Historic Cave Creek

There is a certain eclectic nature to the architecture that really reflects the personality of the Cave Creek area. You can find interesting stories with just about any of the old buildings in town. Many have walls adorned with photos of the many celebrities who have visited over the years. It doesn’t really matter; people of all backgrounds just seem to blend together at any of the town’s establishments.

Harold’s, which recently celebrated its 86th anniversary, has hundreds of such photos, including many governors, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities, as well as all the regular folks just having a good time. Kurt Russell once showed up at Rancho Manana’s Golf Oasis for a breakfast burrito.

Sometimes it’s the buildings themselves that are famous. Big Earl’s Greasy Eats was used as a location for the Hollywood film “Jolene”. The old gas station – now a hip burger joint – probably doesn’t look much different than it did in the 1930s when it was originally erected from an oil company kit and filled its first thirsty tank of gas.

Big Bronco’s home for the past more than 20 years was one of Cave Creek’s original automotive repair shops many decades ago. Now the complex, complete with three separate buildings, looks like it is straight out of an episode of Gun Smoke.

Many of the original buildings from the Rancho Mañana Dude Ranch of the 1940s are still used today and house the cozy Rancho Mañana golf shop and famous Tonto Bar and Grill.

Frontier Town, now home to nearly a dozen unique shops, was a Work Projects Administration camp during construction of the Bartlett Lake and Horseshoe Lake Dams from 1935 to 1943.

The Horny Toad Restaurant building started out as a small house and horse tack room, which is now part of the main dining room complete with church pews for booth benches. Plenty of celebrities have eaten there including Hugh Downs, Phil Mickelson, and Clint Eastwood.