Glendale Arizona Historical Society
Tours of Manistee Ranch
The historic 1897 Manistee Ranch is now open for tours on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at Manistee Ranch 5217 W. Northern Avenue (entrance is on west side off of 51st Avenue south of Northern) from 12 PM to 4 pm - the last tour starts at 3 pm.
The 2022 tour dates are: February 19; March 5, 19; April 2, 16; May 7; Oct. 1, 15; November 5, 19; December. 3, 17.
The cost is Adult $5, Seniors $4, Child 6-16 $1, GAHS members free.
The tour has a video, house and office tour. The 3rd floor sky parlor is really neat.
History - Manistee Ranch Park
Manistee Ranch was built by Herbert W. Hamilton in 1897 as a home for his family.
The house is better known as the residence of Louis M. Sands, who purchased it
in 1907 and named in Manistee Ranch after his hometown in Michigan.
Manistee Ranch - Historic Site
The Manistee Ranch Historic Site consists of the main house, a barn (the granary), a garage built in 1912, an office building dating from about 1924, a small field with a farming/ranching exhibit and the date orchard which is over 85 years old. The house itself is a late example of the Queen Anne Revival style. It has three stories and a basement and is constructed of brick masonry and wood framing. Its most distinctive feature is the square tower (the “Sky Parlor”) rising above the center of the house that affords an unsurpassed view of surrounding areas. In 1925 Sands began two major alterations to the house. On the west he added a bedroom for his daughter, and on the east he removed part of the original porch to make way for an extension of the living room, basement and upper story. In 1947 John Sands enclosed the breezeway between the main house and the separate kitchen, forming a new kitchen and breakfast room.
In 1996 the Glendale Arizona Historical Society acquired two acres and the buildings from the family with the help of grants from the State Historic Preservation Office and the Sands family. At the same time the City of Glendale acquired the date orchard from the family with the help of a Heritage Fund grant.
Herbert W. Hamilton
A lumberman from Marinette, Wisconsin, Hamilton visited the Salt River Valley in February 1897, purchased a half-section of land in July, and by August began building the ranch house. Just who designed the house is unknown, but it has been suggested that a well-known Chicago architect, who designed the Guest House of nearby Sahuaro Ranch was the designer.
The Hamiltons occupied the house from December 1897 until 1903, during which time Mrs. Hamilton gave birth (in California) to their fourth child. While in Arizona, Hamilton was concerned with cattle-raising and land speculation, not lumbering. But in 1903 he moved to Eureka in northern California where he established the Hamilton Land and Lumber Company. Nevertheless, for more than a decade, Hamilton continued to have extensive land holdings in the Salt River Valley.
Professional photographers are required to purchase Photo Permits for Historic Manistee Ranch. These are issued by The Glendale Arizona Historical Society - $25 for one day, or $100 for a season. Call the society at 623-435-0072 to purchase a permit, or if you have any questions. These permits DO NOT authorize you to photograph at Sahuaro Ranch. Those are also required, but issued by the City of Glendale.
If you are a Professional Photographer and wish to take pictures at Manistee Ranch, please print each of the 3 forms below for your records. Complete and return the Photo Registration Form to the GAHS office at its Historic Sahuaro Ranch office with your permit fee. Thank you.
Manistee Ranch Monument
Louis M. Sands
Louis M. Sands, son of Louis Sands a Swedish emigrant and successful Michigan lumberman, moved to Flagstaff in 1900. There he became involved in lumbering with the Saginaw and Manistee Lumber Company. During the next few years he acquired timberlands in northern Arizona and used them as grazing areas for sheep, which were wintered in Paradise Valley.
In November 1906 Louis married Frances Porter, from Rockford, Illinois, and in March 1907 he purchased the ranch from Hamilton.
Renamed Manistee Ranch by Sands, the property became his home headquarters for his developing Arizona ranching and business activities.
Louis and Frances had three children, all born in the master bedroom of the house. The eldest, Louis Sands, Jr., was born in 1908. John Porter Sands was born in 1910, and Flora Sands in 1916.
Louis M. Sands died in Glendale on May 25, 1941, at the age of 65. His wife, Frances, outlived him by twenty-three years, dying in 1964 at the age of 91.
Hamilton House, December 1897 (now known as Manistee Ranch)
Exhibits - Manistee Ranch
The house at Manistee Ranch is an exhibit in itself. It is a fully-furnished, historic home complete with the period furnishings and décor. Many of the pieces of furniture are original and were in the house when the Sands family lived there.
The main floor exhibits change periodically but there are several interesting, permanent exhibits in the basement including a school room, a golf room (set up with its own putting green), a taxidermy room displaying several species of birds and animals and many more items of interest.
Outside, are two additional permanent exhibits to visit. The farm equipment display is behind the house and the office is to the east.
Should you be interested in reading more about Manistee Ranch and look at the inside the 124-year-old Manistee Ranch (3 stories plus a full basement making up her 7000 square feet of history) including many many pictures of the interior of the Main building read the informative article from The Arizona Republic [click here].