Flagstaff is at an elevation of 7,000 feet. It sits near the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic mountain range. The highest point in this mountain range is Humphreys Peak at 12,643 feet above sea level. This is the highest elevation in Arizona.
The city is located in the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. The annual snowfall is over 8 feet, making it a great winter skiing destination.
Before the arrival of the train, Flagstaff was little more than a campsite along a pioneer trail. The first permanent settlement was in 1876, when Thomas F. McMillan built a cabin at the base of Mars Hill on the west side of town. During the 1880s, Flagstaff began to grow, opening its first post office and attracting the railroad industry
In 1894, Andrew E. Douglass of Boston chose Flagstaff as the site for an astronomical observatory. Douglass placed the Lowell Observatory there in part because of the clear skies that good telescope viewing requires. In 1930 astronomer V.M. Slipher discovered the planet Pluto at Lowell Observatory. The observatory has stayed in the forefront of science, notably with its research in the area of bodies within the solar system such as near-Earth asteroids, and comets. In 2011, the Observatory was named one of “The World’s 100 Most Important Places” by TIME. The Lowell Observatory is a great place to visit while in Flagstaff.
Another place of interest is the Riordan Mansion. Built in 1904 for two Riordan families, Riordan Mansion is an impressive reminder of gracious living in a small, territorial logging town. The historic building is an Arizona treasure. It is a an example of Arts and Crafts style architecture featuring a rustic exterior of log-slab siding, volcanic stone arches, and hand-split wooden shingles. The expansive home has forty rooms, over 13,000 square-feet of living area, and servant’s quarters.
Flagstaff is centrally located to many natural and historic areas. Click HERE to discover the many wonders of Flagstaff and the surrounding area.