Monday, January 4, 2010

A Touch of the Old West

We left the town of Carefree, AZ (see yesterday's entry) and its Nail Spas, Easy Street Acupuncture, and Binkley's gourmet dining businesses and headed across a line in Cave Creek Road and into another world--the town of Cave Creek.

Cave Creek can trace its history back 100 years, but Hohokam Indians, the original inhabitants of these hills, occupied the land from about 800 A.D. until 1400 A.D. and then disappeared.

The Tonto Apaches then controlled this area until gold was discovered in 1863 in central Arizona. As prospectors explored farther into their area, the Tontos resisted their efforts of expansion and also raided their mining camps.

To combat these raiders, the US Army established Fort McDowell, on the west bank of the Verde River in 1865. The actual Town of Cave Creek can trace its beginnings to the Army’s decision.

In 1874 William Rowe's discovery of gold began a rush to the area. By 1877, Jeriah Wood, a young cattleman from Missouri, established a ranch called Cave Creek Station.

Frontier Town provides a glimpse of the Old West, at least when walking past the storefronts. The shop we wandered into was selling Dirt Shirts. The story goes that a 1992 hurricane hit the Hawaiian Island of Kauai and damaged a company that printed designs on white tee shirts. Several shirts were drenched and stained with red dirt blown in by the storm. Instead of throwing out the shirts, the company dried the shirts and then printed designs on them.

The dyeing process has been refined to the point that these Red Dirt Shirts have "the soft feel of velvet and the rich color of fine cognac."

Yes, we have one.

Continuing our walk downtown, we passed this store, the Black Mountain Feed Store. With the cactus along the main road, the feed store seemed to fit the location.

And this was the same with the Pink Cadillac Boutique and Clothing Exchange--it seemed to fit here. Nevermind that I have no idea what the pink cadillac has to do with a boutique, the clothes rack along the road didn't warrant a second questioning look.

When owner Debbie Lebsock purchased a vintage school bus to bring the latest funky designer fashions to customers' homes for parties, the Pink Cadillace Boutique on wheels added another unique touch to the town of nearly 4000. A sense of the personality of Cave Creek was becoming evident.

So when we came upon the town's bike shop with bikes parked out front and others hanging above the shop's porch, we could have guessed the name. The "Flat Tire Bike Shop"--perfect.

And the unexpected greeted us when we entered the Blue Coyote Gallery. Instead of funky art, we had an opportunity see some regional contemporary and early Twentieth Century fine art and Native American art. Another surprise.

But this was nothing compared to what we experienced at the Town Dump.

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