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Flagstaff ( ) is a city located in northern Arizonamarker, in the southwestern United States. In 2008, the city's estimated population was 60,222. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was estimated at 127,450 in 2007. It is the county seat of Coconino Countymarker. The city is named after a Ponderosa Pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Bostonmarker (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 Eldenmarker, just south of the San Francisco Peaksmarker, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peakmarker, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,850 m), is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wildernessmarker.

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 Observatorymarker and Northern Arizona Universitymarker. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Parkmarker, Oak Creek Canyon, and historic Route 66. The city is also home to medical device manufacturing, including such companies as W. L. Gore and Associates, and Machine Solutions.


Flagstaff ca. 1899; view of Post Office and other buildings on Terrace Street.

In 1855, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale surveyed a road from the Rio Grandemarker in New Mexicomarker to Fort Tejonmarker in Californiamarker, and camped near the current location of Flagstaff. The lieutenant had his men cut the limbs from a straight Ponderosa Pine tree in order to fly the United States flag.

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 Albuquerquemarker and the west coast of the United States.

In 1894, Massachusetts astronomer Percival Lowell hired A. E. Douglass to scout an ideal site for a new observatory. Douglass, impressed by Flagstaff's elevation, named it as an ideal location for the now famous Lowell Observatorymarker, saying: "other things being equal, the higher we can get the better". Two years later, the specially-designed 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 Observatorymarker joined the growing astronomical presence, and established the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Stationmarker, where Pluto's satellite, Charon was discovered in 1978.

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. In homage to the city's importance in the field of astronomy, asteroid 2118 Flagstaff is named for the city, and 6582 Flagsymphony for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

Old Coconino County Courthouse from Birch Avenue, June 2005
The Northern Arizona Normal School was established in 1899, renamed Northern Arizona Universitymarker in 1966. 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.

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. 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 Chicagomarker, Los Angelesmarker, and elsewhere.

Northern Arizona University's Old Main building.

Route 66 was completed in 1926 and ran through Flagstaff. Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928, 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. Flagstaff went on to become a popular tourist stop along Route 66, particularly due to its proximity to the Grand Canyonmarker.

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.

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 Countymarker Administrative 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, Wisconsinmarker and Missoula, Montanamarker. 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.


As home to two major astronomical observatories (Lowell Observatorymarker and the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Stationmarker), the city has recognized an interest in preserving its dark skies by keeping light pollution to a minimum. In 1958, the city council passed the nation's first ordinance governing outdoor lighting, and similar ordinances in the latter half of the 20th century have maintained this commitment to preserving Flagstaff's dark skies.

On October 24, 2001, Flagstaff was recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association as the world's first "International Dark-Sky City."


Flagstaff is located at .

At 7,000 feet (2,121 m) elevation, located adjacent to the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in North America, the area around Flagstaff is considered a high altitude semi-desert. However, ecosystems ranging from pinon-juniper studded plateaus, high desert, green alpine forest and barren tundra can all be found within a short drive of Flagstaff.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 63.6 square miles (164.8 km²), of which 63.6 square miles (164.7 km²) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) or 0.06 percent is water.

The Flagstaff Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) encompasses all of Coconino Countymarker. On July 1, 2006, the total population of the Flagstaff MSA was 124,953.


San Francisco Peaks from Flagstaff.
View of Flagstaff from Mars Hill.
Downtown Flagstaff lies immediately to the east of Mars Hill, the location of Lowell Observatory. Streets in the downtown area are laid out in a grid pattern, parallel to Route 66 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Line, running east-west through the city. Milton Road branches off from Route 66 west of downtown, and travels south, adjacent to the Northern Arizona University campus, to the junction of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40. Milton continues to the south, becoming State Route 89A, and traveling through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedonamarker. Traveling north from downtown, Fort Valley Road (U.S. 180) connects with the Museum of Northern Arizona, Arizona Snowbowlmarker, and Grand Canyon National Parkmarker. Traveling east from downtown, Route 66 and the railroad run in parallel toward East Flagstaff (and beyond), at the base of Mount Eldenmarker. Much of Flagstaff's industry is located east of downtown, adjacent to the railroad tracks, as well as in East Flagstaff.

Several towns are located close to Flagstaff along Interstates 40 and 17. Approximately south are the small urban areas of Kachina Villagemarker (west of I-17) and Mountainaire, Arizonamarker (east of I-17; 2 miles). Both of these areas were built in the early 1960s as second homes for people escaping the Phoenix heat in summer. Recently these areas are now permanent all-year-round housing. About 35 miles (56 km) to the west is Williamsmarker, 20 miles (32 km) to the south is Munds Parkmarker, which features a semi-public Golf Course called Pinewood, and 30 miles (48 km) to the south on AZ HWY 89a is Sedonamarker. 15 miles (24 km) to the east of Flagstaff is the town of Winonamarker, mentioned in the famous song, Route 66. Holbrookmarker is 90 miles (144 km) to the east.


