A brief history of Snowflake.
Click on pictures for a larger view.

William J. FlakeWilliam J. Flake and his family were sent by Brigham Young of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to help the Mormon colonies settle in Arizona. After selling all of his land in Beaver, Utah, he and his family sacrificed all they had to settle in Arizona. However, all of the good land was occupied. They had a strong desire to settle on the Silver Creek. The area was owned by a man named James Stinson. He wanted $12,000 for his ranch which occupied the area of the Silver Creek. The Flake family was determined to go to the ranch on Silver Creek even though they didn't have enough to pay for the place. After negotiating with Stinson, William Flake had the price reduced to $11,000 in cash. The property was to be paid for with Utah grade cattle (all Arizona cattle were of Mexican breed). They took possession of Stinson Valley on July 21, 1878.

Erastus SnowAfter William Flake purchased his ranch, Mormon settlers began to move to the new settlement. Erastus Snow was the Mormon apostle in charge of Arizona colonization, so part of the settlers wanted to name the town for him; others wanted to name it Flake. Erastus Snow visited the settlement and two days after sent back a message naming the new Silver Creek settlement Snow Flake.

Inscription on the old monument at the Main Street LDS Church:
On July 21, 1878, six Latter-Day Saints and their families settled in this valley. They were William J. Flake, (Leader of the group) James M. Flake, James Gale, Jesse Brady, Alexander Stewart and Thomas West. They purchased their property of James Stinson a Non-Mormon colonist, who settled here in 1873, and named the settlement Snowflake in honor of Erastus Snow and William J. Flake.
So, the long and short of this story is that Snowflake was named after a Mr. Snow and a Mr. Flake!

A new monument honoring the pioneers who first settled Snowflake was dedicated on July 21, 2000 by LDS Church Apostle James E. Faust. The inscription on this monument reads:
A new pioneer settlement was begun on July 21, 1878, when William J. Flake led five families, their wagons and livestock into this valley. Lucy Flake described the scene as "a beautiful place" with "clear water" and "hills covered with green grass." Within weeks, destitute families began drifting in. Friends and strangers shared the small four-room adobe home sold to Flake with the land, and worked to harvest the crops on the newly purchased ranch.

This monument portrays a trailside meeting in September 1878, which resulted in the naming of Snowflake. William J. Flake and part of his family were traveling north in a wagon to sell wool and purchase Utah cattle. Near what is now Winslow, they crossed paths with the carriage of Erastus Snow, a Mormon leader assigned to direct colonization efforts in Arizona.

Flake gave an accounting to Elder Snow of failed attempts to establish settlements along the Little Colorado River. After enduring much hardship and the death of a young son, Flake sought a better site and purchased the cattle ranch on Silver Creek.

After hearing Flake's report, Elder Snow praised him for his efforts. He suggested they name the growing settlement "Snow-Flake," and plans were made to establish a permanent town. Following their meeting, Snow and his traveling companions, Ira Hinckley and Jesse N. Smith, visited Flake's ranch and helped survey and lay out the townsite.

Though this roadside meeting was brief, it would impact generations to come. Jesse N. Smith was called to move his family to Snowflake, where he served as a prominent church and civic leader for nearly three decades.

As more pioneers arrived, schools and cultural traditions were established, irrigation systems built, and beautiful brick homes erected. This monument pays tribute to each man, woman, and child who sacrificed to build this community which is endeared in the hearts of thousands of their descendants through the world.
See a current picture of the monument on the Places of Snowflake page.

Snowflake Navigation Bar

Updated October 21, 2000