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A walk around Courthouse Plaza should be your first introduction to Prescott. The stately old courthouse in the middle of the tree-shaded plaza sets the tone for the whole town. The building, far too large for a small regional town such as this, dates from the days when Prescott was the capital of the Arizona territory. Under the big shade trees, you'll find several bronze statues of cowboys and soldiers.

Surrounding the courthouse and extending north for a block is Prescott's historic business district. Stroll around admiring the brick buildings, and you'll realize that Prescott was once a very important place. Duck into an old saloon or the lobby of one of the historic hotels, and you'll understand that the town was also part of the Wild West.

A Big Little Collection

Prescott is home to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and in the university library, you can marvel at the world's largest collection of miniature airplanes. The Kalusa Miniature Airplane Collection, which includes more than 5,500 hand-carved and hand-painted miniature airplanes, was created by John W. Kalusa over a period of more than 50 years. The planes are built to a scale of 1/18th inch to 1 foot. Many of the planes are barely an inch across, while others, such as Howard Hughes's famed "Spruce Goose," are much larger. You'll find the airplane collection in cases on the first and second floors of the Christine and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Library and Learning Center, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 3700 Willow Creek Rd. (tel. 928/777-3811; http://library.pr.erau.edu/collections/kalusa.php). Contact the library for current hours.

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