top of page

Dennis Gallagher, Longtime Prescott History Enthusiast, to Receive 2024 Elisabeth Ruffner Keystone Award for Community Leadership

The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona Preservation Foundation, and City of Prescott are pleased to announce that Dennis Gallagher of the Western Heritage Center in Prescott will be honored with the 2024 Elisabeth Ruffner Keystone Award for Community Leadership. The Keystone Award celebrates individuals whose efforts in commercial, political, philanthropic, artistic, planning, or advocacy fields have significantly contributed to the quality of life, sense of place, and appreciation of heritage in their communities.


Kathryn Leonard, State Historic Preservation Officer, remarked, “In construction, the keystone connects and stabilizes the whole, providing necessary support and strength. Similarly, our award recognizes community leaders whose motivation and passion have fostered the resources and connections necessary for preservation to thrive within their communities.”


Founded in 2012 by Dennis Gallagher, the mission of the Western Heritage Center (WHC) is to “preserve and promote the Prescott area’s western heritage through education, events, art, music, and projects that enhance its western lifestyle, making Prescott and Yavapai County unique and desirable places to live and visit.” To overcome initial funding challenges, Dennis designed a medallion for the Arizona Centennial, raising $15,000 to launch the project. The WHC has since hosted numerous fundraising events, established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and created a scholarship program that has awarded 22 $2,000 scholarships to graduating high school students.


In 2019, WHC acquired and remodeled a space on Whiskey Row to house exhibits from six regional preservation-related organizations, including the History of Yavapai Law Enforcement, Rough Riders, Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Phippen Museum, Sharlot Hall Museum, and Yavapai Cowbelles, along with a private collection of Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo memorabilia. Since its opening, WHC has added nearly 20 more exhibits and maintained free admission for all visitors, supported by fundraisers, private donors, mercantile sales, a few grants, and volunteers. WHC has welcomed 70,000 visitors from around the world since 2019.


Jim McPherson, Arizona Preservation Foundation Board President, stated, “The Keystone Award's namesake, Elisabeth Ruffner, was a tireless advocate for historic preservation who devoted her public life to enhancing her hometown of Prescott. She co-founded the Arizona Preservation Foundation in 1979. This award honors Arizonans who, like her, have made their homes better places, enhanced civic identity, and become indispensable keystones of their communities. Dennis Gallagher, our second Prescottonian recipient, endeavors to continue and expand the operations of the Western Heritage Center as a free resource to the community and state of Arizona.”


The Keystone Award is presented annually at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference to a standout individual from the host community, recognizing their achievements and celebrating their contributions alongside the communities they serve.


Prescott Mayor Phil Goode commented, “Dennis Gallagher’s long-term commitment to the preservation and celebration of our community’s western, historic heritage has been simply outstanding. His efforts to establish the Western Heritage Center on Prescott’s Whiskey Row have made it a recognized destination for both residents and visitors. Dennis is eminently worthy of receiving the Elisabeth Ruffner Keystone Award for his exceptional work.”


Local historian and author Bradley G. Courtney added, “Dennis Gallagher has done more to bring people together in the interest of Prescott's western culture than anyone I know. As a historian, I cannot thank him enough for all he has accomplished.”


The award ceremony honoring Mr. Gallagher will take place at the Opening Reception of the 2024 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Federal, located in the historic 1931 U.S. Post Office at 101 W. Goodwin St.


For More Information:

Jim McPherson

Arizona Preservation Foundation

109 views0 comments


Yorumlara kapatıldı.
bottom of page