The Story of Frontier Town
Cave Creek, Arizona
The wild west town of Cave Creek was settled in the 1870's by miners, ranchers and cattleman, but did not incorporate until 1986, and as the local Creekers would say, still wild after all these years. Today many people visit Frontier Town, an 1880's style theme town every year. What most people do not know is that there is a lot of interesting, and quirky history that surrounds the many gift shops, party pavilion, restaurant, bars and micro-brewery that exist today. Truth be told either historical fact or urban legend, it all makes for good, Creeker conversation.
Just down the street at the Cave Creek Museum is a Tubercular cabin dating back to the 1920's and 1930's. This one cabin is what remains of a local TB camp of 16 cabins. According to the Arizona Historical Society; this museum feature is the last original TB cabin in the state of Arizona. Many people moved to Arizona in hopes of reclaiming their health from this dreadful disease. According to local sources, Frontier Town was also a TB camp years later.
From 1935-1939 the building of the Bartlett Lake Dam was in process by the Work Projects Administration, as well as the Horseshoe Dam from 1940-1943. Frontier Town was a WPA camp and provided living quarters for the very hard working men and women. The WPA stamp is etched in a concrete pad and can be found in front of the outdoor BBQ near the Party Pavilion. Today this area is used for weddings, receptions and special events at The Satisfied Frog Restaurant. Word has it that this slab was where an outhouse used to sit. Have an interest in old outhouses? Just stroll down the boardwalk past a few of the shops to its new location. The WPA Project Foreman's residence; which is still in existence today; now serves as the administrative office for The Satisfied Frog Restaurant. The Leather Mill gift shop was also one of the original WPA cabins, as well as part of the Black Mountain Brewery.
In the 1950's and 1960's rock collecting was a very popular hobby for many desert enthusiasts and hikers. Rock hounds needed a first class place to shop. Seeing the need for this, the Carpenter family, long time residences since the 1940's, opened The Rock Shop in what is now the west parking lot of Frontier Town. News spread and rock hounds from all over Arizona and tourists as well, flocked to Cave Creek to the best rock shop around. The Carpenter Rock Shop remained open until 1968.
In 1946 came electricity and telephones and then in 1952 Cave Creek road was paved all the way from Phoenix. Driving north was easier and Cave Creek now had modern utilities. Around this time Peewee Simons and her husband purchased what was left of the WPA camp, and turned it into a Guest Ranch/Bed and Breakfast. Her and her husband took up residence in the WPA Foreman's former home. Peewee was just that, a tiny, demure woman. However, uncommon for a woman in her day and age, she had a strong head for business, was honest, forthright and had everyone's attention when she entered a room. But rumor has it, that more went on at her Guest Ranch then she or the town bargained for, and it wasn't business as usual.
In 1969 Herman King purchased Peewees Guest Ranch. Part of the deal was that Peewee, then a widow, could still live in her home. Peewee passed away one year later. She was found dead in her home. When Herman passed on he left Frontier Town to his daughter Beverly and her husband Julian Peagler, today the current owners. Marc the son of Beverly and Julian keeps the peace at Frontier Town as the Town Marshall. Since installing security video cameras in the office of the Satisfied Frog, computer video recordings sometimes show more than they expected to see. Every once in a while Crazy Ed will discover on tape an unexplained translucent white entity moving about the main room of the house. Who knows, this could be Peewee trying to tell us something about her past life. So, come visit Frontier Town where all in one day, you can get hitched, shop, dine and wet your whistle at one of the last wild west towns in Maricopa County, where Cave Creek is more than just a pretty face. And maybe you just might catch a glimpse of the past, ghostly that is.
Photo courtesy of ThompsonPhotographic.com
Hours: Sun-Thurs 10-6pm, Fri,Sat 10-8pm
Address: 6245 E. Cave Creek Rd
Come visit us in Cave Creek, Arizona