Thursday, April 29, 2010

Historic Sahuaro Ranch Park

In the historic area of Glendale lies a gem hidden away amongst the tall trees surrounding it. Just north of Glendale Community College on 17 acres is one of the city’s oldest and greatest exceptional ranches known as Sahuaro Ranch Park. The 1885 homestead consists of 13 original buildings, a beautiful rose garden, and barnyard and historic orchards sitting on this well-preserved land is the mists of Glendale. This place is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and referred to as the “Showplace of the Valley”.

The history of Sahuaro Ranch begins in the year 1885 when the Arizona Canal was finished and opened up 44 miles of canals, and about 100,000 acres of desert land for farming and homesteading. In 1886, 36 year old William Henry Bartlett and his brother Samuel became interested in investing in a fruit ranch. They saw the huge market for ranching and started their homestead just north of where Glendale would eventually exist. By 1918, Bartlett had the most prevalent ranches in the area which consisted of over 2,000 acres near Glendale.

Bartlett had several structures built on the land such as homes for the ranch hands, friends and other family members. The Adobe House was the first to be constructed and was the home of Stephen H. Campbell, who served as the ranch’s first superintendent. The horse barn and blacksmith shop were built next. The ranch had a large array of animals such as horses, mules, cows, bulls and hogs. He added hundreds of varies colors of rose bushes, trees, various types of plants, a large pond with a bridge which takes you to the gazebo on the island.

Bartlett was a regular visitor to the ranch but never made it his permanent residence. He did have totally control in every facet of construction or day to day operations of the ranch and its beautiful grounds. By 1890, Harry W. Adams took over as the superintendent and continued to plant fruit orchards and grain crops, under the watchful eye of Bartlett.

On November 8, 1898, Bartlett moved to his family to the ranch after his youngest son, Willie, was stricken with tuberculosis. His doctor told him that moving him to a warm dryer climate would be better for his health. As time went on, electricity was added to the ranch along with an electrical generator to pump water from a well. Automobiles were added in 1905 and used to aid in the work done on the ranch. Bartlett lived on the ranch until his death in 1918.

Sahuaro Ranch Park has seen several owners after Bartlett. P.E. Bradshaw owned the ranch from 1913 to 1927, and then Richard W. Smith bought it in 1927. After Richard’s death in 1944, his son Richard Jr. acquired the exquisite ranch and grounds. By 1966, the mayor of Glendale, Max Klass, partitioned for a federal grant to have the ranch purchased by the City of Glendale. It wasn’t until 1977 when the city finally acquired the ranch making it an historical area.

Along with the many chickens and roosters that roam freely around the park, there are stories that some ghosts are wandering around as well. Some have seen the presence of a male ghost hanging around the buildings and grounds of the ranch. Perhaps it is the spirit of Bartlett still keeping a watchful eye on the place. A woman is also known to be haunting the Ranch House and has been seen by some. The story is told that she may have a connection to the Smith family. You do get a sense of the grand history of the ranch and the spirits that seem to be living there as you walk around the grounds.


10 comments:

  1. That's so cool! I never heard of it. I admit to being mostly stupid about the west side of town. That sounds like a very cool place and I'm so glad the preserved it! There's so little preserved history out here that it's very precious. That's cool about the male ghost-I bet it is him!

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  2. I heard about the male ghost from a friend. Since Bartlett had to be present in everything having to do with the ranch, I just bet that even in afterlife, he is still there making sure his place is kept up. I also have to admit that this was the first time I had been there. Katie wants to go with me and do the tour next time.

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  3. Haven't heard of this place either, but has a pretty cool history.

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  4. The place looks almost too pretty to be haunted!

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  5. Did I miss it or did you have any pics of the peacocks? Are they still there? This place was 2 miles from our home when we lived in Phx. We went there weekly. (Daily in nicer weather.) It's so funny you wrote about it because I was going to ask you about it. But I've been behind. You should see all the pics of the rose garden and house I took before we moved. It broke my heart to say goodbye to this park. EXCELLENT write up, Julie. And, again, thank you for posting pics that let me virtually be back in AZ.

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  6. I have had pleanty of experiances there at this park. I sneak in there alot to investigate.

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  7. I used to visit this place often a a kid. I am trying my hand at photography and took my two daughters there for a photo shoot this week. There is CLEARLY a man's face in a photo I took of my daughter so I started googling the park being haunted, and this is the first site I found. It's legit.

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  8. I grew up on the street Behind the park and spent at least a hundred nights there sneaking around with friends and as I got older finding places to drink under age. The place really has a weird feeling at night. One house has a concrete stairway going down to the basement which was always locked up with padlocks but one. Ight walking by with friends we all heard voices coming from behind the door which was enough to make us run home. The other experience was on e night we were throwing oranges at the guards shack trying to piss him off when 3-4 oranges were thrown at us at once from behind but no one was around. I'm a grown man and that place still gives me the willys.

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  9. The images posted in this blog reflects the extra attractiveness of the ranch homes to create a great pleasure in the visitors memory.
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  10. I'm a Park Ranger for the city of glendale and recently while out investigating an audible alarm, I saw the blinds swaying back and forth on the second floor of the main house.

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