The First Cave Creek Post Office
Cave Creek was founded in 1870, but it took the town’s post office 92 years to acquire the name Cave Creek Post Office. For most, this is a startling statement. Moreover, in the area from Cave Creek to the Phoenix Mine (today’s approximate entrance to Spur Cross Conservation Area), there were a total of five named post offices: Overton, Liscum, Edith, Cavecreek, and Cave Creek.
By the 1860s, miners had arrived in the area. General George Stoneman, Jr. visited on October 2, 1870, in pursuit of a shortcut to Fort Whipple in Prescott. It was not until 1877, when Jeriah and Amanda Wood built the first adobe home near today’s Rancho Mañana, that Cave Creek Station was born. This was the true start of the town of Cave Creek. The first post office was created in the fall of 1880 with Jeriah Wood assuming the role of postmaster. Its name was Overton. Cave Creek historian, Francis C. Carlson, tells us the post office lasted about one year, closed in 1881, and the name was lost to the ages.
In 1878, three fellows from Phoenix were prospecting about three miles north of Cave Creek Station and found large specimens of gold. This was the beginning of the nationally famous Phoenix Mine. In1894 a 100-stamp mill was constructed. This was the largest stamp mill in Arizona and was regularly reported in New York and San Francisco papers. In 1881, a mining town developed around the Phoenix Mine, called Marion, with around 100 workers and families.
By 1890, a school opened, along with saloons, a general store, and a post office, called the Cave Creek Post Office. This was the first Cave Creek post office.
Not far from Marion, Judson Todd, another prospector, established a separate mining camp. Tucson’s Arizona Weekly Citizen, November 21, 1885, stated “…for about six months in 1888 his [Todd’s] camp had a post office under the name Edith.” That’s all we know about Mr. Todd and his mining camp.
By 1896, the Cave Creek post office closed and moved to Cave Creek Station. The new post office was known as the Cavecreek Post Office. Author Byrd Granger, in her book, Arizona Names, tells us, “When the [Cave Creek] post office reopened at Cave Creek Station in 1896, its name was spelled as one word, “Cavecreek,” possibly to get around the postal department’s rule against reopening post offices once they had been discontinued….”
Meanwhile the hamlet (everything a town has except a church) of Marion shutdown and in 1897, Phoenix pioneer William Christy purchased the Phoenix Mine and renamed it Liscum. Yes, soon the Liscum Post Office opened.
In 1962, the town of Cave Creek changed the name of the post office from Cavecreek to Cave Creek and a 92-year journey came to an end.