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Brief Sedona History      home


On our Pink Jeep camera safari

Click on photo to see other images
Bruce's visit to Palatki

Click here and there for music and web site!  

Did you know there are two places called, "Bedrock City," one located in Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, another in South Dakota?  
                                  Corel WordPerfect 8 Document
Wilma just gets the job done!
Fred always does things in a big way!
Waiting patiently to provide service!

Sedona History
The earliest writers have told us the Indians experienced Sedona's spirit and beauty long before recorded history. Undoubtedly, the Anasazi or "Ancient Ones" witnessed nature's powerful and awesome theatrical shows long before white men or Spaniards viewed electrical storms among the red cliffs or observed the forces of water rearranging boulders, shale, and vegetation.Today, net surfing gives an armchair traveler a colorful and readily accessible glimpse into the charms of the Red Rock Country and a city named Sedona.
The Red Rocks were purportedly millions of years in the making. When one observes a boulder appearing tenuously balanced above some new residence, there is a tendency to worry. What if it falls? However, if it has stayed there for the past few thousand years without movement, perhaps there is little cause to worry? One might trust it will remain so another hundred years or longer!!  
Read Experience Sedona Legends and Legacies by Kate Rulund-Thorne (now owner of Sedona Books and Music).  Kate writes, "Carved by wind, water, and geological upheaval, the lush gorge of Oak Creek Canyon and the red rock spires of Sedona have lured people since prehistoric times." I add, yes, cave wall writings and artifacts have been found that indicate man has been here 6,000 years or more.
I admire Kate's writings, but I also admire her personal strengths and character.
General Crook rounded up the last of the Apaches in 1876, forcing them to surrender and move to San Carlos Reservation. Shortly afterwards, Sedona's modern era probably began when the first white man, J. J. Thompson, settled at Indian Gardens, in Oak Creek Canyon. He had been hunting and discovered the clear fresh water there, and figured that made the land valuable. But by 1900, there were still only a few dozen families in Sedona.They were most likely farmers or ranchers.

When Carl Schnebly applied for the first post office, he submitted the names, Oak Creek Crossing and Schnebly Station, which were rejected. Fortunately, a shorter name was required; hence, the choice became Sedona, his wife's name.

The road from Prescott to Flagstaff was long in coming, beginning as a stagecoach trail. One can imagine the hardship of traveling a week from Sedona to Flagstaff over perilous, rough roads. It took a year (1901) for the Schnebly Hill Road to be constructed over a rough but scenic route. However, it must have seemed modern by previous comparisons.Today, it is still traveled by locals and tourists who wish to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Merry Go Round and Schnebly Hill visitas, albeit a dusty, bumpy trip. It is easy to understand why that location became a favorite for Hollywood moviemakers. On one of our first visits to Sedona, a Pink Jeep tour gave us an idea of what travel over bumpy roads might have been like!

There are two Sedona landmarks, which were created by men, but destined to be forever associated with the city and area of Sedona.The first is: Chapel of The Holy Cross, a church described as "a spiritual fortress," "rising like a shrine out of the desert." It was completed in 1956. The second is:Tlaquepaque, a 4 1/2 acre enclave of authentic-looking colonial Mexican buildings, with nature preserved.The architects built around the sycamores, cypress, and other trees.Tlaquepaque is a center for art, which is art in itself.  In December, its "Festival of Lights" celebrates the Christmas Season with candle lit luminaries spaced throughout the area.

When the archeologists discovered Palatki, most of us had never heard of it. When it was vandalized a few years ago, many of us wondered what we had been missing. Palatki is the "archaeological remains of native cultures that have inhabited the Verde Valley for at least the past 6000 years. Found here are cliff dwellings constructed by the Southern Sinagua people, who inhabited the area from about 650 A.D. to around 1300 A.D. Palatki (Hopi for 'red house') is home to one of these dwellings, sheltered in a Supai sandstone overhang." About Palatki tells us more. It is located near us. Time to give our 4-wheel drive truck some action. Here is more information: How to get to Palatki There is even a detailed map. And, please note that every third Sunday there is a special reason for visiting the site. As for those early inhabitants; Where Did They Go?

Sedona has become an artists' showcase and home for creative effort. Few homes do not exhibit works by one or more artists.The Cowboy Artists became a reality when it was founded over a few beers one night in 1965 in the Oak Creek Tavern of Sedona. Joe Beeler, one of its founders, lives and works in Sedona. It's rumored he continues to paint and sculpt in his Sedona studio. In 1987, Sedona was no longer a village with modest ambition. It had become a city with a plan for growth. However, along with the growth came problems with traffic, pollution, and sewer management!

In 1995, a sculpture of Sedona, the pioneer, was unveiled and dedicated, to stand in front of the new Sedona Library. Its artist, Susan Kliewer, created the work using Sedona's granddaughter, Lisa Schnebly Heidinger, as her model.

Today, Sedona has a popular radio station, KAZM ; and more recently, several cable television stations. A few years ago, Arnie Wolen started Sedona On Line, Inc., providing Internet service to those of us dreaming about a cheaper hookup to the Information Highway. A local phone call connection had been no more than a dream for most of us. Yes, Sedona is now a hub for travel in the Arizona scheme of things, on all its roads. Sedona Schnebly, the namesake, would be proud.

The Sedona Historical Society has made a significant contribution towards preserving the history of Sedona.The Heritage Museum's physical and Internet sites have much to share on the movies and movie-making that has occurred in Red Rock Country. They refer to "Sedona, the film capital," and "The golden age of western movies." The following site regarding Cathedral Rock and the debate going on whether or not to build a bridge near there has an interesting page on movie-making. I liked the list and information pertinent to those films. He even has a rating system!!


Here are links that either contribute to the Sedona story or whet the travel appetite to visit Arizona.   

Chamber of Commerce What better place to view photos and learn about the beautiful area known as Sedona?

City of Sedona Desert USA gives us a wonderful article on the area.

Corbis Picture Experience For beautiful digital photos of Arizona and/or Sedona, just do a search within the site. Can purchase for $3 each. Browse, if nothing else.

Prescott Frontier Days, the World's Oldest Rodeo June 29-July 7  Looks to have many new events scheduled for this year.

Sedona Genealogy Club  Local genealogy group that meets monthly on fourth Monday, at 1:30 p.m., at the Sedona meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Mormon Hill Road, off Brewer Road near the Y in Sedona. It does not have meetings in December or during the summer.  Wally Gray is the dedicated webmaster/club member who has brought the organization to the web. Contact him at:

Sedona Historical Society This link perhaps whets the appetite for more information on the history of Sedona.The organization deserves and needs our support, however. And--the museum is certainly well worth a physical visit.

Sedona On Line This is where we started with our web surfing.There was no local AOL phone number before Sedona On Line came on the scene to help us.They have much information on Sedona and links to almost anything you can think of related to our "Red Rock Country."  

Sharing our Links to the Past This is Wally Gray's personal web site, which has much information about genealogy and the Sedona area.

Western Fun  Blazin' M Ranch, 18 miles from Sedona, near Dead Horse Ranch State Park

White Snow, Red Rocks, an October 1997 article in the The Atlantic Monthly magazine, describes the author's visit to Sedona. A pretty and colorful word picture!