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Historical Articles

November Library Display

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If you missed the Romero display at Steam Pump Ranch, there’s still time to catch it at the Oro Valley Public Library.  Francisco Romero and his wife, Victoriana,  were the first non-Native settlers in Oro Valley circa 1869.  Visitors to the exhibit at the Pusch House included ancestors of Romero.  Visit our Facebook page to see the gallery of photos (Oro Valley Historical Society).

The Romeros

Henry Zipf Visits the PZ Feldman Ranch

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Henry Shares His Memories During February 2010 Visit

Pat Spoerl, president of the OVHS Board of Directors, invited Henry to share his memories. The following is a record of his presentation as he walked the property on Feb. 15, 2010.

OK, I can’t very well walk but I can point them out. This was our home over here ( pointing to the large two story house). This was a blacksmith shop. It was a pretty busy place as I remember as a kid. Don’t know if it had the shed on the side. I just remembered the old adobe building.

Black Smith Shed

Black Smith Shed

 

Grain Silo and Wheat Field

Grain Silo and Wheat Field

This silo over there was for the grain raised in these fields and put in that silo. I remember the smell of the silage they put in there.

One year my dad raised a bunch of hogs. The hogs were kept over there in pens. He had a couple of sows and gave one to me and one to my brother, He had a prize of a dollar for the one that had the most pigs; I won. My brother cried, so the next day he took a couple of pigs out of my place and put it into my brothers, he got the dollar that time.

He had a bunch of pigs, they were out in this field, he would get out there and yell “PIG, “PIG and they would come running from all over. A good thing about the pigs is that they would get rid of the rattlesnakes. There were a lot of snakes out here because there was water here. Those pigs would go after the rattlesnakes.

Feldman Ranch House - North End

Feldman Ranch House – North End

 

 

Feldman Ranch House - Porch All Around the Outside

Feldman Ranch House – Porch All Around the Outside

This house here, a two-story, we had a porch that ran all the way around the north end of the Feldman Ranch House. We would sleep on the porch because it was cool. It didn’t have any heat, it had a fireplace in the middle and an old kitchen. It was rather roomy, a nice place.

The school teacher would live there with us. And, when they had roundups, the cowboys would come in and occupy part of it. Once in a while, we would find rattlesnakes under the bed. On the other side, we had chicken coops. The coyotes and skunks would get in there. We had a couple dogs and they would go after them and those dogs would smell for a week. To me it was a very spacious place, I didn’t realize that it really wasn’t that large.

Once in awhile there was an old Indian that would come to the back door of the kitchen and demand food, we’d give them food, my grandmother would give them some food. The Indians lived right over at the Aravaipa and some on the ranch.

Store with Post Office (left)

Store with Post Office (above on the left)

Catholic Church

Catholic Church

That building where the white building is, I don’t recall that. But, the other building we had a store and we had a post office there. My mother was a post-mistress. My older brother Walter at times ran the store.

That white building up there, was a church, Catholic church. I’m not real positive about that, but that was about where the church was, I don’t think it was that large. My grandfather gave them the land, and they built a church About once a month the Priest would show up and ring the bell and all people from all around would go to the church.

Granary Concrete Building

Granary Concrete Building

Feldman Ranch House - Center Room with Fireplace for Heat

Feldman Ranch House – Center Room with Fireplace for Heat

The building over at the far end was a granary and that’s where they would store the grain. There was a little side building built on the side of it and that was a school house. I went to school there for about two years. I have a picture that was taken and I can’t find it.

There were ten of us. We had a woman by the name of Kirkpatrick who would come down from Winkelman as our school teacher. That poor woman would have to take care often different kids in ten different courses. Then later a Miss Scott was a teacher and she lived in the house with us. As a result, I got l’s, top grades. That teacher had to do it you-see, had to, she lived with us. That old building is gone a lean-to. That granary was always full of grain from the fields and we would play around in it I thought that was a big building, it isn’t really.

