking out of the bank of the Agua Fria Wash.
"Prehistoric people found the area to their liking since there was water, vegetation, pronghorn deer and plenty of food in the area."
Through years of researching the area and cultural history, Cross presents a perspective of early history depicting native people who lived a relatively peaceful existence until the mid-1800s, when miners flooded into the area after the discovery of gold in the Bradshaw Mountains.
Much of other portions of the book concern the development ensuing in the mid-1900s beginning with Ned Warren who traveled the country wooing investors with steak dinners and promising amenities that were actually in Prescott, 10 miles away.
"They did not show Lonesome Valley, so when people came, they were a little bit surprised they had bought property in the valley. However, they seemed to be pleased with it. The community finally started to build," she said.
Cross also looks at the ranchers that ran the cattle industry in the area and the Prescott & Eastern Railroad that ran through the valley to neighboring towns and the mines in the Bradshaw Mountains.
Other stories touch on Sharlot Hall's childhood in Orchard Ranch and the mining activity at Lynx Creek.
Cross retired in Arizona in 1980 from a lifelong career in New York as an educator.
A volunteer with the Sharlot Hall Museum for 25 years, she also served as the educational director of the Arizona Archaeological Society for two years; Prescott Art Docents training director for nine years; board member of the Yavapai Trails Society for five years; and Sharlot Hall Museum board member for three years.
"Prescott Valley" is available at Barnes & Noble or through www.arcadiapublishing.com.