Downwinders Information & Resources

The term “Downwinder” refers to a person suffering from cancer and other illnesses resulting from nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site downwind from this area. These above-ground nuclear tests took place during the Cold War from 1951-1962, even though nuclear testing was officially halted in 1958 under an agreement signed by the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Fallout carried by winds contaminated residents in counties of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

After 1962, many test site workers and local citizens filed class action lawsuits alleging exposure to radiation, but these suits were dismissed by the courts. In October 1990, Congress enacted the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which today provides monetary compensation to people who developed certain cancers as a result of radiation exposure. Downwind-eligible counties in Arizona including Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave (located above the Grand Canyon), Navajo, and Yavapai.

The Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives holds Downwinder residency information Yavapai County.

Please review Downwinder eligibility here at North Country HealthCare, and visit the Department of Justice Radiation Exposure Compensation Program here, or call (800) 729-7327 for an application and more information.  Unless renewed by Congress, RECA expires on July 9, 2022. All Downwinder claims must be submitted before this date.

Additional information about the history of the Downwinder program in Yavapai County is available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Days Past archive here.

Resources & Records at the Sharlot Hall Museum Library & Archives

City Directories:
  • April 1951 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • October 1951 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • August 1952 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • Summer 1953 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • 1953-1954 City Directory – Complete listing for Prescott and vicinity including Ash Fork, Bagdad, Beaver Creek, Camp Verde, Camp Wood, Castle Hot Springs, Cherry, Childs, Constellation, Cottonwood, Chino, Clarkdale, Cleator, Congress Junction, Crown King, Groom Creek, Hillside, Humboldt, Jerome, Kirkland, Mayer, Oak Creek, Red Rock, Rincon, Rock Springs, Seligman, Skull Valley, Wagoner, Walnut Creek, Walnut Grove, and Yarnell.
  • Summer 1954 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • May 1955 – Prescott and Humboldt (may include other towns in the area in the Prescott listing)
  • July 1956 – Prescott and Vicinity includes Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer (Humboldt also lists Cleator, Cordes, Crown King, Dewey, and Poland Junction) (other communities may be included in the Prescott listing)
  • June 1957 – Prescott and Vicinity – includes Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer (Humboldt also lists Cleator, Cordes, Crown King, Dewey, and Poland Junction) (other communities may be included in the Prescott listing)
  • July 1958 – Prescott and Vicinity – includes Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer (Humboldt also lists Cleator, Cordes, Crown King, Dewey, and Poland Junction) (other communities may be included in the Prescott listing)
  • 1961 Prescott City Directory and Cosmopolitan Telephone Directory – includes Prescott, Chino Valley, Paulden, Humboldt, Dewey, Mayer, Skull Valley, Kirkland, Hillside, and Bagdad, including Rural and Star Routes (only useful when coupled with evidence from July 1962)
  • July 1962 – Prescott and Vicinity – includes Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer (Humboldt also lists Cleator, Cordes, Crown King, Dewey, and Poland Junction) (other communities may be included in the Prescott listing)
  • January 1963 – Prescott Criss-Cross Directory – includes Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt & Mayer (only useful when coupled with evidence from July 1962)
School Yearbooks:
  • Prescott High School (Hassayamper)
    1951-1958, 1961-1963
  • Saint Joseph’s Academy
    1957-1959, 1961 & 1962
  • Seligman High School
    1953-1958 & 1962

School Records:

  • Yavapai County Student Records
    “Permanent Record Cards”
  • K-9th grade (usually does not include Prescott) 1951-1958, 1962

Other Records:

St. Luke’s Episcopal Parish Records

Marriage Records

Funeral Records
1951-1958, 1962

Prescott Precinct Civil and Criminal Dockets
1951-1958, July 1962 (Indexed by ledger)

Local Newspapers:

Prescott Courier Newspapers
(Only searchable with specific month and year)

Chino Valley Shopper Newspaper
July 1962

Other Resources (Non-Sharlot Hall Museum)

Here is a list of places and websites, other than Sharlot Hall Museum, that may assist a “Downwinder” in obtaining records and documentation to go with an application.

  • NORTH COUNTRY HEALTH CARE [Located in Flagstaff]
    website
    Phone: (928) 774-6299
    Radiation exposure screening & education program
  • YAVAPAI COUNTY RECORDERS OFFICE
    website

    Phone: (928) 771-3244
    Title and Deed Records & Voter Registration Records
  • NORTHERN ARIZONA VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER
    (formerly Whipple Veterans Hospital and Prescott VA Center)

    website
    Phone: Local Phone: (928) 445-4860
    Toll Free: 1-800-949-1005
    FAX (928) 776-6076

    Ask for Release of Information Clerk
    Some hospital records (“Perpetualized Records”)
  • PRESCOTT HIGH SCHOOL
    website
    Phone: (928) 445-2322
    High School Student Records
  • JEROME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
    website
    Phone: (928) 634-7349
    Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, and Jerome telephone directories

    Jerome High School Yearbooks
    Water Users list 1958
  • ARIZONA STATE ARCHIVES
    website
    Phone: (602) 542-4159
    Property Tax Records — 1951-1959, but not for 1962
    School Registers for Yavapai County (NOT City of Prescott)
  • ARIZONA OFFICE OF VITAL RECORDS
    website

    Phone: (602) 364-1300
    Birth and Death records
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS HISTORY GROUP, INC.
    website

    Phone: (303) 296-1221
    Has some directories that the Sharlot Hall Museum does not have.
WordPress Lightbox