It’s thought to be the oldest original standing building still in Sedona and later this month it celebrates a major milestone.
The U.S. Forest Service ranger station on Brewer Road turns 100 and to celebrate the city is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.
“Please come join us to celebrate a century of history and the future of Sedona’s oldest known standing historic structure as it transitions to a future park site,” Assistant Community Development Director Warren Campbell said.
Those attending are asked to carpool or walk since parking is limited. The day’s festivities will include:
- Both the house and barn will be open for viewing along with displays of historical photographs of the Ranger Station.
- Visitors can view the park master plan that proposes to restore and renovate the structures and develop a community park.
- Display of a restored 1942 fire engine from the Sedona Historical Society.
- Music by The Rice Brothers n Two food trucks, 3’s in the Trees and Yaqui Taqueria, will have food available for purchase. Complimentary ice cream.
- Sedona Historic Preservation commissioners will be available to answer questions about historic preservation and the city’s landmark program.
“When they [ranger station and barn] were built, they were part of the original commercial center of Sedona and are still considered to be the heart of the city, which make them two of the most important structures in Sedona,” said Brynn Unger, chairwoman of the Sedona Historic Preservation Commission, which is hosting the event.
The U.S. Forest Service sold the property in 2005 to a private owner. The city purchased the 3.4 acres of land in 2014 to preserve the historic buildings and develop a park, which is slated to be completed in the next five to six years.
Both the ranger station and an adjacent barn — built in 1934 — are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are designated as Sedona historic landmarks. Campbell said the park master plan calls for the house to be used as a community meeting and event space, and the barn renovated to accommodate art exhibitions, concerts, performances and private events such as weddings.
Improvements will be designed to respect the historic character of the site. Non-historic structures have been removed to prepare for future park construction.
“These structures have the potential of being of great value to the entire community, from serving as a part-time gallery, to hosting different performing arts programs, to providing a place for the community to congregate for other private or public events, all the while being a tremendous reminder of Sedona’s past,” Unger said.
A Look Back
According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination report, in 1915 Sedona District Ranger Jesse Bushnell pushed for repairs of the U.S. Forest Service log cabin and the addition of an outhouse.
He apparently had the support of Forest Supervisor Raymond E. Marsh, who in 1917 wrote to the District Forester in Albuquerque of plans to build a three- or four-room house.
“We want to build the best house that can be built here for $650,” he wrote.
Bushnell received standard Forest Service architectural plans for a three-room dwelling. A few months later Marsh wrote again, asking to revise the construction budget.
“Owing, however, to the high cost of materials at this time and the long distance [36 miles] over poor roads it is necessary to haul the material, it is doubtful the house can be completed on time and on budget,” he wrote. “Apparently these problems were resolved as the existing house, which replaced the log cabin, was completed that year.”
The house was later converted to offices and the barn was used as a work space for the Sedona Area Forest Service Fire Office.
The 2,000-square-foot wood barn includes a secondstory hay loft above two horse stalls. It was built by the Civilian Conservations Corps, which employed thousands of citizens during the Great Depression. About half of all corps projects were conducted on behalf of the Forest Service.
For more information on the city’s future plans for the park, visit sedonaaz.gov/rangerstation.