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May 2023
Cave Creek Museum
 6140 E. Skyline Drive
Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (Physical Address)
P.O.Box 1, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 (Mailing Address) 
Don't forget to vote
attend Cave Creek Museum's Annual Meeting!
Nominations for Cave Creek Museum Board of Directors
The Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the slate of candidates for election at the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 9, at Dorothy’s Hall, Christ Episcopal Church,
35500 Cave Creek Road, Carefree.
C. Buck Columna was a board appointee this year, but runs for his own full-term. Buck has been very active at the museum, such as chairing the Spaghetti Western fundraiser and more recently, organizing the museum float for the Rodeo Days Parade.

Marcia DAlessandro, upon retiring, nurtured a passion for the natural desert. She joined the Desert Awareness Committee, became a Master Gardener, and is overseeing the Veterans Memory Garden project.
Brandon Hamilton has served on several history-related nonprofits. He decided to get his real estate license in 2019, leaving behind a TV career. He is handy with tools so may become part of the Dream Team.
Keith Otsuka, a US Air Force Academy graduate, was a test pilot and later had an impressive career in various aspects of the aviation industry. His interests in history and archaeology drew him to the museum.
David Smith spent 40+ years working for the state of New York. After moving to Cave Creek, he became involved in town government, sitting on many committees and serving on Town Council. David has a keen understanding of budgets and will bring that skill to the museum.

HERE for more detailed nominee bios and photos.

Nominating Committee:
Tom McGuire, chair; Steve Greenberg; Stephanie Bradley
Cave Creek Museum Featured Program
Story of the Unknown Soldier
May 20, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Almost exactly a year ago today, Matthew Scott’s hosted the CCMP: The Story of the Unknown Soldier.

His presentation focused on the ‘Selection and Burial of the First Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. It was, to say the least, a riveting program as he described the emotion-wrenching process by which the first real unknown soldier from the battlefields of France was selected, the accolades from France and all the world heaped on this anonymous soldier who represented the thousands of unnamed men who fell in battle, and the pomp and ceremony that accompanied the soldier’s reunification with his homeland and interment in the crypt at Arlington National Cemetery.

Matthew’s research includes the use of a report documented by his grandfather, who was a clerk in the Cemetery Division of the Department of War, and who was directed to document the details of the ceremony in France and the burial in Arlington in November of 1921.

This stirring presentation was the catalyst for the Veterans’ Memory Garden that will be sited on the Cave Creek Museum ground as a trip and show of appreciation to all that served and sacrificed in the name of our country. Groundbreaking was February 28, 2023 and it is anticipated that the dedication will take place on December 7, 2023.   

Do consider joining us for this wonderful "Unknown Soldier" event. Click
HERE to purchase your ticket(s). Museum members are free, but must register to hold a seat.

May Events
May 9 (Tues 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.): Annual Membership Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation: Click HERE for info. 

May 13 (Sat 10:00 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.): The Arizona Gold Mining Experience - Click HERE for info & tickets. 

May 19 (Fri 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.: Arizona Ghost Adventures - Click HERE for info & tickets.

May 20 (Sat 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.): Cave Creek Museum Presents:
"Story of the Unknown Soldier" 
Click HERE for info.

May 21 (Sun 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.): Kiwanis' Family Fun Days Presents:
"Legends of the West with the Singing Cowboy" 
Click HERE for info and tickets.

May 31 (Weds 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.): Cave Creek Museum's Last Day of the Season. See you again on October 1st.

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

First Store in Cave Creek
By Kraig Nelson, Cave Creek Museum Historian
When did the first general store open in Cave Creek and who was the proprietor? Cave Creek history aficionados would suggest Jeriah and Amanda Wood’s Cave Creek Station, established in 1877, which did become the initial town center, might be the answer. The first general store reported by the late Cave Creek historian, Frances C. Carlson, was on Continental Mountain and the proprietor was William B. Hellings.

Mr. Hellings’ name is embedded in early Salt River Valley history. He was one of the founders of Phoenix, one of 26 signatories. He started as a civilian storekeeper or fort-sutler at Camp (later Fort) McDowell, garrisoned in 1865, and keenly observed the opportunity for feeding cavalry horses and producing flour in the new Arizona Territory (2/24/1863) by revitalizing Hohokam irrigation canals. He became one of the first homesteaders (1,280 acres, with his brother Edward) in early Phoenix. In 1871, Hellings established the Salt River Flouring Mill (later, Hellings’ Mill), providing 30,000 pounds of flour a day. He received the first military contract to provide flour and hay to the initial fifteen territorial forts.
Later, the prospect of gold in Cave Creek attracted Mr. Hellings’ entrepreneurial spirit and he became one of the most important founders and investors in early Cave Creek. In 1873, with his new-found wealth, Mr. Hellings hired 50 men and built the first Cave Creek Road from Phoenix to Cave Creek.

