Today the four of us took a day trip to Sedona. Located at the base of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona is renowned for its stunning red buttes and monoliths, as well as its surrounding lush forests. The famous red rocks are formed by a layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation, a thick layer of red to orange-colored sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity.
Sedona began as a small, remote ranching and farming settlement in 1876 when the first permanent settler, John James Thompson, squatted in Oak Creek Canyon. By 1902, 20 families lived in the settlement and a postal station was petitioned for by Theodore Schnebly. The petition was granted and Schnebly named the new post office in honor of his wife, Sedona. The remote agricultural community was well-know for the quality of its fruit, especially the abundant apple orchards. But as the scenic wonders and sites of Sedona became known, tourism surpassed agriculture in economic importance.
In 1950, surrealist painter Max Ernst moved to Sedona, and other famous artists followed. Many artists have been attracted to Sedona and its rugged beauty which is said to enhance their creativity. Over the years, an artist colony has developed and many of the artists sell their work in local galleries and shops. It may have been more than the scenic red rocks that stimulated the creativity of artists. It is believed by many people that the region of Sedona contains a concentration of vortexes which are spots that release psychic energy or power from the Earth. The four local points which are considered to be energy vortexes are Bell Rock, Table Top Mountain, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon.
Sedona played host to more than sixty Hollywood productions from the first years of movies into the 1970s. The small town, which served as a kind of microcosm of Hollywood history, sits about 120 miles north of Phoenix, nestled between thousand-foot-high walls of stone in lushly forested Oak Creek Canyon and the wide open space of the Verde Valley, and it was the diversity of this unspoiled landscape that made it such an ideal location to shoot outdoor scenes. Stretching as far back as 1923, Sedona’s signature red rocks were a fixture in major Hollywood productions—including enduring favorites such as Johnny Guitar, Angel and the Badman, Desert Fury, Blood on the Moon, and 3:10 to Yuma—but typically were identified to audiences as the terrain of Texas, California, Nevada, and even Canadian border territory. For fifty years, this picturesque desert outpost quietly played host to Hollywood legends in the making, yet the town is rarely found in standard histories of the movies.
Sedona’s Hollywood legacy offers nothing less than a timeline of history—of moviemaking in America and the popular culture of the years that shaped it. The story begins in the silent era, when Zane Grey’s The Call of the Canyon and Kit Carson, with Joseph P. Kennedy’s doomed movie superstar Fred Thomson, were filmed in the Oak Creek Canyon area just outside Sedona proper. The 1930s saw the arrival of a dozen B westerns, including four visits from silent film idol turned talkie cowboy star George O’Brien and the only Hopalong Cassidy film ever shot outside California. The decade also saw Sedona cast in her most historically significant movie role, as the promised land of milk and honey in Der Kaiser von Kalifornien, a Nazi western designed to validate Adolf Hitler’s schemes of territorial expansion to the people of Germany.
When John Ford’s production of Stagecoach pulled into town in 1938 (a Sedona connection that has eluded historians since the film was made), it set off three solid decades of A-picture activity—forty-four features through 1973, helped along by the construction of Sedona Lodge, the only permanent boarding and production facility ever built specifically for movie crews on remote location in the United States. During those years, many of Hollywood’s biggest names were photographed in front of Sedona’s signature landscape, from Errol Flynn to Gene Tierney, John Wayne to Joan Crawford, James Stewart to Lizabeth Scott, Robert Mitchum to Elvis Presley.
Of course Sedona is of great importance to Larry & I as this is where we honeymooned in 1985! We love coming back every few years. Today our first stop was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Completed in 1956, this pretty little chapel appears to rise 250 feet out of a 1,000-foot redrock cliff and is a popular attraction. There is 'a house' located below it that stirs up a lot of controversy about spoiling the view etc. And the debate goes on about it's ownership but I believe a couple from Phoenix own it. If you Google his name you will find that he is an inventor that owns patents in the medical field (something called an ESU Pencil). Of course rumors say it's Johnny Depp or Nicholas Cage, lol. Anyway, I found a link with a few inside shots as well if you are interested.
After exploring most of the beautiful formations we headed for Oak Creek Canyon Road and stopped to enjoy our picnic lunch. A quick stop into Garland's to check out their wares and then back into town for a bit of shopping and an ice cream cone for dessert. Larry found a new hat but I refrained this time around. All too soon it was time to head home as both doggies were needing attention. It was a lovely day spent in one of our favorite spots here in sunny Arizona. We'll be visiting many more interesting places so please check back again soon! Have a great day...