Flagstaff – Arizona
Nickname(s): City of Seven Wonders, Dark Sky City
Motto: “Service at a Higher Elevation”
Flagstaff (Navajo: Kinłání Dookʼoʼoosłííd Biyaagi, Havasupai: Wii Hagnbaj or Wii Baggwa) is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2012, the city’s population was 67,468. It is the county seat of Coconino County. The city is named after a Ponderosa Pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the “Second Boston Party”) to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is located adjacent to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff’s early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare and Walgreens, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Flagstaff is located at 35°11′57″N 111°37′52″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 63.9 square miles (165.5 km2), of which only 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) (0.08%) is water.
At 7,000 feet (2,130 m) elevation, located adjacent to the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in North America, the area around Flagstaff is considered a high elevation semi-desert. However, ecosystems ranging from piñon-juniper studded plateaus, high desert, green alpine forest and barren tundra can all be found within a short drive of Flagstaff. The city is situated on the Rio de Flag, and is about 130 miles (210 km) north of Phoenix, Arizona.
Flagstaff has a rather dry continental climate (Köppen Dsb/Csb) with four distinct seasons. The combination of high elevation and low humidity provide mild weather conditions throughout most of the year, and the predominantly clear air radiates daytime heating effectively. Temperatures often fall precipitously after sunset throughout the year, and winter nights can be very cold. Despite being fewer than 150 miles (240 km) from Phoenix, the mean annual temperature is28.0 °F (15.6 °C) cooler, due to its higher elevation.
In its early days, the city’s economic base comprised the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, that has largely been replaced by tourism, education,government, and transportation. Some of the larger employers in Flagstaff are Northern Arizona University, the Flagstaff Medical Center, and the Flagstaff Unified School District. Tourism is a large contributor to the economy, as the city receives over 5 million visitors per year.
Arts & Culture_____________________________________________________
Flagstaff has an active cultural scene. The city is home to the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, which plays concerts from September through April at Ardrey Auditorium on the NAU campus. The city also attracts folk and contemporary acoustic musicians, and offers several annual music festivals during the summer months, such as the Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music Festival, the Flagstaff Music Festival, and Pickin’ in the Pines, a three-day bluegrass and acoustic music festival held at the Pine Mountain Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Fairgrounds. Popular bands play throughout the year at the Orpheum Theater, and free concerts are held during the summer months at Heritage Square.
Parks & Outdoor Recreation___________________________________________
Flagstaff has acquired a reputation as a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, and the region’s varied terrain, high elevation, and amenable weather attract campers, backpackers, climbers, recreation and elite runners, and mountain bikers from throughout the southwestern United States. There are 679.2 acres (274.9 ha) of city parks in Flagstaff, the largest of which are Thorpe Park and Buffalo Park. Wheeler Park, located adjacent to city hall, is the location of summer concerts and other events. The city maintains an extensive network of trails, the Flagstaff Urban Trails System, or “FUTS” includes more than 50 miles of paved and unpaved trails for hiking, running, and cycling. The trail network extends throughout the city and is widely used for both recreation and transportation.
Media & Pop Culture_________________________________________________
The major daily newspaper in Flagstaff is the Arizona Daily Sun. Northern Arizona University‘s weekly newspaper The Lumberjack and “FLAGscanner” an online only publication, also cover Flagstaff news, while the other publications that serve the city include weeklies Flagstaff Live and the Navajo Hopi Observer, and monthlies Mountain Living Magazine and The Noise.
Several radio stations operate in the area, some of which operate translators in Prescott as well.
Flagstaff is included in the Phoenix Designated market area (DMA), the 13th largest in the U.S. Over-the-air television service is provided mostly by low-powered repeaters of the Phoenix stations. There is one local broadcast television station serving the city, KFPH-13 (TeleFutura).
In the early 20th century, the city was considered as a site for the film The Squaw Man by Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille, but was abandoned in favor ofHollywood. Several recent movies have been filmed, at least in part, in Flagstaff. A small scene in Midnight Run was filmed in Flagstaff at the train depot, the city was also referenced in the film. Several of the running scenes in Forrest Gump were filmed in and around the area, including a memorable scene where Forrest is seen jogging in downtown Flagstaff and gives inspiration to a bumper sticker designer (“Shit happens”). Parts of 2007 Academy Award winner Little Miss Sunshine were filmed at the junction of I-40 and I-17 in Flagstaff, and Terminal Velocity was partially filmed in the city.
During the 1940s and 1950s, over 100 western movies were filmed in nearby Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff hosted many film stars during this era, including Jane Russell, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, and Bing Crosby. A scene from the movie Casablanca was filmed in one of the rooms of the hotel.
The city has been mentioned in several novels, such as The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey, depicting an encounter with a Flagstaff policeman. Frank Poole discusses his childhood growing up in Flagstaff in Arthur C. Clarke‘s novel 3001: The Final Odyssey.
In 2005, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition built a home just outside of Flagstaff for slain soldier Lori Piestewa‘s two children and parents. Grizzly Peak Films also filmed Sasquatch Mountain, a feature-length film for the Science Fiction Channel about a Yeti, in Flagstaff and nearby Williams. In December 2007, talk show hostess Ellen DeGeneres selected Flagstaff as the winner of her show’s, “Wish You Were Here”, contest.
In the post-apocalyptic video game Fallout: New Vegas, Flagstaff is the capital of Caeser’s Legion.
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***Note*** – All information on this page is excerpts from Wikipedia