How American Legion Post 34 helped the town of Cave Creek come to life

Cave Creek – During 2022, American Legion Post 34 celebrates 75 years of service to veterans and the community at-large. This year, Post veterans are planning an anniversary chock full of events, tributes, patriotism and the celebration of freedom and liberty: The Faces of Freedom. Post 34 also will share a series of exciting educational and themed events with veterans and the public to celebrate serving the community for three quarters of a century. 
American Legion Post 34 has a rich and historical history with the origins of Cave Creek. Here, Post 34 shares its historical ties with the community as written in the Cave Creek Chronicle, a publication started during World War II to be sent to people from Cave Creek who were preparing to fight the war or work in the war effort. At the time, the town was spelled as one word, Cavecreek, The post office officially changed the name to Cave Creek in 1972. Here are a few of the significant 1940s activities that created the bond between a community and its veterans.

Cave Creek Chronicle History

May 11, 1943:

The Cavecreek American Legion holds a War Bond Drive. The quota for this district is $1,000 smackers, so get busy and buy bonds now to make good on our quota.

May 16, 1944: 

Cavecreek Legion Post 34 hosted key chairpersons and local commanders at a community supper at the Cavecreek schoolhouse on Wednesday, May 10. Legionnaires and their families were present. Jeff Houston was the chef and Homer Smith provided steaks. All kinds of salad, scalloped potatoes, cakes, pies, ice cream and coffee were served. The meeting was held after which the crowd gathered at the Corral; the Virginia Reel is the new dance.

July 24, 1945:
Post 34 commander Homer Smith attends a meeting at the Adams Hotel with representatives from American Legion Posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans and Order of the Purple Heart, to discuss plans for a veterans’ hospital in Maricopa County. Representatives of financial, religious and educational institutions also were present as well as delegates from civic clubs and fraternal orders. Homer left petitions to be signed by Arizona citizens and voters at Abel’s Grocery, Black Mountain Store, Idlewild Store and the Cavecreek Corral. All qualified people in the area were encouraged to sign one of the petitions as soon as possible.

November 13, 1945:
American Legion Post 34 holds a barbecue and dance to raise funds to build a Legion home and community hall. Close to 2000 people observe the fun. Many thanks to Romaine Lowdermilk and Ted Loring for the use of the spacious grounds at Rancho Manana. This was a big undertaking for a community the size of Cavecreek and Post 34. Members of Legions from all points were there. Young and old veterans attended for the same cause. It was a good party.

November 27, 1945: 
From all reports, land has been bought and plans are being made to build the American Legion Post 34 home in Cavecreek, Arizona.

December 4, 1945:
American Legion Post 34 hosts a dance for Legion members with music by the Legion Gangsters. Admission $.50 per couple.

December 11, 1945: 
A large crowd gathers at the Bickerstaff Hall for American Legion Post 34’s first dance. The music is furnished by Legionnaires and everyone seems to have a good time. They danced polkas, square danced and the old fashioned waltz. This was the first in a series of dances given by Legion Post 34 in Cavecreek.

January 29, 1946:
The Legion holds a dance on Saturday, February 2 at the Legion Club building. The local Legion Club now has a permit to operate from the State Department Club Committee. Under this permit, the Cavecreek Legion Club is restricted to allow only the following people to enjoy the facilities of the Club:
-Legion members
-Legion Member Auxiliary (wives, daughters, mothers of members)
-Servicemen and women
-Guests in the company of members

February 12, 1946:
American Legion Post 34 entertain Department Commander Prochnow, of Flagstaff and District Commander Snodgrass of Phoenix. The guests were introduced by Commander Smith. Talks were given on the purpose of the Legion and problems now confronting returning veterans. 

April 9, 1946:
Ground was broken and the first work was performed on the Post 34’s American Legion Cavecreek Clubhouse. Legionnaires donated work and equipment and for two days. By the second day, they had completed the footing and were ready to pour the floor. Later, more rooms to be added. 

April 16, 1946: 
American Legion Post 34 started pouring the floor for the new Club home. The boys worked hard and donated their work while the women folks fed them. Friends of the Legion helped by lending equipment and help. Last Saturday, they worked all day getting the ground in order and getting the framework done for the floor pour. The boys have been doing a fine job and deserve a lot of praise, as they are trying to build something that will be for the good of the boys coming home and the boys already home. Cavecreek will be very proud of Legion Club. It shows the spirit of the boys of the last war and the preparation for the future generation.

April 23,1946:
Cavecreek American Legion Post 34 finishes pouring the floor of the new Legion Club and the boys were tired and hungry. They gathered across the road and women of the Legionnaires brought food of all kinds. Everything was delicious and the latest and newest member, Ted Loring of Rancho Manana, furnished liquid food. A boy who flew a plane out made a bum landing in Rowe Wash and had to be pulled out. His propeller was broken. 

April 30, 1946:

American Legion Post 34 of Cavecreek will have its opening dance for Legion members and their invited guests on May 4 at the new Legion Club. The grounds are cleared and the floor ready for the dance. We are very proud of the boys who have so freely given their services and time as well as the ones who donated gifts. This is what we have been waiting for so long. Now it seems to be reality. The Legionnaires are doing fine work.

December 24, 1946:
Johnnie Ceplina died Friday morning about 8:30 at his home. He was one of the most colorful of the Cavecreek veterans of World War I. His many kindnesses and his unfailing generosity is something we shall never forget. 
Attention Members of American Legion Post 34: please be at the American Legion Post 34 Club grounds early Thurs. morning to help lay bricks. Bricklayers from town will be there to help. 
The building was constructed.

The Town of Cave Creek’s history is tied to the many veterans who provided leadership as the community grew and developed, and helped build the American Legion building where veterans and guests gather today as they have for 75 years.