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A Sedona Story

by: Editor on 6/24/2017

 

In 1862, Congress was worried over the lack of population in the Wild West, particularly in what’s now known as Sedona. By establishing the Homestead Act, 160 acres of land was given to those who agreed to occupy these lands and “use them productively.” As a result, a number of settlers moved west, but few had what it took to thrive in this particular region. However, when gold was struck in 1863 in Prescott, immediately the space was flooded with hopefuls. This kick started the separation of New Mexico and Arizona.

As settlers explored the area, they fell in love with it, but there was a problem: It was Apache land. Settlers asked for military protection, which brought Camp Lincoln (Fort Verde) to Arizona. Eventually, the settlers discovered they had chosen a rich land where the water, soil and climate was reliable. Orchards and gardens were planted, and cattle ranching began in earnest.

The New, New World

When the area held enough residents to get a post office, a town name was required. “Sedona” was the name of an early settler’s wife. By now, the town’s character was established. It was a farming, fruit-growing community with a smidge of ranching. Nobody got rich quick, and it was a struggle at times to make ends meet. The Sedona saying, “You can’t eat the rocks” is a nod to living in a gorgeous area but under tough circumstances.

Once Hollywood discovered Sedona in 1923, it became the go-to spot for Westerns. Money flowed into the town, and until post-WWII it somehow sustained its small town charm. Artists began to settle in Sedona, along with retirees, and by the 1970s the New Agers arrived. Today, Sedona is a playground, resort town, and a home to 3.5 million visitors each year.