There is a specialized New Age tourist industry in Sedona, where the “Harmonic Convergence” was organized by Jose Arguelles in 1987. Some purported “spiritual vortices” are said to be concentrated in the Sedona area at Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Schnebly Hill.
According to the Yavapai Native Americans, their ancestors were the first people of Sedona, descendants of “The First Lady,” daughter of the Lady of the Pearl. The Yavapai Creation Story recounts how The Lady of the Pearl was sealed in a log with the Woodpecker and sent from Montezuma Well at the beginning of a Great Flood. For days and nights to follow, it rained incessantly and flood waters rose to cover every land form on earth. After 40 days, the rain stopped, the water receded and the log finally came to rest in Sedona. The Woodpecker freed the beautiful young woman from the log and guided her to the summit of Mingus Mountain, bearing a white stone or “Pearl” her people had given her for protection on the journey. There, she met the Sun, who fell in love with her. Returning to Sedona, she bathed in an enchanted pool in Boynton Canyon. Soon afterward, she gave birth to a daughter, referred to as the “First Lady,” mother to all the Yavapai people. (Source: Spokesperson/representative of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Clarkdale, AZ.)
The Yavapai-Apache tribe were forcefully removed from the Verde Valley in 1876, to the San Carlos Indian Reservation, 180 miles southeast. 1500 people were marched, in midwinter, to San Carlos. Several hundred lost their lives. The survivors were interned for 25 years. About 200 Yavapai-Apache people returned to the Verde Valley in 1900.
The McDonald’s in Sedona, Arizona is the only one in the world with teal arches. They are not yellow because the city thought they would mesh poorly with the surrounding red rocks. The first color McDonalds offered was teal which the city accepted.
The first Anglo settler moved into Oak Creek Canyon in 1879. The early settlers were farmers and ranchers. Oak Creek Canyon was well-known for its apple orchards. In 1902, when the Sedona post office was established, there were 55 residents. In the mid-1950s, the first telephone directory listed 155 names. Parts of the Sedona area weren’t electrified until the 1960s.
Sedona began to develop as a tourist destination, vacation-home and retirement center in the 1950s. Most of the development seen today was constructed in the 1980s and 1990s. As of 2007, there are no large tracts of undeveloped land remaining.