View this email in your browser
April 2023
Cave Creek Museum
 6140 E. Skyline Drive
Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (Physical Address)
P.O.Box 1, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 (Mailing Address) 
Volunteer Week!

APRIL 16-22

Feature Article:

Hats off to our Cave Creek Museum Volunteers!

By Buck Columna

The Cave Creek Museum was founded by a small but mighty force of volunteers. We never forget our history. Our engaged and dynamic volunteers continue to provide the organization with fresh perspective, creative solutions, daily inspiration, and endless fun.

Are you looking to dig deeper into a lifelong passion or uncover a new one?

Take a first step or continue your journey of lifetime learning? Connect with your community or make new friends outside of your own? Volunteering with Cave Creek Museum is the answer!

Our volunteers wear many hats. Volunteer projects vary throughout the museum campus with opportunities in archaeology, native cultures,

geology, education, family programs, special events, or western and mining history. But you don’t need to be a miner, an engineer, a curator, an archaeologist, a historian, an artist, or an expert to volunteer. Whatever your background, your time and contribution will be appreciated! 

Interested? Email us at or visit the "Volunteer" tab on our website by clicking HERE

Volunteers are the history and future of Cave Creek Museum. In the museum community, enjoy the camaraderie of new friends as you discover new talents and explore your own creativity.

Cave Creek Museum Featured Program
Water, Water, Not Everywhere
April 15, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Arizona is facing a water crisis. How will the shortages affect us? Learn about our current water crisis and Arizona’s water future. This program, presented several times to packed houses, has been updated to reflect current facts and analyses of 2023.
Speaker Thomas McGuire holds degrees in geology and geology education, serves as a museum volunteer, a volunteer at  the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, and a Cave Creek Town Council Member, each for more than a decade. His geology and hydrology guide to the Jewel of the Creek can be downloaded from the Desert Foothills Land Trust website.

Click HERE for additional information and registration (FREE to members).
April Events
April 8 (Sat 10:00 -11:15 a.m.): AZ GOLD MINING EXPERIENCE: Click HERE for info & tickets. (reservations required)

April 15 (Sat 2:00 - 4:00 pm.): Cave Creek Museum Presents: "Arizona's Water" - Click HERE for info & registration. 

April 16 (Sun 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.): Kiwanis Family Fun Days:
"Earth Day in the Sonoran Desert" 
Click HERE for info and to save your spot(s).
Click HERE for info & tickets. (reservations required)

Click HERE for additional information and more
Cave Creek Museum events.

Smurthwaite in Cave Creek
By Kraig Nelson, Cave Creek Museum Historian
The late Francis C. Carlson, Cave Creek historian, tells us there were many infusions of Eastern capital in the Cave Creek Mining District. One massive infusion, per Mrs. Carlson, was the Grand Traverse and Mining Company with an investment of twenty mines in the Cave Creek area. Base operations were set up southwest of Gold Hill (Cave Creek’s initial gold rush, 1874) located in today’s Desert Mountain Golf Community. The camp contained an office building, cook tent, bunkhouse, and a blacksmith shop.

Charles A. Smurthwaite, a mining engineer from Traverse City, Michigan, came to Cave Creek in 1903 to oversee the work on all 20 mines. Of the 20 mines, three survived as patented (true ownership as opposed to a mining claim) mines: the Blue Boy, the New Hope, and the White Eagle. This article will focus on why the Smurthwaite name lives prominently and in perpetuity in metropolitan Phoenix (and yet, most have never heard the name).

Although Charles Smurthwaite worked in Cave Creek, he lived in Phoenix with his wife Caroline and eventually their daughter Carolann. Carolann never
married and would live in the Victorian (Queen Anne style) home until 1982. Carolann left the home to the City of Phoenix for the public to view. There are fewer than one hundred 19th century homes in metropolitan Phoenix.

The Smurthwaite home was located at 640 North 7th Street. In 1994, the home was moved, twenty-six blocks, to 1317 West Jefferson Street and serves as the entrance to the Pioneer and Military Memorial Park.  The house also serves as the information center for this important cemetery. Interestingly, this massive (about 3,700 burials) cemetery was moved in 1884 from between 5th and 7th Avenue to its present location, which was a former Hohokam village per archaeologists.

