After 143 years, Pine-Strawberry has a fascinating history. Documented by caring folks over many years, the Pine-Strawberry Historical Society (PSHS) is looking for volunteers, donations and fundraising ideas to continue to share that history with others.
If you have not been to this tiny gem, it’s time you stop in. You can view artifacts found from the Anasazi Indians in 1973 in Strawberry Valley, World War II uniforms from residents of P-S and furniture from the lodge at the Tonto Natural Bridge while it was a ranch run by the Gowans.
The museum is located at the Community Center and housed in the original Mormon Church of Pine built from 1915 to ’17.
When you are inside, look up to see the original tin ceiling, which was shipped by train to Flagstaff then by wagon to Pine, said Mel Clement, president of the PSHS — and grandson of Revilo Fuller, patriarch of one of the original six families who bought the Pine Valley and settled here in 1877.
Clement provides tours just for the asking. Typically, the museum is open on the weekends during the winter. Clements has posted his phone number at the entrance to both the museum and the Strawberry Schoolhouse so that visitors arriving at off times can get a private tour.
The six original families — Allen, Hunt, Hough, Fuller, Nelson and Randall — are documented in photos, stories, and videos of descendants all put together by volunteers, Clement explained. Clement gives extra bits of history as he gives his tour. Many of these families’ descendants have donated family items.
A 1973 archaeological dig in Strawberry Valley provided the oldest artifacts in the museum.
There is still a Ruin Hill in Pine where hikers can see ruins from the Anasazi.
Hieroglyphics are just a hike away.
The Allen family built the first log cabin, and many of the original family homes are still in use. Walking tour information is available in the museum.
The Strawberry Schoolhouse was built in 1884 and its location was determined by the use of lariats.
In the early years, a 15-year-old “Tuffy” used to run his horse over the “mail trail” from Pine to Camp Verde to bring written word to the burgeoning community. That trail still exists.
Two water powered sawmills provided the original lumber for the communities.
P-S stills provided alcohol to a few folks during prohibition.
And a 1930 magazine featured the Hunt’s Egg Ranch in Pine, commended for being a “modern marvel.”
Well organized displays provide bits of our past that draw visitors into the personal stories of pioneer ingenuity.
A quilt made in Scotland and used for a newborn at the natural bridge is now on display. Century old toys played with by Lufkin Hunt and his brothers, and a harpsichord used to entertain in the early years of P-S.
In recent years, the Lavender Farm donated items they found in the home they purchased and cleaned out. The PSHS is always happy to accept more items from the P-S community.
PSHS is asking for volunteers with fresh ideas and energy, said Clement.
They need volunteers to staff the museum and the schoolhouse so visitors can find the doors open. They need fundraisers to provide more activities like reenactments at the schoolhouse, including Dutch oven cooking, Clement said.
PSHS compiles booklets with specific histories, like the settling of the Pine Valley and the history of the Strawberry Schoolhouse.
If you are available to assist, stop in at the PSHS Museum. If Clement is not there, call 928-221-1467 or 623-972-7418.
Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. is a Dr. Seuss Birthday Party for all. Celebrate the magical world of Dr. Seuss with your kids, grandkids or neighbor kids. Come one, come all to the land of Whoville with Cat in the Hat and other creative characters from the world of Dr. Seuss.