Beautiful Bumble Bee Endures an Eraby John Scott on Aug. 01, 2013, under Uncategorized
We drove up to Prescott to compete in the 8th annual Shootout on Whiskey Row which is an Old West event that is centered around a skit/costume competition. Groups from three different states battle it out while entertaining Prescott’s masses.
On that drive up Route 17, we passed places I’ve mentioned in previous articles. One of them caught my eye this trip. A little town named Bumble Bee.
Bumble Bee, located in the mineral-rich Bradshaw Mountains, was not actually a mining town. It began life as a stagecoach station.
A rancher named W.W. Snyder moved into the area to take advantage of the plush vegetation to feed his cattle. However, the area was full of angry indians which were attacking settlers. Snyder, with the help of the US Cavalry, was able to protect many of the locals and set up a stagecoach station at this ranch. By adding necessary buildings the stop eventually became a small town. Miners re-supplied there, bringing additional business until the town flourished. By 1879, Snyder’s stagecoach stop was renamed Bumble Bee and a post office was built.
What’s with the Bumble Bees?
Interestingly, there are a couple of theories on the naming of this burg. Some say that a popular comment of the times was that the indians were as thick as bumble bees. Another legend is a couple of prospectors by the main river were goofing off. One threw a rock at a bee’s nest, inciting a great riot in the bumble bee community and driving the man closest to the hive to run for the hills…never to be seen again.
Either story is fun, and it sure is a great name for a town.
Once stagecoaches were no longer a mode of “comfortable” transportation, Bumble Bee began to fade away. In the 1930’s it was a tourist stop, with a couple of rebuilt buildings and a scant population. In 1960, a man named Charles Penn bought the town with hopes of doing something special with it. The rumor was he was going to erect a railroad museum. Sadly, Charles died in 1962 and never saw his dream come true.
Today, there are still some inhabitants, and the post office has never closed. The buildings are dilapidated, but still give you the feel of a town right out of the 1800’s. Last I heard, the historic schoolhouse is now a souvenir shop. Due to timing, we were not able to stop and take a good look on this trip, but fear not. In September our group has a gig in Cordes Lakes, and I will hit Bumble Bee on my way home.
These little towns were made up of pioneers hoping for success and a new life. They are our link to the Old West, which make them vitally important to the history of our country.