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All About the History of Sedona

HomeAbout SedonaAll About the History of Sedona

Although Sedona is a popular tourist destination now, it wasn’t always that way. The history of Sedona is colorful and available to explore. Read on to learn a little bit about the beginnings of Sedona!

A Glimpse into Sedona’s Past

Sedona’s story actually begins over in Oak Creek Canyon, rather than the area we know as Sedona today. The first Anglo settler to head out that way was J.J. Thompson, who claimed property using the 1862 Homestead Act. In 1876, J.J. Thompson took a chunk of land that’s right across from the Indian Gardens Store, which is still in operation to this day.

Having found some deserted gardens left behind by Native Americans and a healthy spring, he was able to survive off the land and built a log cabin for shelter. This success story spread word fast, and it brought out plenty of other settlers who would use the area to raise cattle and horses and begin setting up the irrigation process for farming.

Farming became such a smashing success in the area that apples and pears grown in the area were being brought to nearby towns like Jerome and Cottonwood for sale. Frank Pendley designed this irrigation system, and it is still in use to this day at the Slide Rock State Park.

In the coming years, multiple other notable residents would continue growing the town into the successful tourist destination that we know today. As early as 1895, experts were predicting that Sedona’s future success as a travel destination was a sure thing, and it turns out they were right.

Right around the 1950s, Sedona finally hit its stride, bringing in retirees and vacation home owners to fill out the town. Today, much of the buildings you see in town were constructed in the 80s or 90s, and there hasn’t been any large chunks of undeveloped land available for purchase for quite some time.

Historical Attractions

A 70-foot-tall chapel known as the Chapel of the Holy Cross was officially erected right into a red rock cliff. It’s still in use to this day, and many people who pass through stop by to see the magnificent construction.

There are some famous cliff dwelling sites that you absolutely have to see at least once if you’re passing through the area. Known as Palatki and Honanki, they are the largest cliff dwellings of the Red Rock Country, having been in use from roughly 1150 – 1350 AD. In fact, these were mentioned by an old archaeologist in the 1800s as a big reason why Sedona would eventually have its tourism boom. The sites are open for visits seven days a week, so check them out while you’re in town.

Come Witness Sedona History for Yourself

There’s much more for you to see. Sedona might not have thousands of years of history behind it, but its rapid development has led to plenty of Sedona history worth seeing. While you’re learning about the town, you’ll have a great vacation home to return to when you book with I Love Sedona. Get in touch with us today and we’ll get your Sedona trip started on the right foot.