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Blacksmithing key to Cave Creek’s Mining District

March 25 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am MST

Cave Creek Museum features local blacksmith as part of its Arizona Gold Mining Experience on March 25, 2023. Blacksmiths have an important role in history (and today) including serving as major partners to the mining industry. Today, blacksmithing is an integral part of the Arizona Gold Mining Experience (AGME) at Cave Creek Museum.

According to blacksmith Paul Diefenderfer, who demonstrates blacksmithing for visitors and guests at AGME, blacksmithing grew in popularity once iron was discovered because of its durability and wear resistance.

“Blacksmithing is defined as working hot iron,” says Diefenderfer, lead AGME blacksmith and owner of Desert Rat forge in Cave Creek, Ariz. “Iron turns black after being heated in a hot fire; this is known as oxide or fire scale. Blacksmiths in the 1800s, and even today, used wood and coal for fires.”

The craft, which is believed to have started in Europe, was deployed in mining by using a hammer to repoint drill bits and repair chisels, picks and more so they were ready for use. Blacksmiths also created crucial new products and made horseshoes and more for miners.
Today, modern civilization is defined by the use of more modern materials including concrete and iron for infrastructure needs.

“A lot of modern phrases came from blacksmithing,” adds Diefenderfer. “You have too many irons in the fire (you have too much going on) was one of them. So is hit it while it’s hot (you have to work it hot to get it done right) and dead as a doornail, which means it is a dead nail – it’s no longer usable. Visitors can come by and see a real dead nail at the AGME blacksmith shop.”

The Arizona Gold Mining Experience features the amazing Golden Reef Stamp Mill and Tramway, Arizona’s only fully operational ten-stamp ore crushing mill. The 1,000-lb. stamps slam down in synchronized motion to pound ore removed from the mine into fine gravel. The stamp mill was brought from its former location at the Golden Reef Mine on Continental Mountain to Cave Creek Museum, which has the only fully operational mining stamp mill in its original mining district in Arizona. Other historical and fascinating stops include the arrastra, gold panning, early mining engines and more.

Registration is required in advance by calling 480.488.2764, stopping by the museum or visiting cavecreekmuseum.org. See the blacksmith, gold panning and incredible stamp mill at work on Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 10 AM-11:30 PM.

The 52-year-old museum’s mission is to preserve the artifacts of the prehistory, history, culture and legacy of the Cave Creek Mining District and the Cave Creek/Carefree foothills area through education, research and interpretive exhibits. The Cave Creek Museum is located at 6140 E. Skyline Drive in Cave Creek, Ariz. Open October through May. The museum can be reached at 480.488.2764 or cavecreekmuseum.org. Where History Comes Alive.


March 25
10:00 am - 11:30 am MST
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Cave Creek Museum
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Cave Creek Museum
6140 E. Skyline Drive
Cave Creek, AZ United States
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