Sedona is a community steeped in history and culture.
The stunning crimson sandstone cliffs and spires were at one time under water. Roughly 300 million years ago the ocean receded which was followed by centuries of wind, erosion and oxidation, leading to the formation of the beautiful rocks we see today.
The temperate Sedona weather and beautiful scenery inspired people to settle this land thousands of years ago, in fact numerous Native American tribes have inhabited the area throughout history. In fact many ruins still exist today bearing evidence of people who once called this place home.
1900 to 1920
Settlers first began moving to modern day Sedona around the turn of the 20th century. The Schneblys, one of the prominent families in the area, built the first hotel and general store. T.C. Schnebly and wife Sedona also organized the first post office and submitted names for consideration. The Postmaster General in Washington, DC felt that the names Oak Creek Crossing and Schnebly Station had too many letters. Ellsworth Schnebly, TC’s brother, then suggested naming the post office Sedona and the rest was history.
In the coming years a thriving orchard industry emerge, apples and peaches primarily, planted and cultivated by industrious Sedona pioneers. Water from Oak Creek was used to irrigate the land and “orcharding” became an integral part of Sedona’s economy.
1920 to 1950
Popular Western novelist Zane Grey wrote his most famous book, Call of the Canyon, in the heart of Oak Creek Canyon. The publishing of this book became a defining moment in the history of Sedona. When the novel became a screenplay the film was shot in Sedona. The beauty of Oak Creek and the incredible Sedona weather began to attract attention from Hollywood. For three decades Sedona hosted some of the most famous film stars of the time including: Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Robert Young, Hopalong Cassidy, Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford, Glenn Ford, Tyrone Power, Rock Hudson, Donna Reed, and hundreds of others. Many of the streets are named after the films that were shot here.
1950 to 1970
Secluded getaways like Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge, Forest Houses Resort and Don Hoel’s Cabins proved to be popular spots for writers, actors and visitors. Tourists began to realize that the dramatic landscape and beautiful Sedona weather provided opportunities for year-round recreation; placing Sedona on the map as a vacation destination. The creation of the Sedona Arts Center in 1958 positioned Sedona as an important arts center in the years to come and the Chapel of the Holy Cross (1956) initiated a spiritual pilgrimage for generations of visitors.
1970 to 1990
Sedona became a popular spot for snowbirds looking to experience the beautiful Sedona weather, picturesque scenery and fresh desert air. Vacations homes, resorts, hotels, motels and restaurants began emerge as the demand grew. Sedona became known as a metaphysical and healing destination. Psychics, UFO trackers, healers, body workers, New Age gurus and all manner of alternative medical practices began to converge and thrive in Sedona. Free thinkers, rugged individualists, churchgoers and full moon drummers were all able to coexist in the beauty of Sedona.
1990 to the Present
In the 1990′s Sedona began to attract families and those seeking a greater quality of. With the advent of the Internet and flexible working conditions, more and more people indentified Sedona as a great place to raise a family. By the late 90′s developers, business owners, ex-corporate execs, artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers began flocking to Sedona to start their lives here. Zacki Gordon Institute for digital filmmaking was established, the only one of its kind in the country. The Sedona International Film Festival, now in its thirteenth year, is flourishing, and Canyon Moon Theater comes into its own. Sedona has been endowed with a real sense of community as it continues to grow, change and become a center for tourism and recreation.