by Drew Desmond, contributing writer, Prescott Western Heritage Foundation, Inc.
He was eulogized as “the most important man in Prescott Valley history. His handprint is on every aspect of Prescott Valley and, indeed, the entire quad-city area.”
From the beginning, Bill Fain was taught to give to the community. His grandfather donated a full square mile of land for the Prescott Airport.
Bill’s grandfather went by “Dan” because he disliked his birth name. Ironically, motorists on Glassford Hill road are familiar with it: it was Granville.
“As a child, I probably was closer to my grandfather then to my dad,” Bill once revealed. His father, Norman, was serving in the state Senate and he was often away during Bill’s early years.
According to the book “The Fains of Lonesome Valley,” by Dean Smith: Even in high school Bill dreamed of developing a town on the Lonesome Valley range. “Someday this valley will have more people than Prescott,” he boldly predicted. While at the University of Arizona, he wrote a paper on how to develop the area. He read every book the university could provide on land development.
Robert Loos and Leonard Hoffman were hired and Prescott Valley, Inc. was founded to populate the new town. They took their pitch to the Midwest and Northeast. They offered a steak dinner and showed pictures of Prescott, the National Forest, area lakes and ranches. They were able to convince attendees to purchase property sight unseen, and sales were fairly brisk.
After visiting the new community and touring the area, dissatisfied owners were given the option “of trading their lots for a more desirable location or receiving a return of their payments. In some instances, these visitors not only approved of their purchase but bought additional lots,” Smith’s book relates.
Over the years, “Bill Fain was instrumental in donating land to Prescott Valley for many town projects and ventures. In fact, the Fain family has made contributions to the community since William and Cary Fain arrived in Arizona in 1874,” according to the Courier.
Besides the land for the airport, the Fain family also provided the land for Fain Lake and Park, (which includes the Fitzmaurice Ruins); the ACE Hardware Distribution Center; Bradshaw Mountain High School; the PV Civic Center, library and police station; the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post; a police shooting range; the Yavapai Regional Medical Center East Campus; and more. “We made the decision not to sell land for speculation. We sell it to the user,’ Bill once said. “It’s satisfying when people feel like (Prescott Valley) has become their home,” the paper reported.
A year before his passing, the census reported in 2016 that Prescott Valley had officially grown larger in population than her older sister Prescott. One of the youngest towns in Yavapai County had quickly grown to become its largest. Bill Fain was able to witness his prophecy come true.
Sources: The Prescott Daily Courier and “The Fains of Lonesome Valley” By Dean Smith.