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The Cave Creek Museum will receive $9,699 from Questers to restore its tuberculosis cabin, the only remaining structure of its kind in Arizona.

According to the museum’s executive director Evelyn Johnson, Questers will present the check to the museum board at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 14, in front of the cabin. The public is welcome. 

With the funds, Don Fredricks Inc. will rehabilitate the cabin’s physical structure, which is more than 100 years old. The cabin exhibit will be restored and ready for the museum’s season opening on Oct. 1.

Established in 1944, Questers is a nonprofit dedicated to the study, conservation and preservation of historical objects. The Arizona Four Peaks chapter raised the funds for the restoration.

“We are involved in preservation or restoration of anything of historical significance,” said Alice Helton, Four Peaks Questers president. 

“Our chapter began looking at renovating the TB cabin more than three years ago. We are excited to present the monies to Cave Creek Museum and to see the cabin’s revitalization.”

Johnson said the grant is needed.

“The cabin’s boards are leaning, and the overall structure needs additional support,” Johnson said. 

“We want — and must — preserve this amazing building as it is listed in the prestigious National Registry of Historic Places. Recently, the (Arizona) State Office of Historic Preservation approved the exterior preservation effort. The tuberculosis cabin is one of the most popular exhibits at Cave Creek Museum.”

The historic tubercular cabin was built in the early 1920s and was located with 14 others along Cave Creek Road, across from what is now The Horny Toad

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The cabins were built for use in central and southern Arizona and inhabited by patients trying to recuperate from tuberculosis. 

Patients came by train, horseback and car as they sought a dry climate to help cure their symptoms. People like Doc Holliday of Tombstone and Peggy Goldwater, mother of Sen. Barry Goldwater, sought help in Arizona. There was no other treatment of its kind at the time.

Around 1920, Sam and Helen Jones opened a Cave Creek TB camp as Desmount Sanatorium. The camp had small cabins that were clustered around a dining hall. 

The camp closed in the 1940s. The tubercular cabin, which was moved to Cave Creek Museum in 1984, was restored to its original condition by the Cave Creek Museum, Humana Hospital and Cave Creek and Carefree residents. 

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The one-room cabin had no indoor plumbing or kitchen facilities, and screened windows without glass and wooden shutters. 

Cupboards, a small closet, a sink and wood-burning stove completed the spaces. Food was prepared and served in a central dining hall. The cabin was restored and filled with furnishings original to TB cabins. During the construction of Bartlett Dam, the cabin was moved and used as “manager quarters.” Five were relocated to the Oregano’s site where they were used as vacation homes.

Open from October to May, the Cave Creek Museum is located at 6140 E. Skyline Drive, Cave Creek. For more information, call 480-4880-2764. 

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