Flagstaff History


1894: The Harvard University Observatory will be located on the spur of the San Francisco Mountain. The Tucson papers are chewing dobies over this unexpected development and talking about Flagstaff's inconsistent weather. All the same, Dr. Lowell and his telescopes are here in Flagstaff.

The railroad returns for 1893 show the mines of Arizona and New Mexico paid more money to the Santa Fe Railroad than did the grain products of Oklahoma and Kansas combined.

Sam Houston of Houston Bros. at Tonto Basin was shot and killed by accident last week while roping a horse. As he took a turn of the rope on his saddle horn, the rope caught the handle of his pistol which he carried in front of him. The gun was discharged with the ball entering his groin. He was found lying on his back in the hot sun Friday about noon and died the following night.

Wool is dull, although receipts are steadily increasing in the Chicago Market. Wool skins are pretty well sold out!

The United States Grand Jury at Prescott examined 17 cases of selling and disposing ardent spirits to Indians and returned true bills in 14 of those cases.

It was only 100 degrees in Phoenix last week and the papers of that city are commenting on the delightful cool summer weather. If 100 degrees in the shade is cool, what do Phoenicians term as hot?

This week we have moved our dry goods department into our new corner room. We have lots of new goods and more are coming. We’ll soon have the finest assortment in the territory with prices suited to current hard times. Come on in and make your selections. -- Babbitt Bros.

J. W. Weatherford. Staple and Fancy - Gents Furnishings. Our Merchant Taylor Mr. Brockman is a thorough workman and all work is guaranteed to be satisfactory or no charge. Call on us in Flagstaff, Arizona.


1919: The total tax collection in Coconino County will be the largest ever at approximately $21,000,000 thanks to the efforts of the assessor’s office careful valuation of real property in the county. The report has been passed along to the Board of Supervisors acting as the Board of Equalization as is required by law.

The move to improve the loop in Schultz Pass Road has come along splendidly and by Sunday will be in good shape. It has been passable for some time and will now be in fine shape for a pleasant evening drive. H. B. White and J. B. Francis gave much of the time to raise the volunteer funds that have made this work possible.

The permanent organization of an auto club will be the next step in keeping the adjacent roads in enjoyable condition. An impromptu barbecue is planned as soon as the road is entirely completed.

County attorney George Hibben was notified on Wednesday afternoon of the finding to two quarts of whiskey in a crate of oranges in Williams. The crate was consigned to a Williams’ citizen who had recently died. His daughter told a friend that since she had no use for the fruit, if the friend would pay the express charge then she could have it. The friend paid the charge, unpacked the crate, found the liquid and informed the authorities.

The local Forest Service office has fought about 75 fires so far this season. That’s a little above average. They are having difficulty in finding men suitable for the work.

Dolph Willard, one of the earliest settlers in the area, was up from Lower Oak Creek this week and says there has never been a better prospect for good crops of all kinds than ever before.

The local office of the Western Union will not be affected by the strike of Western Operators Union called on Wednesday. Mrs. McPherson and Capt. E. M. Robertson, while both are empathetic with the union, will have no part of it. They are not members and feel the grievances are too slight to be worth a strike.

At Monday’s city council meeting meeting, City Engineer J. B. Wright was instructed to prepare an ordinance with standard instructions for street and alley crossings.

Fire Chief Jack Wilson recommended to the City Council that a special fire alarm phone be placed in the Light Company office so that when a fire call comes in to central, it can immediately set the fire whistle on. It was immediately approved.


1969: On Monday a fire broke out in a ravine in north western Flagstaff just beyond Savannah Way. It happened about lunch time, brought residents into the streets and slowed the traffic on Fort Valley Road to a slow down as people saw what was happening.

There were three aircraft: a converted World War II B-17 bomber that dumped a colorful chemical slurry mixture while making two “bomber runs” on the blaze, a T-34 Lead or “Spotter Plane” and a helicopter. The bomber carries 1,000 gallons of the mixture which is made up of ammonia and fertilizer which creates a brilliant rust color. The spotter plane dives down into the smoke and then circles, giving the bomber a lead to the location of the blaze. The bomber has four doors, so it can make four drops separately or dump all at once.

The aircraft are based in Winslow as a part of five firefighting groups placed throughout Arizona and New Mexico.

This close fire gives us a reminder of the high forest fire danger at this present time and a reminder to take care when out in the forest.

City police report that a person or persons unknown kicked in the door of the Coconino High School gym and turned on all the stadium lights. They remain in the dark as to who the culprits are.

Some 680 acres of state land located within Flagstaff's city limits were sold recently in public auction for a total of $245,500, an average of $351 per acre. The land is located just adjacent to the north and south of the city sewer plant, and near the proposed secondary Highway 354 which will link Flagstaff’s Fourth Street extension and the Butler Avenue interchange with Lake Mary Road.

City Council has approved the purchase of a new four-wheel drive Emergency Ambulance that will double as a rescue unit for the fire department.

Fire Chief Don Vorhees told the council it should cost about $8,500 and could provide such emergency services as oxygen supplies and rescue equipment. The new ambulance will replace the 1957 station wagon purchase with the help of city residents and businesses which “conked out” a couple of weeks ago.

In the meantime, negotiations are going forward with with the Flagstaff Mortuary for the use of a 1961 ambulance to be used as needed until the new ambulance arrives.

The council also gave permission to policewoman Nancy Burnett to apply for a joint City-Fedeal Grant to pay her $300 a month to finance her speaking activities about drug abuse and hippies.

The council also approved the construction of turn lanes on Santa Fe Avenue to improve access to the university and to northern parts of the city.

Police are still investigating the continuing episodes of damage being caused to windows of businesses trucks and cars by pellet guns, BBs, rocks and sling shots. Anyone observing suspicious goings-on are requested to call the city's Crime Stop Line.

The Valley Bank is developing a new banking facility a block from its main office in downtown Flagstaff. It will provide drive-through service, more walk-up teller windows and much needed increased parking.


1994: It may not be "The Greatest Show on Earth," but for family entertainment The Bentley Bros. Circus is hard to top. You’ll see acrobats in sequined suits, jugglers with flaming batons and human cannon balls. Jalopy riding clowns and tightrope walking dogs. Go to Fort Tuthill Thursday evening -- 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to see this event sponsored by the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 13. Tickets - $9.50 for adults $5.50 for children.

The FUSD budget for the coming year is looking at $60 million. This is down about a million dollars from last year partly due to the state failing to grant the expected increase of 2.5 for inflation last year and this year's only 2% against another 2.5% inflation, as well as a state request for a return of $650,000 due to changes in the state retirement program. Several programs will be cut back as result of this failure of the state to act as required.

The downtown renovation project contractor is near to completing the first phase of construction. There will be an overlap of projects as the second phase begins so expect additional parking problems this coming week. All businesses are open, so please support them through this difficult time.

Riordan Mansion Melodrama and Vaudeville Review. Every evening at 6 p.m., June 8 through June 12. Enjoy a box supper followed by the review. $15 admission.

The city seems to be stuck with a lot of unpaid bills. Many from neglected utility bills and others from companies gone bankrupt. The largest is from S & M Contraction Co. whom the city hired to complete some street projects.

So far, all the proposal for the old site of the Empress Theater have failed to come into fruition. It remains a useful parking lot and the City Council is again considering other options.

Orchid Paper Products is investigating to discover the source of the eggy, fish-like smell we’ve been noticing coming from the company’s plant on Butler Avenue.

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