This road will take us to what we had as a lake in those days. Springs from the Cook Ranch would move over to this ranch and built that Lake in there, it was a good-sized lake. We could fish and hunt, my dad would hunt and fish and so forth. There was an old house back there where a caretaker sort of lived. I haven’t been back in there, guess the lake is gone, I don’t know about the lake. Some maps we brought out to show Henry the lake area, in 1997 it started drying up, in 2000 there was no surface flow out of the spring. In 2006 there was a flood and recharged the springs a little. My grandfather was involved in a lawsuit with respect to the water from the river. There were good springs around here, we got lots of water. We had a boat over there on the lake we would swim and fish My dad would hunt a lot of duck and a lot of other birds would come in. And it is a pretty area with a lot of trees and growth, and vines, it had a lot of growth in there.

Feldman Ranch - Dry Lake Bed

Feldman Ranch – Dry Lake Bed

Feldman Ranch House - Center Room with Fireplace for Heat

Feldman Ranch House – Center Room with Fireplace for Heat

Feldman Ranch House - Upstairs Large Room Over Whole House

Feldman Ranch House – Upstairs Large Room Over Whole House

When I was a kid, there were two people that lived on the Cook Ranch I just remember them as an old family, man and wife, and their name was Cook. We would stop in there and get a drink of cold water. I didn’t see a lot of them, they were off to themselves. I don’t know if they ran cattle or anything. My grandfather ran cattle in here, over 15,000 head. He brought them all the way over from Oracle Junction, over where that Saddlebrooke development is now, they ran them all the way across. This, of course, was the headquarters. Right down here somewhere was an irrigation ditch that ran the whole length, always full of water. He had wells here. That canal was always full water, I think it came from the lake. I don’t remember any dikes in that ditch I just remember the old irrigation ditch and they took some water out of the river. You know I was just a little kid about 6 or 7 years old.

The old road that we came in on out front, that’s the old road that we had. There was a heck of an arroyo just a little ways up that old road, I bet that arroyo is still there. What my mother told me, my grandfather owned the Steam Pump Ranch on Oracle Road and First today. That was a ranch where he developed water to water cattle that they had here in Pinal County, Mammoth and everywhere else. They bring them into his ranch to water and then load them at Red Rock to ship or Tucson. He got ten cents a cow or something like that and built the Steam Pump for that purpose. And that was a place they would drive from Tucson the first day, to the Steam Pump, stay overnight, then they would come across from the Steam Pump across what they called the Antelope Plains and that ended up in Finch Canyon. And that would come in about where Aravaipa is and then there was a road that would come in up here. Maybe that was Putnam wash, that makes sense, that’s the one I was trying to think of My mother would come across in a wagon, not me, I’m not that old, pretty close.

Anyway, they would come along in these old wagons, my grandfather who developed the whole area never carried a gun. And the Indians, my Mother told me, would surround the wagon as they came into this area and he had sugar and flour and other provisions that he would give them so they never bothered him. He had two young daughters, Mabel and Mimi who had long blonde hair. The Indians would come off their horses and run their hands through their hair, but other than that, the Indians never bothered them. The Indian kid was born somewhere down here in the San Pedro and he was a renegade. Maybe it was the Apache kid. He would ravage up and down this valley but never cut a fence on the ranch They lived over in the Aravaipa. I don’t remember that of course, my mother was telling me this.

They called it the antelope plains because she said they would run into herds of antelope and have to stop the wagon. When I came out here because of a couple years they needed someone to run the ranch range and my dad who was really not a rancher, he came and operated it. I can remember him getting up at daylight almost every day and going out on the ranch They farmed all this and had cattle. I can remember around 1924 when they had a drought and the cattle would all come up to the ranch because there was water here and they had to fence them out. Otherwise, they would come in and over drink. They had to keep them out away and let them in slowly because they had been out in the boondocks with no water. That drought was tough on all the ranchers.

