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Author Archives: Susan Olberding

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‘…Going Sketching Now, Will Write Again Soon…’ (access required)

The above quote is from artist Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton in a letter to her mother in Philadelphia. Colton was among the Eastern born and trained artists who relocated to Arizona in the early 20th century to experience for themselves the surreal colors in the ever-changing panorama of Arizona landscapes, the native peoples, and regional uniqueness. Their painting canvases attempted to capture what they saw. Some stayed only briefly while others remained for their lifetimes.

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Locating Lowell (access required)

Locating Lowell <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Flagstaff was but 12 years old in 1894 and still struggling to exist, but the rough town became a topic of international attention when an eminent New Englander arrived to scout possible locations to establish an observatory. The opening of Lowell Observatory was the first of several major scientific organizations to locate in the town that was already well-known to scientists and explorers for its unique attributes.

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A forest by any other name (access required)

A forest by any other name <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

The July 3, 1908, edition of Flagstaff’s Coconino Sun announced: “The San Francisco Mtns and Grand Canyon(South) National Forests have been consolidated under the name of the Coconino Nation(al) Forest. While this will be confusing for a few years, it will greatly simplify the work of the Supervisor’s office.”

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Veit Springs: A Home on the Mountain (access required)

An early resident in the Flagstaff area was German Ludwig Veit (pronounced Wait) who homesteaded at 8,500 feet on a slope of Mt. Agassiz, one of the peaks of San Francisco Mountain. He received a patent to the 160-acre parcel in 1891. Two springs and a relatively flat area to farm prompted Veit to select the unlikely spot where he and his family lived for two decades. Their nearest human neighbors were five miles away in Hart Prairie or Fort Valley, many of whom were also of German descent. The property then became a bird study area and later, the Lamar Haines Memorial Environmental Study Area.

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Bringing Water to the South Rim (access required)

Common sense dictates that settlement near the south rim of the Grand Canyon should never have occurred, as the area lacks a permanent groundwater supply. As part of the Coconino Plateau, the rim slopes away from the canyon toward the southwest and precipitation drains away from the edge of the gorge. Yet the mystique and splendor of the Grand Canyon have always drawn adventurers and the curious, which ultimately led to the establishment of a community known as Grand Canyon Village.

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Healer of the Lonely Dell (access required)

On Christmas Day in 1871, Emma Batchelor Lee, her soon-to-be infamous husband, and six young children arrived at a desolate location next to the Colorado River in between Grand and Glen canyons that would become their new home. She originally called the site ‘Lonely Dell,’ but the area would become better known as Lee’s Ferry.

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Escaping from the Phoenix Indian School (access required)

Anglos moving into the Arizona Territory during the late 1800s believed that the Native Americans already there should be acclimated into Anglo culture. During that time, Indian boarding schools were built and native children were removed from their homes and placed into these schools. For one Hopi, however, going to the Phoenix Indian School was a choice he made reluctantly out of respect for his grandfather and because he believed he would find a book full of knowledge. But he didn’t stay long.

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