‘Days of Yore’ re-booted Learn more about this magical, mystical place we call home
There’s a whole world of history to this area that relatively few people know. Here’s where you’ll learn all about the early days of Village of Oak Creek/Big Park (why the two names?) and all about the reconstruction of SR-179 running through the Village (our Main Street) and much more.
Each month we’ll be featuring a different story from Loretta Benore’s wonderful 2016 book, “History, Hilarity and Heartbreak.” These stories were part of Loretta’s popular column in The Villager called “Days of Yore” that ran for 10 years back in the early 2000’s.
The stories have been updated, expanded and compiled for this book, and now for the first time, The Villager will be exclusively excerpting them for your historical enjoyment.
The folks in Arizona have always marched to their own drummer. For instance, in 1861 the citizens got tired of being ignored by the Feds in D.C. and passed an “Ordinance of Secession” to secede from the Union.
About the author ...
Loretta Benore is a 20 year resident of the Village of Oak Creek. She has a B.A. in History and a M.S.S. in Social Science with emphases in both criminal justice and public policy with a professional background working for the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Colorado. Loretta and her husband David retired in 1998 to the Village of Oak Creek where she focused on her first love -- history. She has been a docent at the Sedona Heritage Museum since it opened in 1998 and is a former Board Member of the Sedona Historical Society.
In February 1862, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, recognized Arizona as an official Territory of the Confederate States of America. The Feds in D.C. had a hissy fit, woke up to realize that the Johnny Rebs would have a direct route through the South to the gold fields of California, and in February 1863, made Arizona an official Territory of the United States.
Arizona supposedly was the location of the Seven Cities of Gold whose streets were paved with gold-plate and whose hammers and hoes were made of precious metals.
The king of Spain sent Francisco Coronado off to the New World to find these fabled cities and to bring back the gold. The raping of the American West for its precious metals had begun.
Every state has its state trees, flowers, mottos, etc. But Arizona was the first state to have an Official State Neck Tie. The bolo tie, one of the most original American fashion styles, is not a creation of the Old West. Its invention (and exploitation) goes back only to the mid-20th century.
The story goes … in the 1940s, Victor Cedarstaff went riding in the Bradshaw Mountains when a strong wind blew his hat off.
He grabbed the hat and removed the hatband -- which had a silver buckle -- putting it around his neck. His friends who were with him complimented him on his new necktie (tongue in cheek?).
An idea was born. At home he wove a leather string, added silver balls to the ends, and ran it through a turquoise buckle. At last. A necktie that did not choke the wearer. Cedarstaff named it a bolo tie after the boleadora -- lariat -- that Argentine gauchos used to catch cattle and game. He patented it and a new fashion fad exploded.
Early in the 20th century, after much politicking, the Federal government agreed to consider Arizona for statehood. Arizona’s constitutional convention in 1910-11 included such novel reforms as referendum, recall, initiative, women’s suffrage, and the direct election of senators.
President Taft, whose dream it was to become a Supreme Court Judge (his wife wanted him to be president) objected to the recall clause …i t would allow the recall of judges. The offending clauses were removed. On February 14, 1912, Arizona was officially granted statehood. At the next state convention, each one of the offending clauses was put back into the state constitution.
Of necessity, Arizona and its citizens were (and still are) unique in their ability to think outside the box. The settlers in and around Red Rock Country bear that out. They came out to this spot of nowhere (admittedly beautiful), settled, and prospered.
There really must be something magical about it since we’re all here, and the name Sedona and Red Rock Country is recognized in much of the world.
I hope you will enjoy these stories about Sedona and the 48th state…and maybe learn a little something you did not know about this magical, mystical area we call home.