My family has lived and worked in Flagstaff for over 110 years, and several of which worked in the lumber industry that once fueled Flagstaff’s economy. My grandfather worked at the early days of the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company off of Milton (Mill Town) Road and my father worked at Stone Industries off of Butler Avenue. As I drive home from work each night, I frequently get nostalgic when I pass by the new Aspen Place at the Sawmill on Butler Avenue. I remember the sawmill that resided there. The mill was owned and operated by several companies during its existence, but what I recall most fondly is the smell of pine wood being milled; the stacks of smoke billowing into the air; the neat stacks of milled wood; the pile of sawdust that seemed as big as a mountain and how my neighbor, who worked at the mills, lost his life in that mountain; the horn that sounded the changing of shifts and my father getting ready for his shift; the holding pond keeping trees wet, and the to the aroma of the sawmill; and the locomotive that moved the raw trees in and milled wood out.
Flagstaff has a rich history and this is one that we pass by everyday as we go about our lives. The history of Flagstaff is steeped in the lumber and railroad industries, and fading into memory as the city grows in new directions.
I would like to share a few images and brief history of the land that was once part of the bustling lumber industry in Flagstaff. These items and others related to the lumber industry can be found on the Colorado Plateau Archives. Special Collections and Archives contains a number of collections documenting the history of the lumber industry. We have the Arizona Lumber and Timber collection, the Saginaw and Manistee Lumber/Stone Forest collection, and the Greenlaw Lumber in Clark Valley collection, the JM Dennis Lumber collection.