We purchased our facility in 2010, originally it was a home built in 1930 by Charles H. Abels a World War I veteran who homesteaded 80 acres in 1921, back then the area was known as Cactus, Arizona.
Homesteading, with his wife Elenora, in the Arizona desert, the young veteran originally built a two-room cabin and, from an initial capital of one dollar and fifty cents, managed to establish a gas station and grocery store. Eventually he found himself in politics, and was a member of the state’s House of Representative’s four times between 1947 and 1954, where he battled “special interest” groups, for eight years. Abels’ campaign slogan was, “He Wears No Man’s Collar.”
In terrain where the need for facilities to obtain water was crucial, he founded and built up a water company named Liquid Gold, which has since been taken over by the city of Phoenix.Charles kept a pet burro named Jimmy at his fuel station across the street from his home on Cave Creek Road in the 1930s. Jimmy was famous for taking an open bottle of beer in his mouth, shaking his head up and down until he drained it, and braying for another.Abels was an interesting character. He first visited Arizona in 1916 to join the border cavalry at Camp Harry J. Jones, located east of Douglas, Arizona. Abels hoped to “chase Pancho Villa around in Mexico,” according to Reba Wells Grandrud’s book, “Images of America: Sunnyslope.”
Later, Abels was part of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I, according to his 1968 book, “The Last of the Fighting Four.” The title refers to the loss of his three brothers, two who died in the war, and another who passed away afterward.A German artillery shell wounded Abels during the Battle of Cantigny, which was the first American offensive of World War I. “If ever there was a hell on Earth, the 20 days the 18th Infantry spent at Cantigny was it,” he wrote.Abels returned to Arizona as a disabled veteran in 1921 and lived in a tent with his wife, Elenora, on the 80 acres north of Phoenix. The couple later upgraded to a two-room house with canvas flaps serving as windows. Abels died in 1986.