Flagstaff has a highland semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) with four distinct seasons. The combination of high altitude 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 less than 150 miles (241 km) from Phoenixmarker, the average temperatures are approximately 25 °F (14 °C) cooler, due to its higher elevation.

Winter weather patterns in Flagstaff are cyclonic and frontal in nature, originating in the eastern Pacific Ocean. These deliver periodic, widespread snowfall followed by extended periods of fair weather. The area's generally stable weather pattern is broken by brief, but often intense, afternoon downpours and dramatic thunderstorms common during the so-called monsoon of July and August. Summer temperatures are moderate and high temperatures average around . The record high temperature is 97.0 °F (36.1 °C) on July 5, 1973, and the record low temperature was -30 °F (-34.4 °C) on January 22, 1937.

The average annual precipitation is 22.91 inches (58.2 cm) and annual snowfall averages 100.3 inches (254 cm), placing Flagstaff among the snowiest incorporated cities in the United States. Overall, the city enjoys an average of 283 days without precipitation each year, and the climate is officially classified as "semi-arid." Although snow often covers the ground for weeks after major winter storms, Flagstaff's relatively low latitude and plentiful winter sunshine quickly melt much of what falls, and persistent deep snowpack is unusual. One notable exception occurred during the severe winter of 1915-1916, when successive Pacific storms buried the city under nearly seven feet (2 m) of snow, and some residents were snowbound in their homes for several days.


According to the 2000 census , there were 53,894 people, 19,306 households, and 11,602 families residing in the city. The July 2006 estimated population of the city was 58,213. The population density was 831.9 people per square mile (321.2/km²). There were 21,396 housing units at an average density of 336.5 per square mile (129.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.9% White, 1.8% Black or African American, 10.0% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.1% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. 16.1% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race. The city's African American population is considerably lower than the U.S. average (1.8% versus 12.3%), while the Native American population is markedly higher (10.0% vs. 0.9%). This is primarily attributable to the city's proximity to several Indian reservations, including the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupaimarker, and Yavapai.

There were 19,306 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 23.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.13.

The age distribution was 24.3% under the age of 18, 21.7% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 5.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,146, and the median income for a family was $48,427. Males had a median income of $31,973 versus $24,591 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,637. About 10.6% of families and 17.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

As a college town, Flagstaff's population is considerably more educated than the U.S. average. 89.8% of the population has a high school diploma or higher, while the national average is 80.4%. 39.4% of the population has a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to the national average of 24.4%.


The violent crime rate, such as murder, robbery and rape, is very low in Flagstaff. However, the property crime rate, including larceny (theft) and burglary, is considerably higher than the average for Arizona cities. In 2002, the FBI'smarker Uniform Crime Report indicated a crime index (incidences of crime per 100,000 population) for Flagstaff of 5,597, with 535 cases of violent crime and 5,062 cases of property crime. Of the 5,062 property crime cases, 4,042 cases were classified as theft. While the property crime rate fell in 2005, it is still high for a town of this size.


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 Universitymarker, 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.

Scientific and high tech research and development operations are located in the city, including the Lowell Observatorymarker, Northern Arizona Universitymarker, the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Stationmarker (NOFS) and the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Flagstaff campus. Lowell Observatory continues to be an active astronomical observatory and a popular visitors center which hosts educational displays and tours. It has a distributed network of small telescopes which together create images of celestial bodies with much higher resolutions than any other single telescope can produce. Current research is involved in observations of near-Earth phenomena such as asteroids and comets. The observatory is also involved in a $30 million project with the Discovery Channel to build the Discovery Channel Telescope, a sophisticated, ground-based telescope with advanced optical capabilities for future projects. Lowell Observatory and NOFS are also collaborators on the major project, the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer, on nearby Anderson Mesa. NOFS is heavily involved with the science of star catalogs and astrometry, or the positions and distances of stars and celestial objects.

Purina PetCare building in Flagstaff.
There are five industrial parks in the city, situated near I-40 and I-17. Major manufacturers in Flagstaff include W.L. Gore & Associates, widely known as the maker of Gore-Tex; Nestlé Purina PetCare, manufacturer of pet food; SCA Tissue, a major tissue paper producer; and Joy Cone, manufacturer of ice cream cones. Walgreens also operates a distribution center in the city.

