A temple with the traditional angel-tipped spire stands on a little juniper-covered hill in the northeastern Arizona town of Snowflake as a testament to the hard work and sacrifices of early Mormon pioneers. These ranching and farming families, sent from fruitful Utah to colonize a land only marginally suitable for farming, became experts in irrigation as they struggled to utilize the waters of Silver Creek and the Little Colorado River. Through sheer determination, they turned alluvium into verdant fields, and the surrounding well-drained Great Basin Desert Shrub became their pastures. But their religion and their families were always the main focus. Today the growing communities of Snowflake, Taylor, and Shumway attract new residents and visitors alike with the beauty of their natural setting, mild yet distinct seasons, and hometown charm. Many historic pioneer-era buildings have been restored to honor the area’s unique past.
Author Bio: Author Catherine H. Ellis is a descendant of these early Mormon families and has spent nearly 30 years researching Navajo County history. With images drawn from the Taylor/Shumway and Snowflake Heritage Foundations, as well as from numerous shoeboxes in private homes, this retrospective chronicles the legacy of the pioneers who first answered the call to settle the area in 1876 and the towns that they—and their descendants—worked so hard to build.
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