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  • Are You an ERF Member?

    Did you know that in 2019 membership dues provided 33% of the Foundation’s income? ERF’s first membership drive was held in 2002 to implement one of the Foundation’s strategic planning goals– to expand the number of interested, contributing members to provide a continuing source of funds for preservation and outreach programs, and to participate in Empire Ranch Foundation programs and activities. A strong membership base is as critical to ERF’s s…

  • Join Our E-Mail List

    By joining our Email List, you’ll receive occasional E-News communications, providing the latest information about events and activities at the Empire Ranch. Please know that you can easily unsubscribe at any time by sending us an email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Privacy Statement: We recognize the importance of protecting the privacy of all information provided by users of our website, and subscribers to our Email List. We do not sh…

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

    After exploring three ranches in the Tucson vicinity Walter L. Vail and Herbert Hislop decided to purchase Fish’s ranch, which they begin to call the Empire Ranch. It is not clear 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. August 22 & 23, 1876—The Purchase of the Empire Ranch is Recorded; New Owners Get to Work Transfer of Property from Edward…

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

    After arriving in Tucson from Los Angeles on July 13, 1876 Walter Vail and Herbert Hislop began the search for the right ranch property on which to make their fortune. The tale told below comes mostly from Hislop’s letters published in An Englishman’s Arizona. The Ranching Letters of Herbert R. Hislop, 1876-1878. Tucson: Overland Press, 1965, and Vail family correspondence from the Empire Ranch Foundation archives. July 14, 1876—The Search for a …

  • National Day of the Cowboy

    … Plan to join us on Saturday, July 23, 2022 from 8 a.m. to noon to celebrate National Day of the Cowboy at the Empire Ranch. It’s a free family friendly event with western demonstrations, vendors, and tours of the historic Ranch House. Click here to see the preliminary program. Updated 7/5/2022 …

  • The Trip from Los Angeles to Tucson (July 5-13, 1876)

    On July 5, 1876 Walter Vail and Herbert Hislop began an arduous trip from Los Angeles to Tucson. The tale told below comes mostly from Hislop’s August 7, 1876 letter to his grandmother, published in An Englishman’s Arizona. The Ranching Letters of Herbert R. Hislop, 1876-1878. Tucson: Overland Press, 1965. Walter Vail had made the trip once before, in 1875. He began to write of his experiences towards the end of the trip. July 5, 1876—Los Angeles…

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

    6/20/1876, Tucson, Arizona On June 20, 1876 William Wakefield transferred the title for his 160 acre homestead claim (NE part of Section 18 of Township 19S, Range 17E) to his brother-in-law, E. N. Fish for a fee of $500. In a few months this property would become the Empire Ranch. Virginia Flaccus, relates in her oral history with the Empire Ranch Foundation: “Grandfather, Edward Nye Fish, sent his brother-in-law, William Wakefield, out to homest…

  • 2021 Cowboy Festival Program

    2021 Cowboy Festival Program ARENA DEMONSTRATIONS Saturday, November 6th 10 am – B Troop Color Guard Presentation 10:15 am — B Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial) 11 am — Lanny Leach Horsemanship 11:30 am — BLM Wild Mustangs & Burro Demo 12:15 pm — Spanish Barb Horses 12:30 pm –Joel Eliot Cattle Demo 1:30 pm — BLM Wild Mustangs & Burro Demo 2:15 pm — Sarah Ogilvie Cowdog Demo 3:00 pm — B Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial) Sunday, N…

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  • Newsletter Issues

    2022 June (Vol. 23, Issue 2) March (Vol. 23, Issue 1) 2021 December (Vol. 22, Issue 4) September (Vol. 22, Issue 3) June (Vol. 22, Issue 2) March (Vol. 22, Issue 1) 2020 December (Vol. 21, Issue 4) June/September (Vol. 21, Issue 2/3) March (Vol. 21, Issue 1) 2019 December (Vol. 20, Issue 4) September (Vol. 20, Issue 3) June (Vol. 20, Issue 2) March (Vol. 20, Issue 1) 2018 December (Vol. 19, Issue 4) September (Vol. 19, Issue 3) June (Vol. 19, Iss…