Monday, July 01, 2024

The True History of Cave Creek Incorporation

July 1, 2024

   I was asked by Nina Spitzer at the Cave Creek Chamber, to write up a short history of Cave Creek incorporation and thanks to help from my neighbor, Tom Augherton, and two Creekers he knows: John Hoeppner and Martha Arnold, I was able to cobble this together.

Cave Creek Rodeo Parade, 1970

 The Brave And Tenacious Creekers Who Saved Our Bacon

   Like many 20th century settlers I was attracted to Cave Creek because it was still a bit of a Wild West town. To my artistic eye—and this would be in the 1970s—the Creek, as we called it, was full of independent thinkers and unique individuals (some folks in Carefree would translate that as cowboys, hippies, bikers and drug dealers). Even that made me happy. So when we heard the rumblings about incorporation, we fumed. We came out here to get away from all that messy government stuff. But, as it turns out, we were short-sighted and a small, tenacious group of concerned Creekers stepped forward to save us from being swallowed whole by Phoenix—that hungry Beast from the south!

   Incorporation efforts had failed in 1974 and again in 1979, but by1986, volunteer members of the Cave Creek Incorporation Committee (CCIC), led by first Town mayor, Ted Rothman, turned the tide. It wasn't easy and the successful election on July 8, 1986 was the culmination of years of angst and a final fifteen months of aggressive action by doggedly-determined local preservationists.

   The effort also required that a new Town of Cave Creek (as with all incorporation efforts), required the approval of the adjacent existing jurisdictions. As Martha Arnold put it, "The residents as far south as Lone Mountain wanted to be part of Cave Creek. Hence, Phoenix literally established the southern border. No way would Phoenix approve Cave Creek going that far south!" She should know. Martha's husband, Jack, drew up all the maps with borders going way south, then retreating north, then excepting the corner of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road, where Carefree took the northwest corner (where Lowe's is now) and Phoenix took the southwest corner. Even the Cave Creek School building on 64th Street was taken by Phoenix.

   What finally turned me and most of my friends and neighbors was this bit of practical advice from John Hoeppner: "Either we incorporate now and drive one mile to City Hall and talk to people we know, or we drive twenty miles down to Phoenix and nobody will listen to us."

   Today, we admire their vision, foresight and tenacity.

   As Studs Terkel put it so eloquently, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say this is my community and it’s my responsibility to make it better.”

   Today, we thank incorporating pioneers John Hoeppner, Cheri Hoeppner, Jacky Davis, Don Radke, Jo Walker, Ed Walker, Jim Threadgill, Jim Hines, Ted Rothman (Chair) Betty Garrison, Carl Bixler, Paul Helms, Rupert Johnson, Susan Svitak, Bill Webster, and Bernice Webster.

   Because of you we have our own community.

   Thank you all!

The Three Surviving Incorporation Committe Members: Cheri Hoeppner, John Hoeppner and Jacky Davis, at City Hall in Cave Creek, taken yesterday

"How blessings brighten as they take their flight."

—Old Vaquero Saying

1 comment:

  1. Bob, Your writing never disappoints! Cave Creek truly is a fantastic place to call home. Thank you! - John Hoeppner


Post your comments