Sedona History

A Brief History of Sedona

The community of Sedona, AZ, sits 120 miles north of Phoenix and 30 miles south of Flagstaff in the heart of red rock country.

The history of Sedona goes back to the hunter-gatherers of 4000BC, but it was not until between 900 and 1350AD when native bands began building pueblos and cliff houses, some of which are still well preserved today. The builders moved on by 1400AD and the Spanish arrived in 1583 to search for gold, but they found only copper. The area was in the hands of Spain until Mexico gained it’s independence in 1821, and in 1848 the Arizona Territory became part of the United States.

The first Anglo settler to the area came in 1876. Over the next few years, more arrived and lived a precarious existence. They were hunting, fishing and farming a few acres to keep food on the table. By the turn of the century, more than a dozen homesteading families called the area home, and the name “Sedona” was registered by the Postmaster General in Washington.

For the first three decades of the 20th century, more and more homesteading families came to Sedona. They were growing fruits and vegetables and some even made wine, irrigating water from Oak Creek. Most homesteads had fowl both for the table and to sell. Cattle provided beef and dairy products.

The housing boom began after WWII when the discovery of a groundwater aquifer under West Sedona opened the way for several new housing developments. Retirees became attracted to the area, and other new residents came for the spiritual and reflective atmosphere of the red rocks and surrounding mountains and desert. Over the 20 years from 1970 to 1990, permanent population in Sedona almost quadrupled to more than 9000.

The City of Sedona was incorporated in 1988, and its economic base is now built around tourism, recreation, retirement, resort and arts centers. Sedona has something to please everyone. From the magnificent scenery and setting to the world-class amenities, the mild climate makes everything accessible year-round.

The permanent population of Sedona is now approximately 10,400, while the seasonal population is around 11,000, with anywhere from 2 to 4 million visitors a year.

Torel Building originated in New York more than 20 years ago and has been building custom-fitted homes in the Sedona area for many years.