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History of Sedona

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A true oasis located right in the middle of Arizona desert, Sedona is a traveler’s paradise. In this area, you will find plenty of outdoor resorts, red rock formations, scenic landscapes, and fine dining. Not many of those coming to this small town right in the heart of Arizona know that the history of Sedona began many centuries ago…


Around 1300 A.D., the area near Sedona was home to the Yavapai and Apache tribes, who were skilled in hunting and farming. In 1876, the tribes were forcibly moved to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation located over 150 miles southeast. However, in the following decades about 200 people from the Yavapai and Apache tribes returned to the area.

In the late 20th century, 15 homesteading families lived in the area that would soon become Sedona. The official founding date of the town was June 26, 1902, when Sedona’s first postmaster Theodore Carlton Schnebly offered to name the place after his wife, Sedona Schnebly. By 1902, the population of the town was only 55 residents, mostly ranchers and farmers. The first residents of Sedona irrigated patches of ground to grow fruit and vegetables, particularly apples and peaches.

In the first quarter of the 20th century, Sedona was mostly a self-sufficient community, with households raising crops and cattle. The development (although slow) of Sedona’s transportation system opened up an opportunity for settlers to sell their agricultural products at the market.

From 1940s to 1970s, movie production companies used Sedona’s red rocks while shooting such classics as Angel and the Badman (1947), Blood on the Moon (1948), Johnny Guitar (1954), The Last Wagon (1956), and many other Hollywood movies. Interestingly enough, Sedona’s surroundings were generally used to depict the terrain of California, Texas, Nevada and other U.S. states.

Since the 1960s, Sedona started to develop as a destination for tourists and retirees, who were coming to the town in large numbers, thus resulting in the steady growth of Sedona. Its crimson sandstone formations, pleasant temperatures all the year round, and scenic red rocks were some of the features that made this small town recognized not only in Arizona, but also worldwide.

Today Sedona is home to 10,000 residents and a destination for an astonishing 3 million tourists who come to enjoy the Sedona’s natural wonders each year.