In 1876, Mr. Hellings purchased several mines on Continental Mountain, including the Continental Mine (hence the Mountain’s name). He also purchased The Golden Star Mine, later called The Golden Reef Mine (the second ten-stamp mill at this mine is found at the Cave Creek Museum). The Golden Star Mining Corporation was soon established, and it was the first mine in the area to be capitalized with the sale of stocks, $10 million dollars in this case, just under $300 million dollars in 2023 dollars. He purchased the first ten-stamp mile on Continental Mountain for $35,000, over one-million dollars in 2023 dollars.

Hellings’ thriving Continental Mountain mining-colony included an assay office, dining room, quarters for the miners, a saloon, and … Cave Creek’s first store.

Letter from the Board President:

Hello Friends,

May always brings mixed feelings and a sense of wistfulness knowing the end of our Cave Creek Museum season is near.

The Museum celebrated a spectacular 2022-2023 Season. Our bright and shining star was The Arizona GOLD MINING EXPERIENCE!  The ever-amazing Dream Team presented this program to sell-out crowds. Most “Cave Creek Museum Presents” programs were also sell-outs, thanks to a diverse and impressive roster of speakers. Our Kiwanis’ Family Fun Days programs entertained and educated families, with several partnered and enhanced by the Desert Awareness Committee. Our two annual fundraisers were fun and successful, thanks to the passion and hard work of coordinators and volunteers. And, let's not forget the ground breaking of our Veterans Memory Garden! All in all, the Museum welcomed 4,000+ visitors from 83 Arizona zip codes, 46 states and 10+ foreign countries. Kids’ programs and school tours engaged over 750 young people.

But, don’t think we rest on our laurels during the summer months. The Museum will be a-bustle planning and preparing for the 2023-2024 season. Exhibits and

programs will be refreshed and renewed, especially with the assistance of our Education Committee. Our annual fundraisers will be tweaked to the next level. Plus, we’ll be taking huge strides integrating technology into our exhibits, thanks to the awesome skill-set of our new Museum Administrator, Kelley Francis Brown.

I invite you, our community, to be part of our passion preserving the history and culture of Cave Creek. There’s a place for you on one of our many rewarding committees. If you have a skill, a talent, and a desire to enrich your days, we have a place for you. No specific amount of time is required, and many tasks can be accomplished remotely. You learn so much, meet lots of friends, and become part of the Museum Family.

Thank you so much for continuing your love and support of the Cave Creek Museum through membership, donations and volunteering your time. Viva Cave Creek!

Darlene Southern, President
Cave Creek Museum Board of Directors

Letter from the Desk of Evelyn Johnson:

Dear Cave Creek Museum Family,

May is Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and end-of-school days!
We are busy preparing the closing events for the season and making plans for next season at the same time. It seems only yesterday it was October and we opened the front doors. Our programs and events have been well attended. All our offerings to the community could not have been accomplished without our volunteers. Many hands make light the work of many events! 
May presents three signature events for you to join and 20 more days to visit the museum for this season. Please be sure to sign up for any events that are of interest to you soon.
As the season comes to a close, the Museum enters a new phase as we say farewell and “Happy Retirement,” to Jo Ann. A special thank you to her for her dedication and her tireless gifts of

time and talents. I could not have asked for a better partner during the past two years.  

Kelley Francis Brown has joined our Museum Family as Museum Administrator. Kelley brings new talents to the position that will offer enhanced visitor experiences and she knows the value of volunteers. Please stop by to introduce yourself.
We will be making changes to the exhibits this summer and would love to have your help anytime during the summer: one day, one week or all summer activities await your helping hands. We have some fun things planned that we hope you will join us for if you are in town so as to keep you connected with the museum even though the front doors are closed.

~Evelyn Johnson,  Executive Director
Cave Creek Museum
Welcomes A New Museum Administrator

By Fran Booth
Cave Creek Museum has hired Kelley Francis Brown as museum administrator. Her responsibilities include supporting the executive director and the museum’s programs and events.

