Cave Creek Stamp Mill brings gold mining history to life

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- Gold mining history is being brought to life in Cave Creek. Cave Creek Museum is beginning monthly demonstrations of its massive, historic Stamp Mill.

"It's what brought people here and kept them here," says Evelyn Johnson of the Cave Creek Museum. "That gold fever."

The mill dates back to 1880. Large and heavy stamp mills were used in the late 1800s and through the 1920s to crush hard rock ore so that the gold could be separated and saved.

At one time, many such mills were reported to exist in the Cave Creek Mining District. The Museum's "Golden Reef Mine Stamp Mill" was declared to be an Arizona State Historic Property by Arizona State Parks in 1986.

There have not been any operational Stamp Mills in Maricopa County since the closure of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in 2011, which housed a 5-Stamp Mill. And this is the only operational 10-Stamp Mill in the state.

Thanks to many volunteers and a lot of elbow grease, it works just like it did back in the day. Because it takes five people to operate the Stamp Mill, the Mill will operate for 10 minutes at a time.

If you'd like to check out the Stamp Mill for yourself, it will run again on Nov. 11, and on Dec. 3.

For more information:
Cave Creek Museum
6140 Skyline Dr.
Cave Creek
Call (480) 488-2764 or visit