Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona. Land of the metaphysical vortex and alternative healing regimens. Location where over 70 movies have been filmed. Luring visitors from all over the world, Sedona is a mix of the modern and the historical, glamour and kitsch, Native and New Age. Ringing the high desert city--the elevation is 4,500 feet--of approximately 10,000 people are the red rock sandstone hills, mountains and monoliths that make Sedona famous (see photos at right and above). Did Roy Huggins ever visit Sedona, Arizona? If he did, maybe that is why the name Red Rock (see photo at right) is frequently mentioned in ASJ (The McCreedy Bust, The Day They Hanged Kid Curry, The McCreedy Bust: Going, Going, Gone, and The McCreedy Feud).

Long before the Europeans arrived, the Sinagua culture flourished. Honanki is a ruin about an hour away from Sedona. Driving over a very bumpy dirt road in a jeep, one gets a very good idea of the remoteness of the area, once the town is left behind. A short trek through a forest of pinyon pine, live oak, creosote bushes and jimson weed—beware of rattlers!--brings visitors to the cliff dwelling, which was built as an extension out from the face of a cliff. Guides with the Pink Jeep tour company explain the history of the place and point out the petroglyphs on the walls, along with their meanings (see photo above; click on the photo to enlarge it and see the petroglyphs at the top right). Another Sinagua ruin, Palanki, is nearby. Both sites are administered by the U.S. Forest Service as they are located within the Coconino National Forest.

First settled by Anglos in the 1870s when the Homestead Act opened up the land to farmers, and later named for the wife of the town’s first postmaster, Sedona Schnebley, a statue of whom stands in front of the town library (see photo at right), the economy is now based on tourism rather than agricultural pursuits. But back in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranchers raised Texas short-horn cattle in the area. Fruit orchards were also established. No gold, silver, or copper strikes were ever discovered in Sedona, however, unlike in nearby Jerome.

Starting in 1923 with Call of the Canyon, Sedona was a unique and memorable location for making movies, TV shows, and commercials. Numerous Westerns were filmed in and around the city; an Old West town was built on the outskirts of Sedona but unfortunately no longer exists. Movie stars such as Randolph Scott (see photo at right), Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, and Clint Walker all made films in Sedona. Tributes to these and other actors and actresses who appeared in movies filmed around Sedona are located along the main street, Highway 89A, in one part of the town. Perhaps filming an entire season of a TV show in Sedona would have been too expensive and that is why the third season of ASJ went on location to Moab instead, another place where red rock landscape is prominent.

Whatever the source, the vibrations must have been in my favor when I visited Sedona! Shopping, of course, is big business in the town and it was there that I finally found a concho belt very similar to the one on Kid Curry’s second season hat. After years of searching, I was thrilled to find it. I may need to get another hat made since the cowboy hat I had custom-designed last year already has a concho hatband, albeit in a different style. I can certainly understand why Kid had two hats, though!


Related Links:

Article about Anglo homesteaders in Sedona 


U.S. Forest Service webpage about Honanki

Article about Honanki in Sedona Monthly 

List of movies filmed in Sedona