What’s New

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Top Award for Historic Landscape Survey

The Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) for the Empire Ranch submitted in July 2016 has been selected by the National Park Service as the winner of the 2016 HALS Challenge. Twelve University of Arizona students prepared a preliminary survey document which was finalized by landscape architects Helen Erickson and Gina Chorover and landscape historian Robin Lothrop Pinto.

The report will be cataloged in the Library of Congress and will be digitally available to anyone interested in historic landscapes or ranching history in the southwest.

Posted 12/2/2016
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Cowboy Christmas at the Empire Ranch

Visit the Empire Ranch in holiday splendor! Saturday, December 10th, from 11am-3pm,  begin with a docent-led tour and then spend some time re-imagining the ranch in the old days. Sing carols, enjoy holiday cookies, learn how to make Christmas Cards, take family photos for your Holiday Cards, visit with each other. Bring your lunch, bring your friends and family, wear your Holiday sweaters. It will be a festive time at the Empire Ranch. We want to share it with you! We can’t promise it will snow – but we can sure promise it will be fun!

Posted 12/2/2016
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Empire Ranch House Stabilization Begins

The Ranch House stabilization will include reinforcing the foundations in several areas; securing the tops of the walls for structural strength; repairing interior and exterior wall surfaces; replacing the roof on the Victorian Addition;  rehabilitating the Children’s Addition to make it safe for visitors; and contouring work around the house to improve drainage. To assure public safety the Ranch House will be closed for most of the year, starting in January 2017.

Posted 12/2/2016
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Help Us With a Year-End Gift

The Empire Ranch is an Arizona historic treasure.  With the support of our members we are able to preserve the Empire Ranch legacy for future generations.  Please help with a year-end contribution.  If you’ve already renewed your membership, this donation will be added to your existing membership level.

To make a contribution, click here. Or call 888-364-2829 to process your donation by phone.

Posted 12/2/2016
Photo by Tahnee Robertson

Ian Tomlinson

Read all about Ian Tomlinson’s management of the grasslands in the historic Empire Valley in a recent article published by The Nature Conservancy.  The Tomlinson Family is the fourth family to ranch the historic Empire Ranch, under a lease agreement with the Bureau of Land Management.

Posted 11/21/2016
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Boice Family Honored at Sonoita Rodeo

The Boice Family was honored on September 3, 2016 at the 101st Annual Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo for their dedication and long term support of the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association. The children and grandchildren of Frank and Mary Boice, who managed/owned the Empire Ranch from 1928-1969 received the crowd’s applause with their appearance in a horsedrawn wagon driven by ERF Board member Steve Boice.  Faith Boice, ERF President, escorted the wagon on horseback carrying her grandfather’s American flag.

Posted 9/8/2016
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Diary of a Desert Trail

To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Empire Ranch ERF has republished Edward L. Vail’s Diary of a Desert Trail, illustrated by photos from ERF’s archives and other library collections.  Vail first shared the colorful story of the 1890 cattle drive from the Empire Ranch to California’s Warner’s Ranch through a series of articles in the Arizona Daily Star in 1922.

Vail and Tom Turner, six cowboys of Mexican descent, and one Chinese cook, drove 900 cattle over 500 miles through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California and across the Colorado River.  The story, based on a diary kept by Vail during the two month and ten day trip, recounts their adventures and hardships including stampedes, the scarcity of water and feed, the arrest of two horse thieves, difficulties crossing the Colorado River, and an unwelcome tax collector.

Copies ($15) can be purchased from the ERF gift shop at the Empire Ranch or from Amazon.

Posted 10/30/2016
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Volunteer Days

Dedicated volunteers have been key to preserving the historic Empire Ranch House and Headquarters. Volunteer Days for hands-on preservation activities at the ranch are held generally on the third Saturday of February, April, June, August, and October.  Join us for the next Volunteer Day on  Saturday, February 18th from 8am to noon. To volunteer, please submit a Volunteer Opportunities Form, and we will contact you with more details!

Post updated 10/23/2016
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Steak Fry and Barn Dance

Everyone enjoyed the Steak Fry and Barn Dance, Friday evening November 4th, before Roundup in the Adobe Hay Barn at the Empire Ranch Headquarters. The steak dinner, served up by the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Sonoita, was delicious.  The Lopez Band provided the entertainment for the evening.

All proceeds benefit the Empire Ranch Foundation.  Click here to view photos of the fun evening.

Updated 11/7/2016
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Roundup & Open House

Over 2,000 visitors were transported to the past at the 16th Annual Roundup and Open House on Saturday, November 5, 2016. Click to view program of the day’s events, and the list of sponsors who helped to make this event possible .   Click here for photos of the day activities.

Updated 11/7/2016
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