I can’t remember a heck of a lot about the school but we did have about 10 people. I remember one guy called Junior Harrington. He had a problem, he had to go out and relieve himself every once and awhile, that’s a heck of a remembrance about a guy. Had another nice guy by the name of Juan, who was the top guy down there. I can remember a little bit. I’ve got this picture of the class holding this number, I can’t find it. Anyway, I can remember a little bit about the school. Every Saturday or Sunday, I’m not sure which, my brother and I am would run out to the highway and sit there and wait for the stage we called it. It was just a big old car, a long car that went from Tucson up to Winkelman and they would throw off a paper and I think that was the only communication we had with the outside world. We didn’t have any radio or television set. That was a big deal we would bring the paper in.

I can remember my dad gave us each one of us a burro. There was a comic strip at that time, I can’t remember the name, but the comic strip had a couple of horses or bulls in it, can’t remember the name. It’s a good joke, I’ll think of it, can’t come up with it right now. But we had burros, but as kids, we did not get around too much A big deal was to go into Winkelman or Hayden because they had a drugstore there and we would get ice cream. Winkelman and Hayden at that time were pretty active. The mines were working and also the smelter. I don’t know about today.

We had no electric power but had coal oil lamps and little coal oil heaters. I can remember we would put a pot of water on the top of it. I don’t know why. We didn’t have any kerosene, that all came later. I don’t remember this ever being a hotel or anything. When we were there, it was my brother and myself my dad, my mother, the school teacher all lived here.

When they had the roundups the Cowboys would come in and they sort of occupied one-half of the house and we would occupy the other. It had an old kitchen in it and a bathroom that you had to heat the water up on an iron stove and carry it into the bathtub. I think we got a bath once a week. That was quite an experience.

We did not know any better, you know we were living out here. I remember when we had to go into town we were scared to death of Tucson. I was about seven and he was about a year or two younger. I guess it was a couple of years that we lived here. (Some records that Henry has given OVHS document his mother was postmistress here at the ranch). We enjoyed it, we thought it was a great place, like I say we didn’t know any better.

I can remember we had jerky up in the top room. There were lines and the jerky was on those lines up there. And whenever they would kill a calf or cow we would get jerky. I can remember there was a lot of meat up there. We would go up there and sneak some of that jerky. I guess they would bring out stuff like flour and sugar in big bulks. We could go into Hayden and Winkelman it wasn’t too far. There was a good merchandise store in Winkelman Drugstore was in Hayden. It wasn’t that isolated. The store had provisions for sale and I guess they did not have any meat or anything that would be bad, they had all kinds of merchandise.

I don’t remember growing melons or vegetables out here but we might have grown some corn in the fields. My dad did a lot of hunting, we had quail and dove and duck. We had eggs, we had chickens and we probably had watermelon We had a lot of chickens. Those coyotes and rest of them were always after them, skunks. I can’t remember worrying very much about it I just know that we always ate well, ate a lot of meat. They had to keep it somehow, they didn’t have any ice. Maybe they brought ice out when they came from Tucson, I don’t know. We had an old Overland car, I don’t know where it came from. I’ve never heard of another Overland car. When we would drive to Tucson we usually have two flat tires, my dad would have to change the tire, put in a new tube and pump it up, that old road. That was always an experience, driving back and forth to Tucson Things always seem to go along very well out here.

I don’t know exactly where we got our water, but know we had water in the kitchen, must have brought it in. I can’t really remember about the water. Course I was a little kid, and they didn’t let us wander too far cause there were lots of rattlesnakes. We would go to that school, we didn’t have far to go and come on back home. I think my mother kept pretty close touch I can’t remember going down across the river.

I can remember when I was a kid, we drove up to Aravaipa on a weekend with a whole bunch of people. There was a house up there at the end and they had apple cider. Everybody went up there and had apple cider and apples. That was a big deal, clear at the end of Aravaipa. Another thing I just remembered, there was an old fellow by the name of I think Wilson, lived in the house, rented. He had a Gypsum claim on the other side up here. I can remember my dad coming in one time and talking about someone up there and dropped a drill and it took quite a while to hear it hit. That old fellow was always going to make a lot of money on gypsum, I don’t know if he ever did, but I can remember him, he lived here. The foreman’s name was Voil, he was a good man, he lived here for a number of years. The foreman lived in a building right up there on the other side, Voil, he had a family. The kids were part of the school. I guess they were the only other ones that lived down here other than my family.
Henry Zipf and his Brother with Dog named Ben

Henry Zipf and his Brother with Dog named Ben. This corner of the house is where a picture was taken when Henry was 7 years old and his brother was 6. Henry brought the photo to show everyone and gave it to OVHS for their files.

