Freaky Foot Tours - Flagstaff's Premier Haunted Walking Tour
One of my favorite pastimes while researching haunted buildings and homes for Freaky Foot Tours is learning about the townspeople behind the stories. The Flagstaff Public Library actually has an entire section that contains everything from early pioneer’s diaries to yearbooks from the 1930s to local historians memoirs of life in this old mountain town. Some day I’ll write a blog spot on all the resources I’ve found while researching these past 15 years. However, today I want to write a tribute to one of my all-time favorite characters from Flagstaff’s past, Dr. R.O. Raymond.
Any local account of Dr. Raymond is bound to include the adjective “beloved” because the man left his stellar mark on the town. Born in the Mid-West, he graduated in 1904 from medical school in St. Louis and traveled to Williams, Arizona for his health. Some sources say he was a “lunger,” others mention a form of arthritis. Either way, the dry temperate climate of Arizona proved to be beneficial to his health as it was for so many others. Doc didn’t stay long in Williams before making his way east to Flagstaff. He was quickly absorbed into the community and practiced medicine until shortly before his death in 1959. He was an official doctor for the town’s lumber mill as well as maintaining a private practice. However, it was Doc’s elegant and original lifestyle during an era of tough, western conformity that makes him so memorable.
Dr. Raymond built a New Mexican-styled office-home on Leroux Street soon after settling in Flagstaff. The building, which is a stop on some of our Freaky Foot Tours, is an elongated, brick structure that abuts an alley and has a fenced backyard. Raymond spent hours back here during the spring and summer months, tending to his large organic garden. The produce from it was legendary and Doc was often seen walking through town, accompanied by his beloved corgis, delivering organic vegetables to his patients. The gifts of ground flour, honey and squash often came with a gentle reprimand to the recipients to drink less, stop smoking and eat a balanced diet. The fact that Dr. Raymond delivered all the above and remained in such high esteem in town speaks volumes about the man.
Doc was considered an early ecologist and, according to Platt Cline in his book Mountain Town, he usually traveled with bags of grass and flower seeds that he spread liberally about. In his later years, Raymond was known to close up his office and, in the company of his corgis, travel with the Basque sheepherders on their journey south. One line from a plaque on his grave site states, “Ralph Oliver Raymond, pioneer, physician, stockman and humanitarian, devoted his life to improving the medical and general welfare of Northern Arizona’s early citizens.” A fitting tribute to a man years ahead of his time, a man the town was fortunate to call Doc.
When the day and time have arrived you’ll meet your group at the proper location. We ask our guests to arrive five to ten minutes early so your guide has time to greet your party and check you in. The guide will have the night’s itinerary at hand so your job is to show up in comfortable clothes and walking shoes and be prepared for whatever pops up during the tour. Several of our guests have captured orbs on phone cameras so feel free to snap away. Freaky Tours would love it if you share any images you capture and we’re working on a website where images and experiences can be shared.