By Mona Lange McCroskey 

Frank Adolph Kuhne first came to Arizona in 1867. In the Prescott area, he worked as a teamster, driving a hay wagon between Fort Whipple and Big Chino Valley. In 1891, Kuhne returned to Germany for an arranged marriage to Marie Seidler. Kuhne brought his bride to Lynx Creek where they lived in a cabin in Howell, a small community along the creek. Kuhne then became a miner. He was away from home frequently for long periods of time and his whereabouts were unknown to his wife. All she knew was that he was mining and that he made enough to support his growing family. 

Marie cared for the three children born to the Kuhnes in Howell: Marie (1892), Moritz "Mo" (1894), and Frank (1896). Helen (1898) and Robert (1902) were born in Prescott.

Around 1903, the Kuhne family moved into a house at 418 South Marina Street in Prescott, where Mrs. Kuhne maintained a beautiful flower garden. She was trained as a seamstress in Germany at an occupational school, and she did beautiful handwork--bobbin lace (tatting), embroidery, and crochet--some of which has been handed down through the family. Mrs. Kuhne also made and sold handwork to families on Mount Vernon and Pleasant Streets and Park Avenue, where her curtains could often be seen covering round door windows. 

Frank, Sr., continued to mine until his death in 1903, after which the family determined to stay together. Later, "Mo" and Frank started a plumbing business, working out of their home using a horse and wagon. Robert joined them when he was only fourteen. Kuhne Plumbing eventually relocated on North Cortez Street, where it remained a fixture for many years. 

Young Marie worked at Bashford-Burmister Company before she became the secretary at Kuhne Plumbing Company. She "knew more about the plumbing business than any of the men." The boys were able to send Helen to school in California and take care of their mother. The Kuhnes were rooted in the Prescott community, where they enjoyed picnic outings and Sunday drives with friends. 

Robert Kuhne worked as an auto mechanic at Fort Whipple during World War I, and then had a garage on Miller Valley Road, before starting his own well-drilling business. He was active in the community and was named Prescott's Man of the Year in 1962. 

It wasn't until 1923, when he was a mechanic for the Fred Harvey Company working on touring cars at the Grand Canyon, that he inadvertently solved the mystery of where his father had been on his extended absences from Howell. In exploring the Grand Canyon, Robert discovered an intact mining camp below the rim. In it were the papers and belongings of Frank Adolph Kuhne, undisturbed for more than twenty-five years! 

(Mona Lange McCroskey is the oral historian at Sharlot Hall Museum. This account is based on oral history interviews with Joan Kuhne Looney on August 28 and September 24, 1996, available in the museum archives. Photographs are from the Kuhne family collection.) 

Illustrating image

Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number:(pb011f6i6)
Reuse only by permission.

Frank Adolph Kuhne with wife Marie and daughter Marie at their home in Howell, c.1893. 

Illustrating image

Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (br120p)
Reuse only by permission.

Mrs. Kapser, Robert and Mrs. Marie Kuhne at the covered bridge over Granite Creek on White Spar Road, c.1913-1915 (? photo undated), on a picnic outing. 

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Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (pb011f6i12)
Reuse only by permission.

At 418 South Marina Street, c. 1916, "Mo" Kuhne on the Kuhne Plumbing wagon.