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Flagstaff, Arizona

HistoryEdit Flagstaff ca. 1899; view of Post Office and other buildings on Terrace Street In 1855, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Bealesurveyed a road from the Rio Grande in New Mexicoto Fort Tejon in California, and camped near the current location of Flagstaff. The lieutenant had his men cut the limbs from a straight Ponderosa Pinetree in order to fly the United States flag.[8] 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. The early economy was based on timber, sheep, and cattle. By 1886, Flagstaff was the largest city on the railroad line between Albuquerque and the west coast of the United States.[8] A circa 1900 diary entry by journalist described the houses in the city at the time as a "third rate mining camp", with unkempt air and high prices of available goods.[9] In 1894, Massachusetts astronomer Percival Lowellhired A. E. Douglass to scout an ideal site for a newobservatory. Douglass, impressed by Flagstaff's elevation, named it as an ideal location for the now famous Lowell Observatory, saying: "other things being equal, the higher we can get the better".[10] Two years later, the specially designed 24-inch (610 mm) Clark telescope that Lowell had ordered was installed. In 1930, Pluto was discovered using one of the observatory's telescopes. In 1955 the U.S. Naval Observatory joined the growing astronomical presence, and established the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, where Pluto's satellite,Charon, was discovered in 1978.[11] During the Apollo program in the 1960s, the Clark Telescope was used to map the moon for the lunar expeditions, enabling the mission planners to choose a safe landing site for the lunar modules.[12] In homage to the city's importance in the field ofastronomy, asteroid 2118 Flagstaff is named for the city, and 6582 Flagsymphony for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Northern Arizona University's Old Main building The Northern Arizona Normal School was established in 1899, renamed Northern Arizona University in 1966.[8] Flagstaff's cultural history received a significant boost on April 11, 1899, when the Flagstaff Symphony made its concert debut at Babbitt's Opera House. The orchestra continues today as the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, with its primary venue at the Ardrey Auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University.[13] The city grew rapidly, primarily attributable to its location along the east-west transcontinental railroad line in the United States. In the 1880s, the railroads purchased land in the west from the federal government, which was then sold to individuals to help finance the railroad projects.[14] By the 1890s, Flagstaff found itself located along one of the busiest railroad corridors in the U.S., with 80-100 trains travelling through the city every day, destined for Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.[15][16] Old Coconino County Courthouse from Birch Avenue, June 2005 Route 66 was completed in 1926 and ran through Flagstaff. Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928,[8] and in 1929, the city's first motel, the Motel Du Beau, was built at the intersection of Beaver Street and Phoenix Avenue. The Daily Sun described the motel as "a hotel with garages for the better class of motorists." The units originally rented for $2.60 to $5.00 each, with baths, toilets, double beds, carpets, and furniture.[17] Flagstaff went on to become a popular tourist stop along Route 66, particularly due to its proximity to the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff grew and prospered through the 1960s. During the 1970s and 1980s, however, many businesses started to move from the city center, and the downtown area entered an economic and social decline. Sears and J.C. Penney left the downtown area in 1979 to open up as anchor stores in the new Flagstaff Mall, joined in 1986 by Dillard's. By 1987, the Babbitt Brothers Trading Company, which had been a retail fixture in Flagstaff since 1891, had closed its doors at Aspen Avenue and San Francisco Street.[18] In 1987, the city drafted a new master plan, also known as the Growth Management Guide 2000, which would transform downtown Flagstaff from a shopping and trade center into a regional center for finance, office use, and government. The city built a new city hall, library, and the Coconino CountyAdministrative Building in the downtown district, staking an investment by the local government for years to come. In 1992, the city hired a new manager, Dave Wilcox, who had previously worked at revitalizing the downtown areas of Beloit, Wisconsinand Missoula, Montana. During the 1990s, the downtown area underwent a revitalization, many of the city sidewalks were repaved with decorative brick facing, and a different mix of shops and restaurants opened up to take advantage of the area's historical appeal.[18] On October 24, 2001, Flagstaff was recognized by theInternational Dark-Sky Association as the world's first "International Dark-Sky City."[19][19]

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