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Flagstaff History: Plane crash on Forest Service land left 5 dead
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Flagstaff History: Plane crash on Forest Service land left 5 dead

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Flagstaff History

125 years ago

1896: The Wilcox Stable, the town jail and a dozen frame buildings burned Wednesday. It is thought that the fire originated in the rear of the Hop Sing Laundry. The cries of the three imprisoned men at the jail brought out a crowd. But the bravery of strong men resulted in all prisoners narrowly escaping. Fortunately, the stables were vacant. Fire Chief Bush singed his hair and mustache. The Arizona Lumber and Tinder Company sent their water tank to the fire in time to do good service.

The Western Union Telegraph Company has completed their line to Prescott and will open that line on Thursday. The rate for 10 words from Flagstaff will be 25 cents.

George Hanlon caught his foot in the railing at the end of the bar in the Parlor Exchange and fell to the floor, breaking his leg. Dr. Brannen set the broken limb.

100 years ago

1921: “Flagstaff, at the top in altitude, business, and opportunity” coined by M. L. Nichols is the wining slogan in the Dresswell Shop’s contest. The Chamber of Commerce, however, said the slogan was not appropriate for the official one and has therefore appointed a committee to study the issue.

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Flagstaff Mayor S. F. Quay spoke warmly of the Switzer Lake and dam proposal at the Chamber of Commerce meeting Friday, saying he believes the city council looks with favor on the plan but doesn’t want to take any steps toward building the lake without first getting the endorsement of the taxpayers.

While a westbound passenger train was standing at the depot the other day, the fireman who had just filled the engine tank with water slipped and fell into the tank. He was splashing around trying not to drown when the engineer called out loud and clear for all to hear, “You’ve got enough; you don’t have to tramp it down.”

More news from the depot as an old lady was buying a ticket for Cooley. “Change at Holbrook,” said the engineer as he handed her the ticket and took a $50 bill from her. “None of them tricks, my lad,” returned the old lady. “I want my change right here before I get into that there train.”

50 years ago

1971: Only smoldering wreckage remains of a twin-engine private plane that crashed late Friday near the Flagstaff Airport. Five people lost their lives in the crash of the plane, which had just taken off from the airport before veering left and crashing into Forest Service land.

Blackened trees, the result of the 3,500-acre Kelly Fire, emphasize the reason for a partial closure of the Coconino National Forest. The Coconino National Forest has recorded almost 30 fires this season.

25 years ago

1996: Already this season the Forest Service has had 34 forest fires in the Coconino National Forest that has caused it to bring in the Hot Shot Fire Team much earlier than is usual. This had caught everyone off guard, according to Jim Bedlion of the Peaks Fire District. All the national forests in both Arizona and in New Mexico are very dry and have called in their summer crews. The usual peak date is June 20, but this year it is expected to be 30 to 40 days earlier.

All events were taken from issues of the Arizona Daily Sun and its predecessors, the Coconino Weekly Sun and the Coconino Sun.

Bruce Carl Ertmann assisted with compiling this week's events.


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“David Babbitt and brother, of Cincinnati, are visiting Flagstaff. These gentlemen are here for the purpose of visiting and inspecting cattle ranges with a view of purchasing.” That was the short news bulletin published on April 10, 1886 in the Coconino Sun, the weekly predecessor to the Arizona Daily Sun.

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