Around 25 miles southwest of Prescott, Arizona, sits a tiny community of Kirkland. This “unincorporated” community does have a post office along with the Kirkland Bar & Steakhouse Hotel. On October 1, 1998, the store and hotel’s building was put on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kirkland was named after William H. Kirkland who came to the valley in 1863 with his wife Missouri and children. William was a farmer and was the first to raise barley from the grounds of Yavapai County. He was also a miner and with his 16 horses and workers of approximately 30 men, he found many nuggets of gold. Five years after moving to the valley which now bears their name, Kirkland moved his family to Phoenix.
Sometime in the 1880’s, the Rudy family moved to Kirkland and built a place where stagecoaches can stop and the weary riders can rest. In 1894, Thomas Earnhart built a store where the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse now stand. This store not only sold merchandise for all the miners and ranchers living in the area, but also served as a post office.
There are many stories about the bar and steakhouse about it being haunted. Some say the ghost of Mary wanders around the place. Who is Mary, no one seems to know. My friend took many pictures inside the bar; saw the flash go off and the picture on the camera’s screen. However, when she got home, all the pictures were blank. Hum, she was curious and went back to the bar. After taking many pictures again, all were blank except one. This picture had a ghostly figure of a woman on it.
The mystery of Mary and the blank photos is only one story I heard about the bar. Apparently in the basement is a safe built in the walls and a tunnel leading to the post office next door. The safe has never been opened no matter how many have tried to crack it. They even brought the best safe-crackers in, but none of them could access it. Some say the ghost of Mary is protecting whatever is inside and will never allow it to be opened.
The underground tunnels lead from the bar to the post office. The tunnels were used by soiled doves to hide from the law. Whenever the sheriff raided the place, the women would evade the law and run into the tunnels to hide in the post office. The tunnels are still there, but filled in.
I told Sharon about the bar, its ghost stories, and she wants to visit it. We want to get the straight story about the ghosts and the mysterious safe in the basement. We are planning another trip to Vulture Mine and then to Prescott. Since Kirkland between the two places, we will definitely stop there. I will do a post on our findings.