2015 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLEThistory archive
History Archive Photo
Babbitt Brothers, Flagstaff

© Reprinted with permission from
Images of America: Flagstaff
by James E. Babbitt
& John G. Degraff III

>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.
A Familiar Name
The Babbitt family has been a household name in Northern Arizona since 1886. So, when it came time to commission a book about Flagstaff, who better to write it than a Babbitt?

By Kelly Kramer

Flagstaff James E. Babbitt's grandfather knew a thing or two about the grocery business. After running a successful store on Cincinnati's Price Hill, it seemed only natural that he'd open a grocery when he and his four brothers came to Flagstaff on the railroad in 1886. But the Babbitt boys had a bigger idea — cattle ranching.

"That was a very tough business for a variety of reasons," Jim Babbitt says. "They lost money in the early years, and their financial backer, Gerhardt Verkamp, encouraged the brothers to diversify with something they knew how to do."

So, in 1889, the Babbitts built a sandstone building in downtown Flagstaff, and the 30-by-70-foot grocery quickly became a popular destination for settlers and visitors alike. It expanded rapidly over the years until, at one point, it became the largest mercantile in Arizona. The store also supplied goods, including saddles, oil lamps, food and hardware, to Indian trading posts across Northeastern Arizona, several of which were also managed by the Babbitts.

Today, Jim Babbitt runs a successful retail operation out of the very same building, and the cattle business, which eventually did flourish, operates the same way it did in the 1800s — without the assistance of modern, motorized aids.

Images of the Babbitt Brothers store are just a few of the 180 vintage photographs that appear in Images of America: Flagstaff, which was co-authored by Jim Babbitt and John G. DeGraff III. Although many of the photographs in the book come from the authors' personal collections, Babbitt and DeGraff also drew from the special collection at Northern Arizona University, Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson.

"I always had so much going on that I didn't think I could tackle a project like this," Babbitt says. "But more than a year-and-a-half ago, I cleared my calendar and talked to the publisher again. I set my own deadline and the book was born."

Many of the book's images hold special sentimental value for Babbitt, but one stands out as his favorite — the photograph of Mount Agassiz that appears just before the table of contents.

"The photo was taken by Alexander Gardner, who was the official photographer for the Kansas Pacific Railway survey," Babbitt says. "He took the first shot of what is now the Flagstaff area. It resonates because it shows nothing but the forest and the grasslands and the mountain. There's no evidence of any human occupation. That's the thing that's changed so much about Flagstaff over the years — it's experienced such radical growth."

>> Back to History Archive


Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

 

Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

Travel GuidesThere's so much to see and do in Arizona. Let our online travel guide be your one-stop resource for planning your next Arizona adventure... [more]

site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

© Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.