Living in Flagstaff, Arizona
Nestled at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff is a vibrant university town at 7,000 ft. It is a destination for people from all over the world looking to experience four seasons in a pristine mountain setting. It is located about two hours north of Phoenix, one hour from the Grand Canyon and 35 minutes from Sedona. In addition to an active lifestyle, Flagstaff residents and visitors enjoy many local restaurants, shops and breweries, a thriving art community, and a historic downtown. In 2015, Flagstaff was named #7 Best Place to Live by Outside Magazine.
Photos courtesy Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau
The area of what is now Flagstaff was along an old wagon road to California. In 1876 a group of travelers to the region stripped a tall ponderosa pine of its bark to create a flagpole to celebrate the Centennial of the United States on July 4, 1876. This flagpole remained a landmark in the region for years to come, and gave its name to the settlement when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came through in 1882. The early economy depended on the railroad, ranching and lumber industries.
The Northern Arizona Normal School was established as a teacher’s college in 1899 and today is Northern Arizona University (NAU), a vibrant institution of over 27,000 students. Route 66, “The Mother Road,” helped put Flagstaff on the tourist map as automobile travel became popular in the 20th century.
Today several mom-and-pop motels survive along Historic Route 66 and provide a nostalgic glimpse back toward the 1940s-60s when people got their kicks on Route 66.
Lowell Observatory was where Pluto was discovered in 1930. Flagstaff was designated the world’s first “International Dark Sky City” in 2001 in acknowledgement of the city’s commitment to, and success in, implementing the ideals of dark sky preservation. Flagstaff is called the “City of Seven Wonders” because it is surrounded by the Coconino National Forest and is near the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater National Monument and the San Francisco Peaks.