History of Sedona, Sedona
Favorite thing: The town of SEDONA was named for the wife of T. Carl Schnebly, who came to this area when there were only five other families. One of these families was headed by his brother, who later became a local schoolteacher. Carl and his wife, Sedona, built a wooden home that was the only one in this area large enough to accommodate visitors. Many guests always stayed at the Schneblys' home. Sedona, the town, got its name when the Schnebly family was living in its wooden house on the site of what is now Los Abrigados Resort. When Carl wanted to establish a post office, he submitted two names to the government - Schnebly Station and Oak Creek Crossing. Both were deemed too long for a cancellation stamp. Carl's brother suggested the post office be named after Sedona and Carl liked the idea of naming this community after the woman he loved.
The Rocks in Red Rock Country are very old. The ones we are looking at are probably about 275 million years old. When you are looking at those rocks, you are also looking at the sediment deposition, layer from layer, millions of years back!
There are about four period layers of the rocks in Sedona. At the bottom is the Paleozoic period, then the Mesozoic Period; followed by the Cenozoic Period and the Era Period.
Each layer of the rocks in Sedona was deposited in its own geologic era. Some layers were deposited in shallow areas, some in river deltas and flood plains. Some of those red rocks' layers were hardened sand dunes!
Get a cake and cut it. At the bottom of the cake is chocolate. In Sedona, the bottom of the rock is actually formed during the Paleozoic period. During this era, fishes dominated the oceans and plants and amphibians wer just starting to live on land.
During the Paleozoic Period, these were formed: the redwall limestone. You will find this at the very bottom. Then sandstone. Then Watahomigi formation, etc.
At this era, T. Rex had not even evolved yet.
When we go visit Sedona, we are actually visiting and looking at a formation of the rocks that stood in time - about 275 million years old!
The paleo-Indians came to Sedona 8000 years ago through the natural land bridges which connected North America to Ancient Asia - this is the currently accepted theory.
In 700 AD, the Hohokam Indians arrived and introduced irrigation to the area. You also hear of the Hohokams in the Greater Phoenix area, but they mysteriously disappeared.
Then, the Sinaguan Indians arrived and you still see the reconstructed remnants of their abodes at the Tuzigoot Monument. Can you guess what Sinagua means? Sin Agua --- No Water, meaning that these farmers relied only on rain for water! But there was a volcanic eruption in 1066 which created the Sunset Crater and led to the demise of the Sinaguans in the area.
But as with any volcanic soil, the ground becomes fertile and another group of Indians arrived called the Anasazi or "ancient ones" - and they built the multi-storied pueblos that you can still see today...
The first settler in this area was J.J. Thompson who, under the 1862 Homestead Act, took "squatters" rights to land across from what today is the Indian Gardens store. He found the Indians's deserted gardens and a great natural spring so he built a cabin and called it Indian Gardens.
Others followed Thompson, building their own cabins and raising horses and cattle. One of these men was a farmer named Frank Pendley who is credited with engineering an innovative irrigation system, and it's still used at Slide Rock State Park (site of his early homestead!)
Fondest memory: Then, in about 1876, Beaver Head Stage Station was built 12 miles south of what we now know as Sedona. Once the stage station was established, the population of this area grew and grew.
Today, Sedona seems larger than it really is because of the vast numbers of tourist who visit each year. But, no matter how crowded it is, the natural beauty of Sedona and the surrounding area rises above all the commotion.