Air cargo carriers FedEx Express and UPS Airlines fly direct from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, and the city has ten motor freight carriers. The one-day travel truck radius extends to Salt Lake Citymarker, San Franciscomarker, Albuquerquemarker, El Pasomarker, Los Angelesmarker, and parts of Mexicomarker. Rail cargo transportation is served by the BNSF Railway.

With proximity to Grand Canyon National Parkmarker, the city also has a thriving travel and tourism industry, with numerous hotel and restaurant chains. The downtown area is home to two historic hotels, the Weatherford Hotelmarker and the Hotel Monte Vista. The first hotel of the Ramada Inn chain opened in 1954 at the intersection of U.S. Route 66, 89 and 89A adjacent to what was then Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University). The original building is still intact, operating as a Super 8 Motel.

Arts and 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 Theatermarker, and free concerts are held during the summer months at Heritage Square.

Flagstaff is home to an active theater scene, featuring several groups. Northern Arizona University Department of Theatre is an active and successful theatre program that produces quality productions for the community as well as the campus. The department has won many prestigious awards including multiple invitations to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. NAU Theatre performs in two facilities including the Clifford E. White Theatre (named for long-time Theatre professor Clifford E. White) and the Studio Theatre. Both facilities are housed in the Fine and Performing Arts Building on campus.The season includes 4 mainstage and numerous second stage productions and a summer collaboration with Theatrikos Theatre Company. Theatrikos Theatre Company, the community theater company, was founded in 1972 in the basement of the Weatherford Hotelmarker, and today puts on five major productions per year. The group recently moved into a new venue in 2002, the Doris-Harper White CommunityPlayhouse, a downtown building which was built in 1923 as an Elks Lodge and later became the Flagstaff library. Since 1995, the Flagstaff Light Opera Company has performed a variety of musical theatre and light opera productions throughout the year at the Sinagua High School auditorium. There are several dance companies in Flagstaff, including Coconino Community College Dance Program, Northern Arizona Preparatory Company and Canyon Movement, which present periodic concerts and collaborate with the Flagstaff Symphony for free concerts during the summer and holiday seasons.

A variety of weekend festivals occur throughout the year. The annual Northern Arizona Book Festival, held in April, brings together nationally known authors to read and display their works. The Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival is held every spring, featuring outdoors, environmental, and other experimental films. The summer months feature several festivals, including Hopi and Navajo Festivals of Arts and Crafts, the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival, Pride in the Pines, and the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival. The Coconino County Fair is held every September at the Fort Tuthill County Fairgrounds, featuring a demolition derby, livestock auction, carnival rides, and other activities.

On New Year's Eve, people gather around the Weatherford Hotelmarker as a 70-pound, tall, metallic pine cone is dropped from the roof at midnight. The tradition originated in 1999, when Henry Taylor and Sam Green (owners of the Weatherford Hotel), decorated a garbage can with paint, lights, and pine cones, and dropped it from the roof of their building to mark the new millennium. By 2003 the event had become tradition, and the current metallic pine cone was designed and built by Frank Mayorga of Mayorga Welding in Flagstaff.

The Museum of Northern Arizona includes displays of the biology, archeology, photography, anthropology, and native art of the Colorado Plateau. The Arboretum at Flagstaffmarker is a 200 acre (81 hectare) arboretum featuring 2,500 species of drought-tolerant native plants representative of the high-desert region.

Route 66, which originally ran between Chicagomarker and Los Angelesmarker, greatly increased the accessibility to the area, and enhanced the culture and tourism in Flagstaff. Route 66 remains a historic route, passing through the city between Barstow, Californiamarker, and Albuquerque, New Mexicomarker. In early September, the city hosts an annual event, Route 66 Days, to highlight its connection to the famous highway.


There are no major-league professional sports teams in Flagstaff, which is typical of such small American towns. The Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League have held their summer training camp at Northern Arizona Universitymarker since the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1988, with the exception of the 2005 season due to an outbreak of a flu-like virus. The NAU training camp location has been cited as one of the top five training camps in the NFL by Sports Illustrated.

Northern Arizona University and the city of Flagstaff are home to the Center for High Altitude Training, a facility where athletes can train in the unique environment provided by the city's elevation. The center has been designated by the United States Olympic Committee as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site.

