Here is some history of how the town of Sedona got its name and the formation of the Schnebly Hill Road. You can book a Private Jeep tour with me down this beautiful icon road in Sedona here: Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Theodore Carleton (TC) Schnebly, who arrived at Oak Creek in 1900, first used the road to transport lumber from Flagstaff to build a two-story, 11-room home, now the site of the world-renowned Los Abrigados resort. Once his home was completed, Schnebly then used the road to transport wagon loads of produce north to Flagstaff and supplies south to his small general store. He also petitioned for a post office, which he proposed to call either “Oak Creek Crossing” or “Schnebly Station,” names rejected because they were too long to fit on a cancellation stamp. So Schnebly named the new postal site after his wife, Sedona, who became the namesake for the town.
The Schnebly House & Inn
Travelers coming down off the mountain on their way to the Verde Valley would often stop at the Schnebly home, which Sedona converted into an inn. Before long, people associated the road with the Schnebly family, and the route assumed its present name. Traffic on this steep trail declined in 1914, when the even shorter Oak Creek Canyon Road – State Route 89 – was completed.
Sedona Arabella Miller was born in the town of Gorin, Missouri on February 24, 1877. She passed away November 13, 1950. Her mother made up the name “Sedona” because she thought it sounded pretty and named her child. Sedona was known as “Dona” a name which most people called her most of her life.
Sedona was an early pioneer in the Oak Creek area of Arizona. She was the namesake of the town of Sedona, Arizona. She helped in the establishment of the family farm and general store in the town. She also served as the town’s bible school teacher. Sedona saved funds to build the Wayside Chapel. Among her legacy is a sculpture of a statue in her likeness by the Sedona Red Rocks Arts Council honoring her memory.
Sedona attended the Gorin Academy where she received her basic education and learned to play the piano. After she graduated Sedona earned a living as a teacher. When she was 20 years old she met Theodore Carleton (TC) Schnebly, an enterprising young man. They fell in love, however her parents objected to their relationship because of religious reasons. The Millers were Methodist and Theodore Carleton Schnebly was a Presbyterian.
Move to Arizona
Theodore Schnebly’s brother, Ellsworth had previously moved to the Oak Creek region of Arizona for health reasons upon the recommendation of his medical doctor. Ellsworth wrote to the Schneblys’ encouraging them to move to Arizona which had plenty of land with deep grass, crystal clear air and plenty of room. Convinced by Ellisworth, the Schnebly’s told Sedona’s parents about their plans of moving to the West (Arizona). Sedona’s parents did not approve of their plans and this eventually caused a rift in the families relations.
Theodore arrived in Oak Creek, which called the red rock country, before the rest of the family. Together with other pioneer families, he blasted out irrigation routes and moved the water through ditches, flumes and pipelines. He purchased twelve acres for a farm and an orchard in the area known as Camp Garden, which was along Oak Creek. He began to haul his produce goods to the City of Flagstaff where he sold them and then he would return to his farm in Oak Creek with goods from that city.
Theodore sent for his wife Sedona and their two children. She mounted a train with her children and belongings that was headed to the mining town of Jerome. Theodore was waiting in Jerome for his family to arrive and when they did he put his family and family possessions on a wagon and headed towards Oak Creek. They all arrived to their new home on October 12, 1901. They built a two-story house and established a small store where they sold their goods to the local residents. The Schnebly’s hired road crews to build what is now known as Schnebly Hill Road. This road provided a much better way to take their crops to Flagstaff.
Schnebly Family Tragedy
On June 12, 1905, Sedona’s five-year-old daughter Pearl was killed when she became tangled in the reigns on her pony and she was trampled to death. They buried their daughter in their front yard and Sedona became very depressed. The Schnebly’s returned to Missouri in an effort to improve Sedona’s heath.
Sedona’s husband eventually decided that he would like to return to farming and the family moved to Boyero, Colorado. Their economic situation was a difficult one and Theodore’s health worsened. His medical doctor recommended that he should return to Arizona for health reasons and they did.
Sedona was suffering from cancer and on November 13, 1950, she died. Her husband Theodore, outlived her by almost four years, he died March 13, 1954. both Sedona and Theodore are buried in Cooks Cedar Glade Cemetery off Airport Road. The remains of their daughter Pearl were also moved to Cooks Cedar Glade Cemetery.