Lake Montezuma, Arizona

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Lake Montezuma is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. The population was 3,344 at the 2000 census. The Lake Montezuma CDP includes the communities of Rimrock and McGuireville. It is located along Interstate 17, 20 miles south of Sedona and 8 miles north of Camp Verde in central Arizona's Verde Valley.

Contents

History

The Community was originally known as Beaver Creek as ranchers and farmers settled along the banks of the creek named for the prolific numbers of beavers found there. In 1882, when there were a total of 8 local children, Yavapai County set up one of the first schools in the Verde Valley, Beaver Creek School, drawing kids from many miles around the area.

The area of the community known as McGuireville started in 1910 when Eugene McGuire settled near the confluence of Dry Beaver Creek and Wet Beaver Creek. This was also at the junction of the historic road from Stoneman Lake which split there with one route going on to Cornville, Cottonwood and Jerome and the other going south to Camp Verde and on to Prescott via Cherry. This later became the site of the first local business besides ranching and dudes when Midge Montgomery set up the original Beaver Creek Store there in 1931.

The area generally became known as Rimrock in 1926 when Virginia Finnie, the daughter of a prominent local rancher, started a dude ranch which she appropriately named Rimrock Guest Ranch. It was so named for the prominent limestone rimrocks forming the edges of the mesas visible from the hill top ranch. Her prominent guests were wanting efficient communications with the outside world so Virginia saw the need to establish a post office on the ranch. Virginia's Mother-in-law, Ella Loudermilk, became the first post mistress of the newly established Rimrock Post Office chartered July 11, 1928. People from the Coconino County line near Stoneman Lake, Apache Maid Ranch etc. and up and down the creek nearly to Camp Verde picked up their mail at the Rimrock Post Office so the former area of Beaver Creek School district generally became known as Rimrock. Interestingly Arizona's oldest continuously operated landing strip - The Rimrock Airport is located here as dudes used to fly into the ranch in a day gone by.

Around 1957 shortly after the Black Canyon Highway was built north from Phoenix one of the largest ranches in Rimrock was turned into a subdivision called Lake Montezuma. The developers were planning on selling much of the property to out of state buyers and realized they needed something attractive in the name. The dug out a pond below the original ranch house and named it Lake Montezuma after the areas most significant local land mark - Montezuma Well National Monument.

The majority of the population of the rapidly growing area soon lived in this one subdivision and virtually all of them were not from the local area. They would identify themselves as being from Lake Montezuma not realizing that they might also be considered a resident of Rimrock and also Beaver Creek. Thus the confusion over the name of the general area.

Geography

Lake Montezuma is located at 34°38′25″N 111°47′0″W / 34.64028°N 111.783333°W / 34.64028; -111.783333 (34.640283, -111.783377).[1]

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