There used to be a fence here. The dog’s name was Ben, he was a collie.

Feldman Ranch - Foreman’s House

Feldman Ranch – Foreman’s House

That old wood structure over there was the foreman’s house, it was pretty substantial, his family lived there. Really not sure if it was the wood structure of the white one next to it. That joke I was trying to tell you about, it was those burros. The comic strip was Spark Plug. We both wanted to name our burrow Spark Plug. So we flipped a coin, I named mine “Spark” and he named his “plug”.

I guess she wasn’t successful, to preserve it. She lived in Curley, I had correspondence with her and that type thing, but I haven’t heard from her in quite a while. She was a nice lady, trying to do something with it. That old granary, last time I was out here, it was in pretty good shape, it’s got cement walls. There was a lean-to along side where that white area is, that was where the schoolhouse was.

My granddaddy used to own the Willow Springs over here, he bought it in 1932, sold it in 1937. You all know Boyd Wilson, he was an old client of mine, a friend. His son still runs that ranch, Ralph still runs the ranch. I was an attorney, you didn’t specialize in those days, just took what came in. John Leber was an attorney too (recently part owner/operator of Steam Pump Ranch). His dad (Hank) who lived in Phoenix bought land, bought a lot of land in Phoenix. So Hank came back and had a pot full of dough. He lived out there at Steam Pump and during the war. You know in those days a rancher would locate where there was water. (For current fields use well water, pumped from about a 130-foot depth). This is an old well right down here too, I can remember the well and see the water come out. As a kid, I can remember the head gate, and they decided one year to clean up the lake, so they opened the head gate. Everyone from around here came with gunny sacks, and filled them with fish Drained the lake and cleaned it up then put the head gate back on. I can remember that because all those guys were down there with gunny sacks, a lot of carp in there.

We visited the lake site, no comments recorded by Henry. On way back to Mammoth for lunch, we stopped at the old Cook Ranch. The main ranch house has been removed, an old building still stands.

Cook Ranch House Location - Huge Pyracantha Bush in back

Cook Ranch House Location – Huge Pyracantha Bush in back

A Second Building Built at Cook Ranch

A Second Building Built at Cook Ranch

We used to come in here (Cook Ranch), the old man and his wife used to live in the house. We drove right down here and the trees were on each side and they were at the end of the lane. It was a very pretty spot. They were of course right next to where all the water was. I don’t remember the house as being a very big place. I just remember one house. They may have had a barn. I do remember all these big old trees.

And then there was an old guy that came in later and bought it, he came out of Aravaipa, I can’t remember his name, Fleager it was. He was a member of the Club and so was I. He had some kind of a problem, not sure what it was, maybe it was murder. Was a tough old guy. This was really a beautiful area in the Spring and Summer with all the trees in bloom. I guess they are just going to let it go back (137 acres). Remember when I said they came in a wagon, called it the Finch, it wasn’t. It was the Putnam Wash, and they had real floods in it. There was an old house up on the side of the hill.  It was deserted because a flood had come in And it was up on the side too, the Putnam wash had big floods. The Apaches were right below you. The Indians would come out and greet my granddad, right down the Putnam wash, it was a rough wash My Dad and Mother each had a horse, they took one of us, my brother on one horse, me on the other. We came from Steam Pump across the Antelope Plains to the Putnam Wash, I think that is the way they rode. I can remember hearing the Putnam Wash.

We then left the Cook Ranch to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Mammoth. Additional comments were recorded at my end of the table, mostly from Ben Williams about his dealing with Henry, Raul Castro, and others. The video ran out of memory about 29 minutes into lunch so some of the comments and stories were missed.

