Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Snowflake Monument

The Snowflake Monument
Justin Fairbanks, sculptor

Jesse N. Smith (standing by carriage), Ira Hinckley (seated in carriage), Lucy Flake holding her daughter Roberta, William J. Flake, and Erastus Snow.
Additional person in carriage is L. John Nuttal, historian.

     A new pioneer settlement was begun on July 21, 1876, when William J. Flake and his wives Lucy and Prudence 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. (Prudence remained at home for health reasons.)  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 the 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 town site. 
     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 were established, irrigation systems built, and beautiful brick home created.  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 throughout the world.
     This monument was sponsored by the Snowflake Heritage Foundation and funded by the generous donations of townspeople and descendants of the pioneers, it was dedicated on July 21, 2000 by James E. Faust, acting in behalf of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, grandson of Ira Hinckley.

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