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Blacksmith shop is link to pre-centennial state

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:53 AM | Cindi L Eberhardt CPM (Administrator)
By Edward Gately, Februrary 16, 2012, The Republic |

Cavalliere Blacksmith Shop
Cavalliere Blacksmith Shop in downtown Scottsdale is an adobe building constructed in 1909.

An Old Town Scottsdale business that predates Arizona's centennial is still open for business, and could one day be passed onto a fourth generation.

Cavalliere's Blacksmith Shop, on Brown Avenue and Second Street, still looks a lot like it did when George Cavalliere opened it in 1909. It is now operated by grandson George Cavalliere, who is assisted by his nephew, Justin Cavalliere.

"He's usually down here with me and he'll probably take over someday," George said. "He's going through that learning curve now. There's so many different things to metal work. Even just welding alone, there's so many different parts of welding, one guy could never master all welding techniques."

Cavalliere enjoys talking about his grandfather and father, the late George "Doc" Cavalliere, who took over the business upon returning from World War II.

"My grandfather, in the early 1900s, worked on the Arizona Canal," he said. "He was the blacksmith on the job, and repaired all the tools and sharpened the picks, and worked on the dredge and all of that. When they were done with the canal, he was allowed to homestead land down here, so he actually picked right up on Main Street."

The city fathers said they did not want a "smelly, dirty, and noisy" blacksmith shop on Main, but he could build it on what was the "outskirts" of town where it "won't bother anyone," at Brown and Second.

"I've got some pictures where my grandfather is standing in front of the business, and you can see Camelback Mountain in the background and there's not another building, it's all just desert," Cavalliere said.

In the late 1890s, the blacksmith focused on farm equipment, such as sharpening plowshares, and repairing plows, farm tractors and wagon wheels.

"My grandfather made lots of wagon wheels and all the harnesses," Cavalliere said. "He shoed horses and there were horses all tied up around here for him to shoe during the day."

Nearby residents, who mostly lived on farms, were glad to see the blacksmith open because the nearest one was in Tempe, said Jo Anne Handley, manager of the Scottsdale Historical Museum.

"Tempe was a long way when going by horse and buggy, there were only a few cars at that time," she said.

Through the decades, the blacksmith moved away from the "harder, utilitarian work" and into more ornamental work, Cavalliere said.

"My dad (George "Doc" Cavalliere) taught me everything he learned from his dad in here, and as a kid, I went to school here right up the street, and then after school I had a limited amount of time to get back here and I had to start helping," he said.

George "Doc" Cavalliere, who was Scottsdale's eldest native-born resident and who served on its first City Council, died in September 2009. He crafted metal pieces for actress Amanda Blake, diplomat Clare Booth Luce, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

George "Doc" Cavalliere Park opened on Saturday in the Pinnacle Peak area and commemorates the Scottsdale pioneer.

The Cavalliere family also owns Reata Pass Steakhouse, which has a farmers market every Sunday, and the Greasewood Flat bar.

Cavalliere's wife, Elizabeth Cavalliere, runs the restaurant and the couple's daughters work there. Both of those businesses are in northern Scottsdale.


Scottsdale Historical Society
P.O. Box 143
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-0143

The Scottsdale Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

© 2008-2024 Scottsdale Historical Society. All rights reserved.


Scottsdale Historical Museum
7333 East Scottsdale Mall
Scottsdale, AZ 85251


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