Some Bits Of Kohl’S Ranch History


The Gervais and the McCain families from down Norman Lane had plastic pails in hand last Saturday as moms and kids were headed off to play in the creek.

The Gervais and the McCain families from down Norman Lane had plastic pails in hand last Saturday as moms and kids were headed off to play in the creek.

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Christopher Creek and Kohl’s Ranch share a sentinel.  At an elevation of over 7,900 feet above sea level, it towers 2,000 feet higher than the Creek and 2,500 hundred feet above Kohl’s. It feeds three major creeks, Tonto, Horton and Christopher, and numerous springs.  It is the most lightning struck geographical feature in the state of Arizona. It hosts a namesake lookout tower on the nape of its neck. This tower gives us weather information about the top of See Canyon, information such as rain and snowfall amounts.  Along the skirt of this colossus, at 6,600 feet, the famous Highline Trail winds its way, part of a 52-mile journey from Highway 260 trailhead to Pine-Strawberry.  The new divided Highway 260 has provided some fabulous new views of this thumb jutting out some two-and-a-half miles from the Mogollon Rim.  Author Zane Grey lived in the shadows of this behemoth. The Dude fire singed the western face in 1990 and a number of smaller fires have licked at its heels.  Of course, we’re talking about Promontory Point or Promontory Butte, if you prefer. The majesty and grandeur of Promontory may well make it the crown jewel of Rim Country.

Neighbors return

Great to see a couple of Hunter Creekers in town for a brief visit, checking out their place after the winter.  They have been busy with their travels and grandparenting a granddaughter in Burlington, Vt.  They caught up on the news while enjoying a libation at the Landmark Friday.  Most know them as Roland and Diane Davis, but to a few of us they will always be Rowan and Martin!

Evidence indicates Mitchell and Audrey were here Saturday last and the egg lady came by on Sunday.

No X-Box and no Game-Boys for the Gervais and the McCain families from down Norman Lane.  Plastic pails in hand, moms and kids were headed off to play in the creek on a bright Saturday afternoon.

Debbie and Gene have had a place at the CCMHP for years.  The other day, Debbie and her Jack Russell terrier were out for a walk and they found a four-point elk antler.  It is all bright and shiny.  She stopped by and asked if she could, please, add her find to my chandelier.  It pays to advertise in the Roundup!

Kohl’s recollections

Last week, there was a lovely conservation with Lynn and Sue Hess on Saddle Mountain Road down at Kohl’s Ranch.  The Hess’s are long, longtime residents and have some very interesting insights on the goings-on at Kohl’s and Tontozona clear back to the 50s.  Sue related that while she looked after the front desk, Lynn was the ‘tea-totalin’ bartender.  We are going to get back to them for some more stories before the Sun Devils return to Tontozona in August.

Back in the day, Lew and Necia Kohls had a place to stay and get a meal and from those humble beginnings built a renowned destination on Tonto Creek, here under Promontory Point.  The Mikols had the place in later years and built the A-frame lodge.  Sadly, that was about the extent of my knowledge of Kohl’s Ranch.  We were sitting around the campfire on Christopher Creek, at Marksbury’s, the evening after seeing Lynn and Sue Hess. John was relating how he and Danny Webster would terrorize Mr. Mikols by playing Aker Bilk’s Stranger on the Shore on the jukebox, over, and over, and over – and at a dime a song that could poke a hole in one’s allowance.  John grew up at Kohl’s, spending every weekend and vacations just across Short Road beside the present-day kitchen. The cabin his parents built had a bird’s eye view of all that was happening… until Mr. Mikols built the A-frame lodge.  We spent some time figuring out what year that was and he thought he was about 16, but wasn’t sure. Well, the very next evening, Mike Bailey, manager down at the C-Canyon RV park, stopped by the Landmark to try his hand at the poker table.  Unsolicited, he hands me a copy of The Legend of Kohl’s Ranch, written by Katie Bell, copyright 1985.  Inside the cover, Katie had signed “to Clay and Ellie” – Clay Ashby and his wife had the RV park back then.  Although not all the Kohl’s locals thought Katie had everything quite right, she listed quite an impressive roll of old-timers from the area as contributors. Her short book is, indeed, a fairly good time-line of owners and how the Cowboy Barn and the Lodge evolved.  Now, Sue Hess lamented that not much attention was being paid to the folks down at Kohl’s and, after all, they are a part of Christopher-Kohl’s Fire District.  Having had my knowledge base improved immensely this week, it became obvious the time had come.  How we doin’ so far, Sue?

And that’s another week in the creek!

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