Empire Ranch Foundation

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  • Banning Vail, 1909-1929

    …liott, Earl Turner, and Verna Turner at the north end of the Empire Ranch House, ca. 1909. Courtesy of Jim Loushin. Tom Turner Returns to the Empire Ranch – 1909 Tom Turner, who was the Empire Ranch foreman in the 1890s, returned as superintendent of the Empire Ranch in 1909. His wife, Mary, and four children, Earl, Verna, Jewel, and Stella, accompanied him. During this time period Bess Elliott was hired to teach the Empire Ranch children, and she…

  • Special Recreation Permits

    …r attempts to make a profit, receive money, amortize equipment, or obtain goods or services, as compensation from participants in recreational activities occurring on public lands led, sponsored, or organized by that person, group, or organization. An activity, service, or use is commercial if anyone collects a fee or receives other compensation that is not strictly a sharing of, or exceeds, actual expenses incurred for the purposes of the activit…

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

    …The Search for a Ranch Begins Hislop writes (8/7/1876): “Rested and just looked round the town for horses to buy, but did not succeed. Had more offers of ranches, it is astonishing how quickly one’s business is known in a small place like this. Everybody has the best to sell. It is quite amusing to hear them talk and hear them contradict each other, running down each other as thieves and rascals, but we have our money and intend to keep it unless…

  • Chiricahua Ranches Company Ownership, 1928-1951

    …ed from the Onyx Ranch in Kern County, CA to the Empire Ranch. Mary Boice took photographs of their trip which included a stop for repairs of the starter on their auto. Photos at left: Series of Mary Boice photos of the family’s move to the Empire Ranch, 1929. Courtesy of Martha Madani. Charles Boice, 1923. ERF archives: B203-36. Charles Boice Marries Birdie Lucille Collings – 1929 Charles Boice married Birdie Lucille Collings in her hometown of S…

  • Vail & Gates, 1888-1909

    …f hay to fatten his cattle. [Tucson Citizen, 10/6/1888]. He also began to look for property in California. In 1888 he and a new partner, Carroll W. Gates, leased the 26,700-acre Warner Ranch in San Diego County. View a summary of the forces at work in Arizona ranching here. Carroll W. Gates, 1909. ERF archives: A540-009 Carroll W. Gates (1860-1920) Carroll Gates was born in New York in 1860 and moved at an early age with his family to California….

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

    …who named the ranch. The partners begin the hard work of completing the 4-room adobe building, stocking the ranch, and expanding its land holdings. Cienega Creek in Davidson Canyon. This creek is one of the main water sources for the Empire Ranch supplies about 20 percent of the Tucson basin’s groundwater recharge. Source: Yelp August 22 & 23, 1876 – The Purchase of the Empire Ranch is Recorded; New Owners Get to Work Transfer of Property from Edw…

  • Gulf American Corporation Ownership, 1970-1975

    …n supplement. ‘The conditions are real dry and the grazing conditions are poor,’ he said. He said some shallow wells are pumping air part of the time. ‘I don’t know of anyone in our area who is hauling water yet,’ he said. ‘Most of the people depend on windmills. There’s talk among some of the ranchers… thinking about maybe doing something with the cows, selling or moving them’.” [Arizona Republic, 4/15/1971] Fred Boice, 1960s. ERF archives: B203-…

  • Vail, Hislop, and Harvey 1877-1878

    …hn Harvey worked to find cattle for the Empire Ranch and improve the four-room structure that came with the ranch purchase. They also had to contend with the dangers of raiding Chiricahua Apache warriors, and neighborly competition for land and water resources. Cowboys and horses in Empire Ranch corral, ca. 1900. ERF Archives A536-197. Horseshoeing and Interior Decorating – January 1877 In January 1877 Vail writes (1/2/1877): “We are having a grea…

  • 2023 Cowboy Festival Program

    …DEMONSTRATIONS Saturday, November 4, 2023 10 am–Presenting the Colors, B-Troop; National Anthem, Sonora Schmitt 10:05 am–B Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry (Mounted Calvary Demo) 10:45 am–Regi Richter (Horsemanship) 11:15 am–Joel Eliot & George Masek (Cattle Demo) 12 pm–Tombstone Ghost Riders (Mounted Shooting) 12:45 pm–Spanish Barb Horses 1:15 pm–B Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry (Mounted Calvary Demo) 2:00 pm–Tombstone Ghost Riders (Mounted Shooting) 2:45 pm–Joel…

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

    …from Grandpa to bother about that! Evidently Uncle Will did a lot of his footwork for him – a lot of mining and things like that, that Grandpa was interested in. Grandpa would put up the money, and then Uncle Will would go out and do it. And then after he had proven up on it, then Grandpa paid him off and he assumed ownership of the property.” Walter L. Vail, age 30, ca. 1882 Vail family home in Plainfield, NJ Introducing Walter L. Vail Walter Va…