Also, the Smurthwaite Home is the location for the statewide Pioneers’ Cemetery Association, Inc. The home and the cemetery are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Letter from the Board President:

Happy April, Friends!

April is Volunteer Month, so I’d like to give a shout-out to the 100+ volunteers that make the Cave Creek Museum the wonderful, dynamic institution it is.  You all are the heart of the Museum, and there is not an area that you don’t affect when you share your talents and passions.  Thank you, all of you, for everything you do.

April also celebrates Arizona Gives Day on the 4th.  I hope we can count on all our members and supporters to step up and help us meet our goal for 2023.  This year, 100% of the Museum’s Arizona Gives donations will go to The Veterans Memory Garden. Please consider making a donation to help bring this special garden to life.

The Veterans Memory Garden, set in a peaceful environment on museum grounds, will be unique as a living, constantly evolving experiential garden.

Six flags, one for each branch of the military, will mark six sections of the garden. In the center, Cave Creek veterans and the unknown fallen will be honored. Desert flora, flags and other thoughtful elements will weave through the garden.

We invite you to share in the creation of this special garden with your 2023 Arizona Gives donation.  You may visit the Museum’s AZ Gives page
HERE or donate directly financially or with an “in-kind” gift on our webpage by clicking HERE

Thank you so much for helping us achieve this dream of a community site that will honor all our veterans.

Darlene Southern, President
Cave Creek Museum Board of Directors

Letter from the Desk of Evelyn Johnson:

Dear Cave Creek Museum Family,

Miners’ Dinner was thrown a curve ball by Mother Nature, but the show must go on! And it did, thanks to the efforts of co-chairs Jane Heidel and Diane Dollison, volunteers, the Horny Toad, and staff. Miners’ Dinner has experienced cold, heat, and even wind since its debut in 2008 but rain, a lot of it, was a new hurdle. We now know we can do anything since our largest fundraiser was a success. A special thank you to each attendee for being flexible and supporting the Museum!
April 16-22 is Volunteer Week!

This week we spotlight inspiring individuals whose seeds of kindness, planted through volunteering, improve the community. This celebration began in1974 and provides the perfect occasion to say thank you. It also challenges us to do better and look for ways to be active participants, joining hands to impact our local communities and calling for more support.

Not only is the world enhanced, but volunteers reap other benefits. Volunteering brings new friends, connections with the community, new skills, and even advances careers.

Volunteering boosts mental and physical health by reducing stress, combatting depression, keeping you mentally stimulated, and providing a sense of purpose. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your skills.
In short, volunteering makes you happy.
Of course, you already know all this because you have experience in volunteering. If you are new to the museum or the community, please consider us as a happiness place for you to spend time, reaping many benefits.
To all our volunteers: we would not be able to do what we do without YOU!  We celebrate your gifts of time and talents that make this community all that it is.

~Evelyn Johnson,  Executive Director
Our Volunteers Are Special

The Cave Creek Museum got its start by a small but energized group of community-minded volunteers. Now, 52 years on, we are still guided by the singular mission of our volunteers to preserve the history of the local foothills region. Their example of dedication continues to inspire us and our future is still in the hands of our volunteers.
One of our special volunteers is Mia. “I like learning new things,” says Mia. “I was raised here and I keep finding out more about my community, about a place that I’ve lived in my whole life. Over the past year of volunteering, I gained so much knowledge; it’s been eye opening in so many ways.
“I used to be an introvert. Volunteering at the museum has helped me be more comfortable in approaching new people and talking in public. I have conversations with people of different backgrounds and ages, which gives me a bigger perspective on my own life.
“This experience,” says Mia, “gave me the confidence and skills to join my school’s newspaper as a journalist. Because of my background working in the museum shop, handling purchases and balancing the register, I was appointed treasurer of my school’s literary magazine. Helping in our kids’ programs even makes me a better babysitter! Cave Creek Museum has become like a second home for me.”
Mia is a high school sophomore.
Museum Store News:
Look What's Happening
at the Cave Creek
Museum Store
in April

Make the Museum Store one of your favorite shopping haunts! Find books galore on Arizona and the Southwest, artisan jewelry-handcrafted by local artists, Native American items, and other wonderful gifts!
New inventory is constantly appearing on our shelves.
The Store at the Cave Creek Museum is always operating during regular Museum hours, but during “closed” hours and summer, just give us a call at 480-488-2764 and we’ll open just for YOU!