Notes: The PZ Feldman Ranch is located just to the west of AZ Hwy 77, just north of Mammoth. Feldman was George Pusch’s brother-in-law who operated the ranch for George starting about 1890. Henry Zipf is the great Grand-son of George Pusch
The transcription above was completed on March 3, 2010, by Joe Frannea. An HD video from a flip camera was used to record the interview/tour and to create this document. The main purpose was to capture audio, not the video. Some of the photos are single frame shots from the HD video. Video and transcription by Joe Frannea (OVHS), photos by Joe and Patsy Frannea. The purpose of the tour was to gain insight from Henry Zipf about the PZ Feldman Ranch Oro Valley Historical Societies (OVHS) continuing pursuit is to document ranching history in the greater Oro Valley area. The questions from tour group members were not included but Henry’s answers reflect the question asked.

This transcript was reviewed by Henry Zipf for accuracy and OVHS has received written approval from Henry for the exclusive use of this document.

This first video segment with Henry talking to the whole group by his car is 34 minutes long. The segments are recorded in separate files (MP4) and start at file name VID00016 and go to VID00028. These have been copied to 2 DVDs for OVHS archives. Occasionally, there are summary sentences or phrases from Henry’s comments due to so many different people talking at once. There is other interesting information on the videos from others that is not transcribed for this document.

Additional Information
Henry made reference to one of his favorite comic strips on page 5 and page 7, “Spark Plug Below is some information on Spark Plug from the Internet.

Barney GoogleBarney Google and Spark Plug

SPARK PLUG

Barney Google was a comic strip begun by Billy DeBeck in 1919, under the overly wordy original title Takes Barney Google, Frinstance. It was soon changed to Barney Google, and in 1922, Barney, who was a short hard on his luck fellow, was gifted an inept race horse named Spark Plug.
Here is a sampling of the lyrics of the 1923 smash hit:

Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.
Barney Google bet his horse would win the prize.
When the horses ran that day, Spark Plug ran the other way.
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes. Barney Google had a wife three times his size
She sued Barney for divorce
Now he’s living with his horse.
Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.

In 1924, the strip went to even greater heights when Barney and Spark Plug found themselves in the mountains of North Carolina, where they met up with the equally tiny hillbilly, Snuffy Smith. Americans sure loved them their hillbillies (see Li’l Abner for proof of that), so Snuffy was a great addition to the strip, and soon it was retitled Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.
In fact, during the 1950s, Barney and Snuffy parted company, but Snuffy got to keep the strip!!! It continues to this day as Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, but Barney only occasionally shows up to visit.

HONEY BEE VILLAGE a Hohokam village

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Honey Bee Village is one of the largest Hohokam villages in the northern Tucson Basin . Lying near the base of Pusch Ridge in the Rancho Vistoso development, it was occupied from about A.D. 750 to A.D. 1300. This prehistoric village covers about 75 acres. The core area, consisting of approximately 12 acres, contains a ball court for social gatherings, a large walled compound, and a series of trash mounds containing artifacts that represent nearly 500 years of occupation .

 

Honey Bee Village Excavation

An estimated 150 – 200 pit house structures may exist at the village . The nearby Sleeping Snake Village, obliterated through modern development also contained a ball court and a large number of pithouses.
Archaeological excavations were conducted at the site in 1988 and additional excavations are planned prior to further development of the area.

Preservation of the core area of one of these Hohokam villages is essential to gaining a better understanding of the thousands of years of history in Oro Valley.

Experience experimental Archaeology and Hands-On Archaeology of Hohokam Pithouses at Steam Pump Ranch presented by Archaeology Southwest and its advisory team

In Search of the Countess

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IN SEARCH OF THE COUNTESS
By Sybil Needham

The Countess called her new home “Forest Lodge” because it was surrounded by a citrus grove. She bought the property that lies north of Westward Look and east of Oracle Road from Matthew Baird III on April 1, 1934. He had attempted to grow citrus there but the spot was a little too inclined to suffer frost. It was a perfect hideaway, however, for the reclusive Countess of Suffolk and Berkshire. She even bought it under an assumed name -Marguerite Hyde. Her real name was Margaret Howard. She was tall and beautiful and loved fast horses, cars and airplanes.

