What’s New

In the 1920s Edward L. Vail, Walter Vail’s brother,  began to write reminiscences of his experiences in early Arizona, many of which were published in local newspapers.  The March 2021 issue of the ERF Newsletters features two of his stories.

A Mexican Baile is a humorous story of Empire Ranch cowboys attending a dance in the nearby mining town of Greaterville.  Dan Murphy’s Ranch on the San Pedro River tells the tale of a trip made by Edward Vail and foreman Jerry Dillon to purchase bulls for the Empire Ranch.

Click here to read the stories.

Posted 2/22/2021

Celebrating 20 Years of Shared Conservation Stewardship

Twenty years have passed since Representative Jim Kolbe introduced the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area Establishment Act of 1999 in the House of Representatives. The bill was unanimously passed in September 1999, be-coming law in December 2000, establishing the more than 42,000-acre Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (NCA).

Click here to read the article about all that has been accomplished.

New Ranch House Capital Campaign

Help us create our Western Heritage and Education Center!  The Empire Ranch Foundation has begun a capital campaign to renovate the New Ranch House to serve as conference space for education programs, a place for environmental researchers to come stay for a day or two while they study the beautiful area of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, and as office space where our board members, or in the future, a new administrative director can work.

Click here to find out how you can help.

Growing Up on the Empire Ranch

Six sets of Vail and Boice children experienced life on the Empire Ranch. Our December newsletter features stories and photos which reveal that despite the more than 75-year time span between the Vail and Boice children, their growing up experiences are remarkably similar.

Click here to read all about them.

Historic Empire Ranch: We’ll Be Back

Modern Communications

The Empire Ranch had one of the first telephones in the area when a line was installed by 1890 between the ranch and the Pantano railroad town 45 miles north. Talented volunteer, John Weiss, refurbished and mounted a 1908 Kellogg candlestick telephone and Stromberg-Carlson Magneto Ringer (ca. 1894) in the Office (Room 11).

This equipment, which was probably used at the Los Encinos Guest Ranch in Sonoita, was donated by Frank Hedgcock,
ERF Advisory Committee member.

Posted 9/1/2020

Cowboys of the Empire Ranch

The June/September issue of the ERF Newsletter features stories about some of the vaqueros and cowboys who
worked for the Vail (1876-1928) and Boice (1928-1974) families.

Click here to read all about them.

Posted 9/1/2020

2020 Cowboy Festival

After careful consideration and conversation with the Bureau of Land Management, the Board of the Empire Ranch Foundation voted to cancel the 2020 Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival due to the ongoing COVID19 concerns.  This was a tough decision, but one that we felt was in the best interest of our performers, volunteers, and participants.  Please consider becoming a member or donating to the Empire Ranch Foundation so we can continue our events in 2021.  We appreciate all those who come to visit the ranch!  Thank you!

Posted 8/21/2020

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 success today as then.  And it is especially important now since we are unable to host fundraising events.  If you are not a member, please consider joining by clicking here.   If you are a member we hope your membership is current.  If you’re unsure of your membership status contact send an email to admin@empireranchfoundation.org.

Posted 7/29/2020

Ranch House Remains Open

The historic Empire Ranch House on Las Cienegas National Conservation Area remains open for individual visitation.  Each room of the Ranch House has interpretive signage that explains the history of the room, its use, and past occupants.  Please be sure to close all doors behind you and practice social distancing if you encounter other visitors when touring the building.