Remember. we don't charge sales tax and members get an
additional 10% off purchases.

Are you full of Bright Ideas? Then you’re just the person to join the Museum’s Event Committee!  Conceive and plan programs like our monthly Cave Creek Museum Presents. Start Museum book club!  Organize a Paint and Sip party! This is a great committee for someone who doesn’t have a lot of volunteer time and would like to create fun and interesting programs for membership and community.  Reach out by email HERE to Debbie Clement and become a Creator!

Album of Events:
***A Very Special Event***
Annual Miners' Dinner
Perfect weather set the stage for the annual Miners’ Dinner, with a Stamp Mill Run, blacksmithing demonstration, al fresco dining, cowboy balladeer Mike Ewing, a fashion show featuring legendary Watson’s Hat Shop, Chico’s at The Summit, jewelry by Leslie Jarand, Veterans Memory Garden information, and a special thank you to Executive Director Evelyn Johnson and Administrative Assistant JoAnn Stuckey. In tried-and-true fashion the Miners’ Dinner was once again a fun and successful Museum event, especially due to the hard work of coordinators Diane Dollison and Jane Heidel.  The evening saw both women recognized as “Museum Volunteers of the Year.”
Photo Left:  Administrative Assistant Jo Ann Stuckey and Executive Director Evelyn Johnson receive gifts given in grateful appreciation by Jane Heidel and Diane Dollison, representing the entire museum community.

Photo Right: Gratefully acknowledging volunteers of the year, Jane Heidel and Diane Dollison (center) are Jo Ann Stuckey and Evelyn Johnson.
Photo Left: An abundance of fantastic silent auction opportunities tempted guests.

Photo Right: Board Member Chris Kempster, Official Cave Creek Museum blacksmith Paul "Dief" Diefenderfer, and Board Member Steve Goldberg enjoy the evening.
Volunteer models from the Chico’s and Watson Hats fashion show.
Everyone Loves a Parade!
Young museum volunteer Kora, Alexis, Mia along with Honey the donkey are ready for the Rodeo Days Parade.
Ready to march with Honey the donkey are: Bob Flach, Buck Columna, Greg Barnhart, Pete Peterson, Ann Alpeter, Joe Zylwitis, Darlene Southern
Greg Barnhart, Ann Alpeter, Merridi Haskell, Debbie Clement, Joe Zwylitis, Pete Peterson line up for the parade.
Bored? 'Looking for something fun to do
in the new year?

Discover the Riches in Volunteering!
Volunteer opportunities abound at the Cave Creek Museum. Do you enjoy talking about history? Being a docent could be perfect for you? History, however, isn't your only option. Volunteer opportunities at our Cave Creek Museum abound! Which of these areas is calling YOU?
* Event Planning
* Hospitality
* Maintenance
* Technology
* Museum Store
* Education
* Office Assistant
* Exhibits / Collections Management
* And MORE
At the Cave Creek Museum, there’s a spot for you!

Become part of a lively, engaging community of volunteers passionate about supporting our Cave Creek Museum while making new friends and giving back to our community.
For more information, view the volunteering page on our website


If you've missed any of our Nuggets
e-newsletter OR would like to enjoy reading some of our past issues, simply click

The  Cave Creek Museum's Community Partner for April is
Sundial Pilates.
Cave Creek Museum Board of Directors
President: Darlene Southern 
Vice-President: Tammy Causey
Treasurer: Pam DiPietro
Secretary: Molly Tufts
Board Members
Colin "Buck" Columna
Joe Dollison
Steve Greenberg
Chris Kempster
Nina Spitzer
Administrative Staff
Evelyn Johnson, Executive Director
Jo Ann Stuckey, Museum Administrator

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Cave Creek Museum · 6140 Skyline Drive · Cave Creek, AZ 85327 · USA