Stamp mill moved down mountain to CC Museum

By Curtis Riggs | March 11, 2009

CAVE CREEK – Important pieces of Cave Creek history came down Continental Mountain in 20,000-pound chunks last week.

Cave Creek Museum officials, with help from A.P.S. representatives, were moving the 10-stamp ore mill from the Marty and Joni Chattman property at the old Sierra Vista Guest Ranch to the museum on Basin Road.

Cave Creek Museum Executive Director Evelyn Johnson estimates the equipment weighs 60,000 pounds.

Stamp mills were used to crush rocks to get at the gold ore in the rocks during the heyday of mining in the Cave Creek district from the 1870s to the early 1900s. The stamp mill and asso-ciated mining equipment, some of which is still on the mountain, was used for the Golden Reef Mine.

Museum board me-mber, and mining enthusiast, Al Zeman, was instrumental in getting the stamp mill down the mountain.

Charlie Connell, of the Phoenix Mining Museum, was also instrumental in getting the stamp mill moved because of his A.P.S, connections. The stamp mill at the Phoenix Mining Museum is only a five-stamp mill.

The stamp mill, at the former Phoenix Mine, which is at the entrance to the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, was a 100 lb-stamp mill. Old timers say only 95 of the 100 stamps on that mill ever worked.

Zeman estimates it and other mining equipment was taken to the Chattman property between 1880 and 1890. Mules pulling wagons moved the equipment up the mountain.

The mine was at the top of Continental Mountain. The Chattman land, the former Russell Talbot property where the mining camp was located, is some 1,100 feet below the mine. Ore from the mine was transported down in ore buckets on a conveyance similar to a ski lift.

“That’s why you don’t see old-growth trees in mining areas,” Johnson said.

The hope is to get the stamp mill running again once it is reassembled on the museum grounds. A fundraising and volunteer campaign will likely be needed.

“History was during the gold mining era,” Johnson said. “It is being made again by the preservation of this significant part of history.”

Both Zeman, and Johnson, say the donation of the stamp mill is significant because it comes from a mine in the old Cave Creek Mining District.

Zeman said the donation of the stamp mill, which will be part of the museum’s newest, and largest, mining exhibit will open new horizons for the museum.

“A lot of people are interested in mining,” he said.

Chattman indicated donating the stamp mill to the museum was an easy choice for her family.

“The whole thrust of this was to keep it in the community so it can be shared with the community,” she said.

Photo Courtesy/ Evelyn Johnson/Cave Creek Museum
APS workers move part of the stamp mill from the old Golden Reef mine to the Cave Creek Museum last week.

F.O.G. to meet April 18

By Curtis Riggs | March 11, 2009

CAVE CREEK – Friends of long-time local environmental author Geoffrey Platts will gather to celebrate his birthday and Earth Day on Saturday April 18.

They meet at Geoffrey’s Bench at the Jewell of the Creek Nature Preserve, which is just before the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area near the end of Spur Cross Road.

The seventh annual gathering of F.O.G. members and friends will take place at 9 a.m. on the 18th. Those attending are advised to bring a water bottle, hat and something to sit on.
For information e-mail Barnes at or call her at 602-997-8862.

Nature Center grand opening set for March 19

March 11, 2009

Courtesy Photo: People are invited to attend the grand opening of the new Nature Center at Cave Creek Regional Park from 9 to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 19. Cave Creek Regional Park is located on 32nd Street north of the Carefree Highway.