Empire Ranch Foundation

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  • Gulf American Corporation Ownership, 1970-1975

    …pted by its aggressive marketing efforts including: ”Millions of vacation “tickets” to the Tucson-Nogales area are being distributed throughout the United States by GAC Properties of Arizona as part of a new sales promotion program… the tickets offer an opportunity for visitors to see the company’s Rio Rico development north of Nogales as well as its new project at Empire Ranch when it opens for land sales in early 1971.” [Arizona Daily Star, 6/5/…

  • Vail & Gates, 1888-1909

    …lled “Camp Grant Massacre.” He with William Oury, eight Americans, quite a number of Mexicans and a large number of Papago Indians marched over to the mouth of Aravaipa Canyon, which was right in sight of the old Camp Grant but then occupied by American troops and nearly exterminated that band of Apaches. They killed all but the children whom they brought to Tucson as prisoners. The cause of this expedition was the constant raids of the Apaches ag…

  • Empire Ranch is Purchased and the Hard Work Begins (August-December 1876)

    …wned them out. He was ill with fever and got disgusted so let us have them cheap. We gave him 4/-a head, that is cheap enough and they come in very handy to us as meat and when we can get 50 lbs. of meat for 4/-it is not so bad. I think we shall sell them soon for 9/-apiece so if we do, it will not be a bad trade. One day when I was baking my bread I had left the kitchen for a moment to do something and when I returned I caught a snake under the s…

  • Banning Vail, 1909-1929

    …vertisement. Courtesy of Chronicling America. Tucson’s First Long Distance Phone Call – 1911 Telephone operator, Gradye Drown, placed Tucson’s first long distance telephone call in June, 1911. It was a call “to Los Angeles, for cattleman Banning Vail. The call took several days to arrange and cost Vail $25. ‘We first called Red Rock, then Casa Grande, then Yuma, then El Centro and so on to Los Angeles,’ Drown said in an interview with The Arizona…

  • The Partners Meet and Prepare to Travel to Arizona (June-July 4, 1876)

    …876, Los Angeles, California Herbert Hislop and Walter Vail purchase stage tickets from Indian Wells (now Indio) California to Tucson Arizona. Hislop describes the celebrating underway on 4th of July eve. “They were letting off fireworks and firing anvils in the streets. The way they fire anvils is this, they bury one anvil in the ground, the bottom side uppermost and fill the little square hole with gunpowder, placing the other anvil on the top…

  • Vail, Hislop, and Harvey 1877-1878

    …I have had one or two scares and that is quite enough for me. We have about 800 head of cattle on the ranch, all cows, and Vail has just gone to New Mexico to buy about 40 good blooded bulls which he will bring here as soon as possible. I do not know how many calves we have at present but shall know by November, as then we shall brand and earmark them. From what I see riding round now, there are a good number. Our band of horses consists of 20 bro…

  • Chiricahua Ranches Company Ownership, 1928-1951

    …Sonoita, Ariz., association president, reported that United States cattle numbers are now close to the record figure of 76,000,000 head, an increase of 1,000,000 in the last year. Boice said the slaughter increased to 28,000,000 head in 1942. He predicted that marketings this year would surpass the 30,000,000-goal set by the secretary of agriculture. Boice cited these figures to prove that cattlemen are doing their best in wartime, but he forecas…

  • Boice Family Ranching History, 1859-1928

    …m Banning Vail and Mahlon Vail, trustees of the Vail Company. The purchase price was $185,000 to be paid no later than June 15, 1929. The sales agreement for the Rail X Ranch was signed by N.R. Vail, surviving partner of the partnership known as Vail and Ashburn, and Minnie Ashburn and other heirs of the Ashburn estate. The sale price was $90,000, to be paid no later than June 15, 1928. Rail X Ranch House, 1929. Courtesy of Martha Madani Henry G….

  • Tour the Cienega Watershed

    …avelStory and select “Tour the Cienega Watershed” to save the tour on your phone. Once you’ve download the app and the tour, no Internet access is needed. The tour includes 21 podcast-style stories that will automatically play at the appropriate location using your phone’s GPS. The route loop includes the Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead (in Vail), Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, the Empire Ranch Headquarters, wildlife viewing and many other feat…

  • The Search for the Right Ranch (July 14-August 22, 1876)

    …for years past. Placer miners are takin out as much gold as at any time. A number of stockmen are exploring the mountains for the best localities for water and grass and intend to soon decide upon places and engage regularly and permanently in growing cattle in Pima county the best by all odds in the Territory for the business.” Southeastern Arizona’s summer rains (monsoons) result in spectacular vegetation growth, as show in this recent photo at…