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Historic Sahuaro Ranch

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Photograph courtesy of Nancy York.

Sahuaro Ranch Guest House ~ Tours conducted by appointment only. Individual and group tours can be arranged by calling the GAHS office at 623.435.0075.

Tours are free, but a minimum donation of $5 per person would be appreciated.

Sauaro Ranch Main House The Main House was built in 1895, and is a window in to Arizona ranch life during the period of 1880s to the 1930s. The Sahuaro Ranch Main House is not currently open for tours.

We are closed most major holidays.

Tours

Sahuaro Ranch: Main House on right, Guest House on left.

History

       

     The History of Sahuaro Ranch 

As an investment, William Bartlett, a commodities broker from the Peoria, Illinois area, purchased 640 acres of land west of present-day Phoenix under the Desert Land Act of 1877.  By terms of the Act, the  initial cost of the land per acre was $0.25.  After the land was deeded to the purchaser (generally two years later) the purchaser had to pay an additional $1.00 per acre.  Bartlett named his purchase Rancho del Sahuaro (today, Sahuaro Ranch).

The first building on the ranch was the Adobe House.  It was built in 1887 for Stephen Campbell, the ranch's first superintendent.  The fruit-packing house (or Packing Shed) was built in 1891 and was used to dry and package figs and other fruit grown on the ranch for shipping to distant markets.  In 1895 the Main House was built for the second superintendent, Harry Adams and his wife.  The last building to be built was the Foreman's House, which was built in 1900 and was designed to look like a colonial farmhouse; it was used as sleeping quarters for the ranch hands and an office for the superintendent.

In 1898, after the Bartlett's son Willie was diagnosed with tuberculosis, the family decided to move to Arizona so the dry air could cure their son's disease.  Bartlett hired J. L. Silsbee, a prominent Chicago architect, to design the Guest House for their stay at the ranch.  Silsbee was an early employer of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The house was completed in 72 days and consisted of seven bedrooms, five bathrooms and a full basement.  Each of the four first floor bedrooms had its own bathroom.  The second floor had three bedrooms, a trunk room and a divided bathroom.  The house was heated by steam generated by a coal-fired boiler located in the basement which circulated to radiators in each room.

Over the years portions of the ranch were sold off.  In 1972 the City of Glendale purchased the last 80 acres of the ranch and set aside 17 acres for the historical area, thereby preserving the original buildings.  The remaining land was used for picnic areas, ball fields, a children's play area and other City facilities such as the Glendale Public Library and the Glendale Fire Station #157.

Today, all the old buildings have been restored and are in constant use.  The Adobe House is open for tours.  The Packing Shed is used for art shows and summer camp for school children.  The Main House is open for tours as is the Guest House (home of the Glendale Arizona Historical Society), and the Foreman's House serves as offices for the Park staff who oversee  operations at Sahuaro Ranch.

                                                                                                                  

William Henry Bartlett 1850-1918 – Born in Peoria, Illinois

"You will always find
a hearty welcome at
        Rancho del Sahuaro"         William Henry Bartlett

Exhibits

                At The Guest House

On the first floor of Sahuaro Ranch Guest House is our wedding exhibit in celebration of the first wedding at the ranch in 1899.  This exhibit features wedding dresses from 1900 through 2000  and other accoutrements.

In the basement we have several permanent exhibits to enjoy, a dental office; hardware store items; a beauty shop; a living room set up with one of the first television sets; a kitchen; a children’s corner, and you can’t miss the original steam boiler that was installed in the house when it was built in 1898.

Enjoying a feast of freshly picked melons outside of the Adobe House, Sahuaro Ranch.

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