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Best Historic Locations in Flagstaff

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Lumber barons Timothy and Michael Riordan built this 40-room mansion in 1904 to house their massive families. Its architect, Charles Whittlesey, also designed the magnificent El Tovar Hotel located at the Grand Canyon. What's most interesting about the structure is that the two sides are mirror images, with a huge common area in the center, to provide each family with identical private quarters and shared living spaces. The park also includes picnic areas and a visitors center that contains exhibits. Guided tours of the mansion and grounds are held at regular times throughout the day.

Inhabiting Flagstaff's northeasternmost frontiers, Wupatki National Monument is a hidden gem of a park that contains some of the oldest architectural gems in the entire North American continent. Studies conducted after examining the site's archeological findings confirm that numerous American Indian races namely Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni inhabited this area all along the southern Colorado flatlands for almost a millennium. This 35,422 acre (14,334 hectares) semi-arid expanse is dotted with an intricate system of incredible prehistoric pueblos that are infused with architectural sensibilities from various tribes, most notably from the Kayenta Anasazi, the Sinagua, and Cohonina. The Wupatki ruins are by far the largest and most noticeable structure in the park, with over 32 separate dwellings under its wing.

At the foot of Mount Elden, there once lived a civilization which traded as far as Mexico and the California coast. These people were known as the Sinagua. This site was thought to be part of an extensive trading post across the southwest. The remnants of the pueblo can be visited at anytime, however the Arizona Natural History Association, Northern Arizona University and the Coconino National Forest offer guided ones every day. Throughout the year, the archaeological teams educate the public in excavation techniques, artifact identification and other scientific endeavors. Overall, it's a great place for kids to discover the wonders of both natural as well as human history.

In the heart of the Arizona High Desert, the remains of a 50,000-year old meteor impact, which crashed with a force greater than 20-million tons of TNT under detonation, await exploration. The hole is 550 feet (167 meters) deep and nearly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) in circumference, and its terrain is so similar to the moon that NASA used it as a training site for Apollo Astronauts. The Meteor Crater Visitor Center features exhibits and multimedia presentations and there is a gift shop on-site. It's located approximately 37 miles (59 kilometers) east of Flagstaff on Interstate-40 and it serves as a somber reminder of how cosmological events can affect life on the planet.

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