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Sedona’s First Realtor: Faye Crenshaw
Courtesy of Sedona Historical Society

Faye Crenshaw had lived on Big Park Ranch since 1945 (where The Ridge Racquet Club and Spa in VOC is today) and had worked in a few movies, doubling for riders and stars like Joan Crawford and Rhonda Fleming. During that time, she recognized what the movie industry was going to do for Sedona’s development.  People were going to see the area in color on the silver screen and were going to want to see red rock country for themselves! So when the time came for her to start a business, she opened a real estate office in Sedona. That was January 1, 1950.

Faye’s office was in Uptown on the east side of Hwy. 89A (if you look above the door of “Red Dirt Shirt Co,” her sign is still there). In 1950, there were a dozen or so businesses in upper Sedona (Uptown) and a few in lower Sedona (West Sedona). None of them were for sale. Houses were homes and not for sale. Lots and land were the original market. 

You could buy a lot for about $150, a homestead for $3,500-$7,000, depending on improvements, accessibility and distance from Oak Creek - the source for hauling water. Since customers were few and far between, she put a sign out that said “notary public, public stenography, income tax, insurance.”  She was also a special agent for Arizona Public Service. And, when the Sedona Chamber of Commerce first organized, Faye’s office became their headquarters and she their Secretary - for free! 

In showing properties, particularly tracts of vacant land and homesteads, she walked ahead of her customers and shifted her eyes from right to left looking for a rattler or other “hazards,” and then without missing a word, would gently swing in the opposite direction. She acknowledged the risks in showing strangers remote properties by herself. She wore blue jeans, carried a knife in her pocket, and depended on her skills as a working ranch woman. 

Obtaining a listing could be an exciting adventure. One time Faye went to look at a property and the owner continued to clean a table full of guns as he began to point out the corners - a fence yonder, a hill there, a tree the other side of...when suddenly, the man began to shout, shoot and cuss!  Shocked, scared and mad, she whirled to face him and started shouting and cussing, too. This was a tactic that worked on wild animals, so why not him? It turned out the man was addressing his hunting dog returning late from last night’s hunt!

Faye admitted that she always drove a little fast. She got regular complaints from customers who bounced over ruts in her old ranch pickup. They always seemed to be glad to get back from their real estate tours with her. 

Faye took a sabbatical from real estate about 1961, returned to the business in 1971, but after two years she found her heart was not in it. Her beloved Sedona had changed too much. She said it broke her heart to see the homesteader buildings of locally quarried and shaped stone be torn down. She retired to Lake Montezuma but kept her Uptown building for many years. A friend referred to it as “the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.”

The Sedona Historical Society operates the Sedona Heritage Museum on the Jordan Farmstead at 735 Jordan Rd in Jordan Park. The Museum is open daily at 11 am, with the last tour beginning at 3 pm. The Museum’s exhibits include stories of area pioneers, movies made in Sedona, cowboy life, vintage vehicles and antique orchard and fruit-processing equipment demonstrations. This farm dates from Sedona’s earliest homesteaders. The red rock home and apple packing barn were built by the Jordan family in the 1930s and 1940s and are Historic Landmarks.

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