Christopher Creek came into existence through a succession of ownership by three legacy families. Isador Christopher was the original settler, who then sold his ranch to the Bowmans. The Bowmans obtained the patent rights to 160 acres and sold the ranch to Paul and Polly Ashby in 1938.
Paul Ashby was a tradesman in the Valley and had a large family. At that time, travel from the Phoenix area took a nearly a full day. Sometime later on, day-to-day ranch duties were delegated to Clayton Ashby, who was just a teenager.
As the roads slowly improved over time, more and more folks were coming to the area to fish, hunt and escape the summer heat in the Valley. Paul subdivided part of the ranch and sold some lots as far back as the 1950s. Early parcels were down on the east end of the Creek. Bobby Collins’ dad bought one of the early lots.
Some time along the way, Paul sold the land north of the road to California brother, Lin (sic). Eventually the rest of the ranch was broken up and divided among the children. We know, for example, that Glen Ashby got the property we now know as Christopher Creek Lodge. Clayton developed what is now C-Canyon RV Park. Norman received much of the property along Columbine Road and subdivided to sell individual lots. From personal experience, back in 1971 they told me a lot on the creek was going for $1,900, if you could catch Norman in the right mood. It was too much for me.
Other property was sold along the highway, subsequently becoming commercial ventures such as Grey Hackle Lodge, Wheeler-Inn RV, Fireside Cafe (where the real estate office is now located), and Jack Broadston’s gas station. Clipper and Doris Close developed the Christopher Creek Mobile Home Park. Paul had built the Christopher Creek Store and Bar where the Landmark now stands.
Lin Ashby divided his property among his children, as well. Creekside Restaurant and RV Park were developed. A number of residential lots were sold and property for the fire station and the church evolved.
And that is how we got here.
Thursday evening we joined the local book club at the home of Ron Kotnik and Debbie Richardson in Hunter Creek. Dave Elston was on tap to review his book, “A Year in the Grand Canyon.” There were 16 of us to enjoy his presentation and the terrific spread of snacks.
Friday morning found Chuck Schmitt and Greg Minter out putting up Santa and the other figurines along the Loop. The following morning, after donuts and muffins, the volunteers, under the capable direction of John Turtchin, put up the balance of the lights and decorations. On the crew were Janeen, Jane and Judy from Creekside RV Park, Karen T., Deb and Greg, Carol and Dave. How dull the season would be without the Christmas lights on the Loop. Thank you all.
Later in the day, park residents at Creekside RV did their part in decorating along their portion of the Loop.
Last weekend was spent cutting firewood. After a false start on Thursday, we got it together on Saturday and headed out on Colcord Road. Thick smoke was hanging in the canyons from prescribed burns just on top of the Rim above that area. The crew was Pat and Trudy Perkins along with Scott Tice and myself. Pat and Trudy have two-plus acres along a drainage and up the side of a mountain about three miles in on that road. This summer, crews had cut and hauled away slash from spindly pine, fir, and juniper. A Firewise grant covered the expense. What were left were the tall pines and an abundance of large oak, a good deal of which was dead and on the ground.
Cutting and rolling the large oak rounds off the side of the hill was like a combination of bowling and pinball. In three hours we had both vehicles loaded and headed home to the splitter. Thank you to all three for a great day of woodcutting.
On the way back, we passed a wedding ceremony on the Elk Haven property. The couple was saying their vows. Early that morning, Sheila Marcum from Elk Haven was quite concerned about the heavy smoke. But by 1:15 p.m. the heavy smoke was gone leaving just some haziness behind for the wedding.
A handsome fellow named Bob stopped by a cabin adjacent to Mimi’s Crossing. This large male bobcat was showing off his winter coat as he posed on the deck of Dave and Foofoo Sullivan’s place.
Monday afternoon, three Payson Hotshots in a private vehicle discovered several small, active burns along eastbound SR 260. C/K fire units were called out and en route to the scene discovered another start near the Hunter Creek turnoff. Captain Chad Stluka reported a total of five starts — one on the Loop, three along the highway, and one in the median. Rapid response from CKFD and additional agencies held the fires to a combined total of a quarter acre. A dragging chain is suspected.
Does anyone remember the 1966 song by the Sir Douglas Quintet? “The Rains Came” ... and that’s another week in the Creek.