Meet & Greet
The Horsemen Lodge is based on the outskirts of a city it’s very proud of. Rooted in the thrilling vocations that the Southwest is famous for (such as farming, ranching, and lumber), Flagstaff’s history is worthy of being shared. We have dedicated this page to doing just that.
Flagstaff’s name is derived from a celebration of our country’s centennial. On July 4, 1876 a group of campers at the base of the San Francisco Peaks stripped a pine tree and used it to raise an American flag. This tree inspired the name “Flagstaff.”
It wasn’t until a railroad was laid directly through the heart of Flagstaff, that the city truly thrived. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroads included Flagstaff in its network of railroads in 1880. When Santa Fe Railroads purchased it in 1885, Flagstaff was officially connected to St. Louis and the Pacific ocean. Once connected, tourism quickly became a primary contributor to Flagstaff’s economy. The city’s close proximity to the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Walnut Canyon, and the San Francisco Peaks made it a popular destination. Additionally, the city’s wealth in lumber encouraged trade, all made possible by the railroads.
The Babbitt Sons
The Babbitt sons came to town in 1881 with $17,000 to spend, looking for prime ranching territory. They eventually settled in Flagstaff, creating the famous CO Bar ranch, which was passed down to subsequent generations and still exists today. The Horsemen Lodge is proud to have hosted famous CO Bar ranch workers after its opening in 1975, including Bill Howell, father to Vick and Harvey, who worked roping cattle for years.
Additionally, a local artist internationally credited for capturing the CO Bar ranching lifestyle, Bill Owens, has dined many times at The Horsemen Lodge. To this day, our restaurant has his artwork on display along with cattle brands, aged six-shooters and spurs, authentic cowboy chaps and hats, and as rumor has it, the very wagon wheels brought over by the Babbitt family, themselves!
As the city blossomed, so did its activity. Flagstaff’s saloons filled with locals near and far. As the Southwestern cowboy culture flared to life, so did the infamous shoot-outs, which was a popular recourse particularly for the crime of “cattle rustling,” or stealing of cattle.
“Cattle rustling was rampant and only conquered by stringing the culprits to a limb of a tree and riddling the bodies with bullets. Many were the shootings in the town. . . . They write about Tombstone and other early settlements, but Flagstaff was as bad as any of them” (pg. 37. Stemmer, Charles C. A Brand From the Burning. 1959).