Flagstaff and Vicinity

"A lofty pine stripped of its branches and used to hang an American flag with rawhide strings for a Fourth of July celebration, the flagstaff, became a symbol for the valley and could be spotted miles away. It was said that those journeying west were told to travel straight west, until you come to a flagstaff where you will find a good place to camp.

In 1876 Thomas F. McMillan arrived and set up his home near a spring. He is recognized as being the town's first permanent settler by building a cabin at the base of Mars Hill.

Then in 1881, the first post office opened and the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad barreled into town. The Santa Fe Railroad followed soon after, building a spur from Williams to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Fred Harvey, an enterprising young Englishman, was hired by the Santa Fe to handle all of their concessions along the way and Harvey House restaurants burst onto the scene. Flagstaff began to grow.

W.W. Ayers started a lumber company whose first job was supplying railroad ties to both the A&P Railroad and Santa Fe.  The town had timber, sheep, horses and cattle and by 1886 Flagstaff was the biggest city on the main line between Albuquerque and the Pacific coast.

By 1891, Flagstaff had grown to 1,500 and Coconino County was established. The county soon became the second largest county seat in the United States. The famous Lowell Observatory was built in 1894. Dr. Percival Lowell chose Flagstaff for its great visibility. This proved to be correct when the planet Pluto was discovered at the observatory in 1930.

In 1898, Dr. Jesse Fewkes, called the Father of Archaeology in the Southwest, of Smithsonian fame, came to Flagstaff to investigate Elden Springs ruins, Wupatki and Black Mesa communities of Oraibi and Walpi.   A prolific writer, Dr. Fewkes many books and articles regarding his discovers and  explorations including Prehistoric Hopi Pottery Designs, a detailed analysis of pottery designs found at Sityaki at Black Mesa, the Hopi Reservation, east of Flagstaff.

The Arizona Teachers College began in 1899, becoming Northern Arizona University in 1966. During the 1920's, Route 66 was built and passed right through town making Flagstaff a popular tourist stop. Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928 with the help of Route 66 tourism dollars.  NAU offers  internationally recognized in geology, archaeology and earth sciences. With nearly 60,000 citizens, Flagstaff continues to grow today.

Visitors enjoy:

Northern Arizona University Musuem on Hwy 180.  Natural history: life-sized Dilophosaurus, geology, Native American history displays.

The Lowell Observatory Wonderful observatory.  Pluto was discovered here in 1930.

The Pioneer Museum

The downtown historic district.  Located on Historic Route 66 and San Francisco St.


Sunset Crater

Hiking trails

Lava tube exploration.  Walk into the "bowels" of an extinct volcano.  Located south of Hwy. 180.

Wupatki Ruins

Elden Springs Ruin (no website).

Riordan Mansion (no website)



Map of Arizona.jpg (55174 bytes)

Map of Arizona


The rez.jpg (39886 bytes)

Map of the reservations and Four Corners 


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