Winter sports—including snowshoeing, alpine and Nordic skiing—are also popular in the area, and the surrounding National Forests provide an extensive network of roads and trails for winter use. The Arizona Snowbowlmarker ski resort is to the north of the city on the San Francisco Peaksmarker. The resort has plans to expand their facilities, adding a fifth chair lift and snow-making capabilities using reclaimed wastewater to extend its ski season in dry years. These plans face opposition by the Navajo and several other Native American tribes, who claim that it violates their religious freedom, as the San Francisco Peaksmarker are considered sacred in many of their religions. In August, 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the snow making scheme does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.[9110]

Parks and 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, and mountain bikers from throughout the southwestern United States. There are 679.2 acres (275 hectares) 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 urban trail system, consisting of surface trails for hiking, running, or cycling. The trail network extends throughout the city, connecting the downtown area with the Fort Tuthill Fairgrounds, and extends to Peaks View County Park in Doney Park and Sawmill Multicultural Art and Nature County Park.

The area is a recreational hub for road cycling and mountain biking clubs, organized triathlon events, and annual cross country ski races. Several major river running operators are headquartered in Flagstaff, and the city serves as a base for Grand Canyon and Colorado River expeditions.

Flagstaff's proximity to Grand Canyon National Parkmarker, about 75 miles (120 km) north of the city, has made it a popular tourist destination since the mid-19th century. Other nearby outdoor attractions include Walnut Canyon National Monumentmarker, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monumentmarker, Wupatki National Monumentmarker, and Barringer Cratermarker. Glen Canyon National Recreation Areamarker and Lake Powellmarker are both about 135 mi (216 km) north along U.S. Route 89.

Media and popular culture

The Route 66 sign until the 1940s.

The major daily newspaper in Flagstaff is the Arizona Daily Sun. Northern Arizona Universitymarker's weekly newspaper The Lumberjack also covers 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.

Flagstaff is included in the Phoenixmarker Designated market area (DMA), the 13th largest in the U.S., due to the use of several repeaters that provide access to local television and radio stations. There is one local broadcast television station serving the city,KFPH-13marker (TeleFutura). . The city's major cable television provider is NPG Cablevision.

In the early 20th century, the city was considered as a site for a film by Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille, but was abandoned in favor of Hollywoodmarker. 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. 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 Sedonamarker 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. Author Richard Bausch wrote a short story called, All the Way in Flagstaff, Arizona. The city also appeared in Stephen King's book, Firestarter. Italian comedian and novelist Giorgio Faletti set his 2006 thriller novel Fuori da un evidente destino in Flagstaff.

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 Williamsmarker. In December 2007, talk show hostess Ellen DeGeneres selected Flagstaff as the winner of her show's, "Wish You Were Here", contest.

The town's name is mentioned in the lyrics to the song, "Route 66" by Bobby Troup.


Flagstaff City Hall, bounded by Route 66, Humphreys Street, Aspen Avenue and Sitgreaves Avenue.
The city government is organized under a Council-Manager system. The current mayor of Flagstaff is Sara Presler, who was elected in May 2008, and the current town council consists of the mayor and six councilmembers: Al White (vice mayor), Karla Brewster, Coral Evans, Joe Haughey, Scott Overton, and Rick Swanson. The city's current city manager is Kevin Burke. Regular meetings of the city council are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

Flagstaff is the county seat of Coconino Countymarker.


There are 19 public schools, with 11,500 students and 800 faculty and staff, in the Flagstaff Unified School District. In 1997, Mount Elden Middle School was named an A+ School, citing an outstanding school climate, progressive use of technology and zero-tolerance approach to discipline. The 1999 National Science Teacher of the Year, David Thompson, teaches physics at Coconino High School. Three Arizona Teachers of the Year from 2001 through 2003 teach at Flagstaff High School.

In addition to the numerous public schools, there are several charter schools operating in the Flagstaff area including Flagstaff Junior Academy, Northland Preparatory Academy (ranked #52 in USA News's America's Top 100 Best High Schools), the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy and the Montessori Schools of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is home to two institutions of higher education, Northern Arizona Universitymarker (one of the three public state universities in Arizona), and Coconino Community College.



Flagstaff is at the northern terminus of Interstate 17, which runs 145 miles (232 km) south to Phoenix, Arizonamarker. Interstate 40 runs east-west through the city, traveling to Barstow, California in the west and Albuquerque, New Mexicomarker (and beyond) in the east. Historic Route 66 also runs east-west through the city, roughly parallel to I-40, and is a major thoroughfare for local traffic. Butler Avenue connects I-40 with downtown Flagstaff, and the major north-south thoroughfare through town is Milton Road. State Route 89A travels through the city (concurrently as parts of Milton Rd. and Route 66), going south through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedonamarker.

Passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak at the downtown stationmarker, connecting on east-west routes to Los Angeles and Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief line. Amtrak also provides connecting Thruway Motorcoach service via Open Road Tours, which has an office inside the Flagstaff depot. Local bus service is provided throughout the city by the Mountain Line. Rail freight is provided by BNSF Railway.

Air travel is available through Flagstaff Pulliam Airportmarker , located just south of the city. The airport is primarily a small, general aviation airport with a single 6,999 feet (2,133 m) runway. The airport finished a major expansion project to add 1,800 feet (549 m) to the north end of the current runway and lengthen the taxiway in 2007. The primary purpose of the project was to increase its viability for commercial and regional jets. Service to connecting flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airportmarker is provided by US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines, while service to connecting flights at Los Angeles International Airportmarker is provided by Horizon Air.


Electricity generation in Flagstaff is provided by Arizona Public Service, an electric utility subsidiary operated by parent company Pinnacle West. The primary generating station near Flagstaff is the coal-fired, 995-MW Cholla Power Plantmarker, near Holbrook, Arizonamarker, which uses coal from the McKinley Mine in New Mexicomarker. Located near Page, Arizonamarker is the coal-fired, 750-MW Navajo Power Plant, supplied by an electric railroad that delivers coal from a mine on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northern Arizona. Flagstaff is also home to Arizona's first commercial solar power generating station, which was built in 1997 and provides 87 kW of electricity. Combined with 16 other solar power locations in Arizona, the system provides over 5 MW of electricity statewide.

Drinking water in Flagstaff is produced from conventional surface water treatment at the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant, located on Upper Lake Mary, as well as from springs at the inner basin of the San Francisco Peaks. Groundwater from several water wells located throughout the city and surrounding area provide additional sources of drinking water.

Health care

The city's primary hospital is the 270–bed Flagstaff Medical Center, located on the north side of downtown Flagstaff. The hospital was founded in 1936, and serves as the major regional trauma center for northern Arizona.

Sister cities

Flagstaff has four sister cities:

See also


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  2. "[1]." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 5, 2008
  3. " Biotic Communities of the Colorado Plateau." Northern Arizona University. Retrieved on March 2, 2007.
  4. " Flagstaff Community Profile." Official City Website. Retrieved on April 11, 2007.
  5. P. Lowell to A. E. Douglass, April 16 1894, Lowell Observatory Archives.
  6. Putnam, William Lowell. "The explorers of Mars Hill : a centennial history of Lowell Observatory, 1894-1994." West Kennebunk, Me. : Published for Lowell Observatory by Phoenix Pub., c1994.
  7. " History of the FSO." Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved on April 11 2007.
  8. Paradis, Thomas Wayne. "Theme Town: A Geography of Landscape and Community in Flagstaff, Arizona." (February 2003). pp. 65–67.
  9. Paradis, pp. 96–97.
  10. Thomas W. Paradis, “From Downtown to Theme Town: Reinventing America’s Smaller Historic Retail Districts,” pp. 57-74 in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, ed. Scott A. Lukas (Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2007), ISBN 0739121421
  11. Paradis, pp. 244–245.
  12. Paradis, pp. 161–167.
  13. Staff Writer. " Stellar ideas keep astronomy in state." Arizona Republic. November 19, 2006. Retrieved on October 14, 2007.
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  15. " Population Estimates for Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas Population Estimates for Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas." United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 19, 2007.
  16. " Flagstaff Weather: Records & Averages." Yahoo!. Retrieved on April 11, 2007.
  17. " Arizona’s Most Notable Storms." National Weather Service. Retrieved on July 18, 2007.
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  19. " FBI Uniform Crime Report." Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2002. Retrieved on July 26, 2007.
  20. Wotkyns, Steele. " Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications, Inc., Announce Partnership to Build Innovative Telescope Technology." Lowell Observatory. October 15, 2003. Retrieved on February 22, 2007.
  21. McDonough, Brian. "Building Type Basics for Hospitality Facilities." 2001. John Wiley and Sons, p. 11. ISBN 0471369446
  22. " Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music (website)." Retrieved on July 18, 2007.
  23. " Flagstaff Music Festival (website)." Retrieved on July 18 2007.
  24. " Pickin' in the Pines - Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival (website)." Retrieved on July 18 2007.
  25. " Thursdays on the Square (website)." Retrieved on July 18, 2007.
  26. " Theatrikos: A Brief History." Retrieved on July 18, 2007.
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  29. Colebank, Susan. " Twenty-something and broke." Arizona Republic. April 8 2003. Retrieved on July 18 2007.
  30. " Four Spectacular Days of Films (website)." Retrieved on July 18 2007.
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