Kelley grew up in Cave Creek and has served in many different positions including involvement in the Veterans Heritage Project and working as a communication specialist for the Town of Cave Creek.

“I was fortunate to grow up here riding horses in the desert,” says Francis. “Cave Creek is known as a place where the Wild West lives. It is a joy to join the museum and be able to serve the community by keeping important stories alive and being part of sustaining Cave Creek Museum for a long time into the future.”

Kelley says she is looking forward to helping revamp several museum exhibits during the summer while the museum is closed; working on an oral histories project with the local library; archiving stories of descendants in the area; being part of helping bring the Veterans Memory Garden to life; assisting with the most popular fundraising events; and supporting the growth of the Arizona Gold Mining Experience.

Kelley is a splendid addition to the Cave Creek Museum's passionate and devoted team.
Our Volunteers Are Special

Carol Ann Anderson
"Tell Us About It"

“I am a retired  teacher, but my love of education never retired. My time volunteering with the museum’s school tours and other educational enrichment programs keeps me actively involved," says Carol Ann Anderson, volunteer since 2021. "Through volunteering with the Cave Creek Museum, I can keep in touch with what I love about teaching, making connections, and taking an active part in the curriculum. That I can still reach them, instill a love of history, spark their curiosity, see the excitement when something clicks, when they say 'So, it’s real,' as opposed to virtual games, for me that makes for a great day!”

Cave Creek Museum is a “living” history museum. Our mission is the collecting and preserving of the artifacts of the Cave Creek Mining District and the surrounding community. But, each object in our collection, whether on exhibit in our galleries or safeguarded in our archives, has a story to tell. Every pot carries the finger markings of its Hohokam creator. Every mining deed, scrapbook, or survey map is a page in the story of a pioneer’s dream of a better life.

History is storytelling and Carol Ann, as well as all our other amazing volunteers, has a few stories to tell. 


Best Wishes to Sarah

Our collections volunteer, Sarah Ziker, has taken a break from museum duties while she serves as the state vice-regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR, a non-profit, non-political service organization, has members who trace their ancestry back to the American Revolution. The DAR promotes historic preservation, education, and patriotism. 

Sarah started doing genealogy to help make a personal connection to history at a time when her son was young. Researching records to discover links to early American history was an unexpected surprise. Sarah joined the DAR to honor and preserve the memory of her patriotic ancestors.

Over the past few months, Sarah has visited chapters across the state, rode in the Phoenix Veteran's Day Parade, welcomed home veterans on the Honor Flight, and laid a wreath at the state capital during Wreaths Across America.

We wish Sarah all the best in her DAR experiences and hope to have her back with the museum soon.

Museum Store News:
Look What's Happening
at the Cave Creek
Museum Store
in May

The Museum Store is excited to welcome a wonderful new line of Southwestern jewelry! Sourced from an artisan family from Chinle, Arizona (the wife does the lapidary work, the husband silversmiths) the designs reflect a traditional Native American design with a contemporary sensibility. And, because we are purchasing the jewelry directly from the artists, we know the pieces are designed and handcrafted by Arizona Native Americans and without the “middleman,” everyone gets to enjoy stunning pieces of jewelry at very reasonable pricing. If you think the necklaces look beautiful in the photos, wait until you see them in person.
A reminder that the Cave Creek Museum exhibits are closed from June 1 thru September 30, but our store is open 9-5, Monday thru Friday in June, July, August, and September. Make the Museum Store your “place to go” this summer for gifts and books.

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 a 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!

~ What's Happening ~
In and around The Cave Creek Museum
Top: Kids learn about area mining through school tours. 

Photo Left: Tempting nibbles, but don't try sampling goodies at the Feast of Rocks! 

Photo Right: School children gather 'round the Museum's "silent miner," Hard Rock Harry. 
Photo Left: Bartenders Steve Bradley and Don Johnson
take a moment from their crucial duties. 

Photo Right: Bob Boyle spruces up "The Way West." 
 Congratulations to "Millman" Brennen Peters (left) as he receives his millman certification from Jo Ann Stuckey and Evelyn Johnson at the Miners' Dinner.
Bored? Looking for something fun to do? 
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 May is
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
Kelley Francis Brown, Museum Administrator

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Cave Creek Museum · 6140 Skyline Drive · Cave Creek, AZ 85327 · USA