Your Journey
Through Our Exhibits

What might you encounter as
you paddle along The River of Time?

What brought the ancient people to this seemingly barren land? What sustained early settlers and those of us that have followed? The answer is the Lower Verde River – the River of Time. This life sustaining waterway is the thread that runs through the rich history of this area. As you navigate through the River of Time Museum, you will learn the stories of:

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Ancient Lower Verde Civilizations

From the canal building Hohokam, to the early wikiup shelters of the Yavapai, the past of the Lower Verde River Valley can be read in the pottery and petroglyphs left behind.

Mining for Minerals

The Lower Verde River Valley is home to two mines. The historic Little Dixie Mine is located in the McDowell Mountain Park adjacent to Fountain Hills, and is currently the site of extensive bat research. The Four Peaks Amethyst mine, managed by Sami’s Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, is the only amethyst mine in the west. The amethyst cluster that you’ll view at the Museum is one of the largest in the world.


Rio Verde Ranching

In the early 1900’s the land west of the Verde River was used for cattle ranching. Meet Henry Pemberton. His Pemberton, or “P-Bar” ranch was the site of the first well drilled in the area. As rules governing resources changed, ranching became less profitable and The P Bar and its neighbor the Box Bar ranches were sold to create the communities of Fountain Hills and Rio Verde.

Fort McDowell (US Army Post)

As trappers and miners began migrating to the Southwest in the mid-1800s, native raids became more prevalent. A military fort – Fort McDowell – was established at Sycamore Creek and the Verde River. Shortly after, a war was ordered against “all hostiles” in the area. Troops rounded up the Apache and Yavapai north of the Salt and east of the Verde river. Over 1400 were marched over 180 miles from Camp Verde to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Visit the Museum to learn more about this “Trail of Tears”.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

Our neighbors to the north have a rich and varied history. Discover how this tribe of about 900 members has struggled to overcome immense challenges to become the highly successful community of today. Meet powerful Yavapai leaders, Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Dr. Clinton Pattea, and others who fought tirelessly to give their people a secure existence.

Building A Fountain; Founding A Community

Robert McCullough purchased the land, then known as the Pemberton, or P-Bar Ranch, in 1968 with the dream of creating the worlds’ tallest man-made fountain as the focal point for a new housing development. At the time, coming out of Scottsdale on Shea road, visitors and potential new residents felt that they were traveling into the desert wilderness. With only a surging Fountain to mark its existence, early visitors discovered that from almost every turn in the Town, majestic mountains rose. On December 15, 1970 the Fountain Hills’ Fountain was turned on for the first time, which means our famous landmark turns 50 in 2020! Check out our calendar or this link for all of the Fountain at 50 Celebration events in 2020.

Three Modern Communities - Three Sources

The Ft McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Verdes, and Fountain Hills are the three modern communities of the Lower Verde River Valley. Although all three are on the banks of the perennial river they are sustained through a complex system of water rights, with some getting much of their water from the Colorado River transported along the Central Arizona Project. Visit the River of Time Museum to discover the ways water is accessed in the Sonoran Desert.

Contact The River of Time Museum Today

If you have questions, we have answers! We would love to hear from you – please use our contact form or call us at 480-837-2612.