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Academy History

Snowflake Academy Foundation > Academy History

The country was raw and untamed when Mormon Pioneer families began to settle Silver Creek Valley 130 years ago.  However, the struggle of surviving in a harsh environment did not make them forget the value of education. Within months a school for the lower grades was established.

In 1888 the Snowflake Stake Academy was established to provide education beyond the 8th grade for all who cared to attend. After struggling in borrowed or rented facilities for a decade, a new brick Academy building was erected in 1901 on a gentle elevation south of the existing village of Snowflake.

Snowflake Stake Academy in 1913


Academy enrollment grew rapidly and a large addition to the building was completed between 1908 and 1910. Three months after the completion, disaster struck. The brick structure burned to the ground on Thanksgiving Day with only a few pieces of furniture being saved.

Loss of the building did not halt classes, and on the following Monday school was held using various church buildings and rooms in some private homes. Two weeks later on December 10th the Stake Officers met in Snowflake and reconstruction of the Academy was discussed. It was decided to rebuild.

Funds were raised by donations from LDS members in Snowflake and surrounding communities. This second Academy structure was to be built of locally quarried stone.  Church headquarters in Salt Lake City pledged $1000 each time the local people raised $1000. On November 13, 1913 the new building was completely paid for when it was dedicated in grand ceremonies by the Mormon Church President Joseph F. Smith.

For the next decade Snowflake Academy educated students from 16 districts including Taylor, Show Low, Shumway, Pinedale, Woodruff, Pinetop, and other more distant towns. In 1924 the Snowflake Union High School District was created and the Stake Academy was closed as a Church Educational Institution. The Academy building was leased to the State of Arizona for 99 years at $1 a year.

The imposing structure remained an integral part of the Snowflake school campus until the late 1990s. In 2001 the Academy building was turned over to the town of Snowflake. Restoration plans have been made and  are now underway to restore the historic building to its former glory and renewed purpose as a city library.



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