CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The town of Cave Creek was named after the small stream on the western side of the community,

With water access and the natural protection of a cave, the area has been inhabited by humans for quite some time.

Petroplyphs found near Cave Creek

Prehistoric sites dot the area around Spur Cross Ranch where this rock has been etched with petroglyphs. (SOURCE: Spur Cross Ranch)

The location was used by the Hohokam and Tonto-Apache. Reminders of their presence there can still be found in petroglyphs, tools and prehistoric sites. Spur Cross Ranch contains nearly 90 archaeological sites used by the Hohokam Indians between 700 and 1200 A.D.-- Hohokam petroglyphs dot the area. Up until the 1870s, the area was considered Apache territory.

Fort McDowell, Arizona

The location was named Camp McDowell when established in 1865, and later renamed Fort McDowell in 1867. (SOURCE: Arizona Historical Society) 

When Camp McDowell was built in 1865, soldiers would have to travel in an indirect route between Camp McDowell and Fort Whipple, which is near the territorial capitol of Prescott. They would make their way west from Camp McDowell through Phoenix, then northwest to Wickenburg and then farther north to Prescott.

Five years passed until a quicker route was found. The Stoneman military trail, finished in 1870, significantly shortened the traveling distance between the two busy military posts, eliminating a day's ride from the trip.

In this area, the trail ran by a creek, some natural springs and plenty of grass for the horses. This shortcut and peaceful resting spot eventually became the spot where the town of Cave Creek grew.

The earliest settlement was built by Jeriah Wood, who constructed a homestead that came to be known as Cave Creek Station. Wood sold supplies to prospectors drawn to findings of gold in the Bradshaw Mountains.

Cave Creek Road, completed in 1873, linked the growing community to Phoenix. By 1886 there were enough children living in the area to warrant the building of a one-room school house. 

Construction of Horseshoe and Bartlett dams in the 1930s saw the area take a prosperous turn for the better-- with workers spending both time and money in town. 

These days, you'll find Cave Creek's streets busy with visitors who come for the resorts, world class dining, honky-tonk saloons and art galleries in an authentic frontier town surrounded by Sonoran beauty at its finest.

[SPECIAL SECTION: What's in a name]


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