|Last Thursday Stan & Phyllis took us for a day trip to Bumble Bee, a ghost town in the Bradshaw Mountains of Yavapai County, Arizona named for nearby Bumble Bee Creek. The town of Bumble Bee was founded in 1864 & was the main stagecoach route between Phoenix and Flagstaff, via Prescott. It was once known as Snyder's Station, which was the center of social and economic activity in the area. Weary travelers stopped here on the three day trip between the two cities. Bumble Bee's economy was based on cattle ranching and sheep herding. It was also home to miners and prospectors seeking their fortunes of gold and silver in the Bradshaw Mountains. There are still a few ol' miners out in the mountains hoping to find the mother load.
One of 3 rumors claims that Bumble Bee and the nearby creek were given its name in 1870 when a Nevada former slave owner, J.X. Theut, first spotted the water source that saved his life. It is at this creek that Theut ran into the legendary drunk named K. Billingsley Callaway. Legend holds that Theut, known for being notoriously swift on his feet, came to the conclusion of tossing a rock at a bee hive which rested 2 feet from the maniac Billingsley Callaway. Theut tossed the pebble and the bees attacked Billingsley. Billingsley, being allergic to bees fell ill and crawled away back into his cave. I quoted this version as I found it to be the most interesting, lol!
With the demise of the stagecoach and the mining in the surrounding area, the site eventually faded away. An attempt by Jeff Martin to make the town a tourist attraction during the mid-1930s resulted in the construction of the current buildings but obviously failed. Bumble Bee' post office was established February 3, 1879 and has not been discontinued. We found it interesting that Phyllis's grandmother was the postmistress here for nearly 30 years! Yep, right here. Phyllis used to visit her grandmother during the summer & many times they were the only two in town. Her grandmother would visit the Bumble Bee Ranch on weekends so of course that was a stop for us on today's tour.
Today the ranch is owned by Ken Kendrick who acquired its 180 acres and the town of Bumble Bee in 1998. In town are five cabins the ranch provides for its employees. The original general store still exists which also operated as a saloon and a gas station. The ranch manager and her family have a 10 acre homestead. The previous ranch owner maintains a cabin on ten acres at the south end of town and has open range grazing rights on 74,000 acres with the Bureau of Land Management. The ranch has access to this land for entertaining its guests. The historical school house sits on 1.4 acres and is privately owned. That completes the 201.4 private acres of Bumble Bee.
We think it's cool that Ken Kendrick's intent in acquiring the ranch was to make it available to the public. The ranch entertains tourists, corporate outings, family gatherings, weddings, saddle clubs, horse clinics, boy & girl scouts, and anyone else looking for a great western adventure.
But best of all, the ranch provides a venue for many children’s charities. Charities such as the Foundation for Blind Children, Hope Kids, Mentor Kids USA, and many more organizations that come to visit and enjoy all the wonderful fun activities the ranch offers. Last year they entertained over 800 kids and guests for the Hope Kids event.
We had an enjoyable afternoon exploring the trails, ranch, riverbeds & 'grandma's home before finally loading back up & heading to Rock Springs Cafe for one of their renowned cherry pies. Whew, at $18.95 it should be renowned!!! It was a terrific day thanks to Stan & Phyllis. Thanks so much guys!