The Foundation’s annual Spring Trail Ride on Saturday April 1st was a great success! Everyone enjoyed the ride through the rolling hills and spectacular scenery of Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Click here to view photos of the day.
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 March 2017.
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, April 15th from 8am to noon. To volunteer, please submit a Volunteer Opportunities Form, and we will contact you with more details!
A new docent-led tour, that focuses on the historic “out buildings” at Empire Ranch Headquarters, will be offered during the time that the Empire Ranch House is fenced off for stabilization work. The tour features visits to the Adobe Haybarn and the South Barn, with stops to learn about the covered feed troughs, the Tack Room, the gas pump and more. The structure and rooms of the Ranch House will be described from the exterior, and a slide show available in the Visitor Contact Station will illustrate what the rooms looked like as of December 2016.
Docent tours are held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. Tours start at the Visitor Contact Station.
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.
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.
ERF recently changed its membership renewal procedures. Rather than asking everyone to renew in May, from now on annual renewal will be based on the month in which a member joined. Expect to receive a renewal request one month before your membership expires. We hope this will lessen confusion and encourage membership renewals! There are not many historic ranches left in the west and with your help we can continue to protect and preserve the Empire Ranch for future generations to enjoy.
We hope you will renew your membership or join as new member. To join via this website, click here. Or call 888-364-2829 to process your membership by phone.
To learn more about ongoing events at the Empire Ranch, read the June 2016 Newsletter