Lady Suffolk was a widow when she arrived here. Her husband, Henry Molyneaux Paget Howard, the Earl of Suffolk was killed in combat in WWI. Their courtship had been a storybook romance that had made headlines on two continents.

Margaret, or Daisy as she was known to her friends, was an American heiress from Chicago. Her father, Levi Leiter, was a business partner in the original Marshall Field store. He left that partnership and opened the Fair Store and speculated in lucrative real estate ventures. As was popular at the turn of the century, he sent Daisy and her two sisters to finishing school in England.

In England, American girls were known for their independence and spirit of adventure. Daisy and her sisters must have been sensational. They were famed for their intelligence and beauty.  Sister Mary married Lord Crosone, who soon became Viceroy of India. Nancy married Major Campbell of the Palace Guard and Daisy became engaged to the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. Chicago papers carried pictorial features of the weddings.

The new Countess and her husband lived in his 17th century manor house called Redlinch. She bore his three sons. They traveled extensively and visited her sister in India and went on safaris in Africa where Daisy photographed big game. And then the Duke of Austria was assassinated in Serbia and that brought on World War One.

The death of the Earl was not the only tragedy that she suffered. We know that both of her sisters died and that there was a serious falling out with her father. He was unhappy that she visited him so seldom.  When he died, he bequeathed her 48 million dollars which stipulated that she had to live 4 months of every year in the United States.

But why did she come to Tucson instead of Chicago? Climate? Health? Romance? Maybe a little of all three. We know that she accompanied an Englishman here and helped him find a place to rent. Colonel Gillette had a respiratory problem which required clean and dry air. Maybe he had been gassed in the trenches during the war. He was tall, handsome and charming. A likely companion for the elegant Countess. Their relationship was discreet, however, and the rental of the property was kept secret. As mentioned, even the purchase of her property was done under an assumed name.

The Countess herself had a touch of arthritis in her back and took therapy once a week from a local physical therapist.

In 1935, she engaged local architect Robert A. Morse to build her new home. The style was called “International” or “modern”. Local sceptics called it “neo-Hitler”. It had five master bedrooms, servants quarters, a four-car garage and air-conditioning. Later, she built the servants their own house nearby and had a green lawn planted for lawn bowling. It was never a cozy house. A local interior decorator described it as looking like an institution or a hospital. The Countess spent a lot of money on drapes and other touches to soften the rooms.

She had a Bentley Rolls/Royce and a chauffeur named Stone and was often seen driving around town and shopping in local stores. Howard Rosenfeld was a young man working in the linen department of Levy’s Department Store. He was new and not especially knowledgable in fine linens. She arrived to shop and quickly perceived his ineptness and took him under her wing. He was always grateful for her understanding and they were friends until her death. He learned his lessons well for he married the boss’s daughter Jackie Levy and was a manager for Levy’s until it was sold in the 1980’s.

Stone the chauffeur may have been a former RAF pilot. He obtained a local pilot’s license and Daisy bought a Cessna 180, which she parked in her driveway, and together they flew forays around Arizona, California and Mexico where she photographed local wildlife. In 1969, he was flying her to California to visit her son Cecil when she had a heart attack. The plane made an emergency landing but there was nothing that could be done to save her. She was 88 years old at the time.

In 1957, she felt that Tucson was encroaching on her solitude, so she sold the ranch and bought land near Oracle. The Roman Catholic Church bought the buildings and the rest of the land was sold to a developer named Lusk who named the development Suffolk Hills. She built a beautiful new home on her new property and, as most of us know, that home is now part of the restaurant at Biosphere II.

By all accounts, she was a remarkable woman. She was impulsive. Once she had Stone drive her over to the Nasons, owners and founders of Westward Look. She sent Stone in to announce her.  Mrs. Nason, who was busy as the proprietress of a popular resort, said “Tell her to come in.” The Countess was so miffed at the woman’s failure to come out to greet her that she had Stone drive her home again.

Another time she was visiting relatives in Casanovia, NY. They were very rich and very conservative. She rented a helicopter and landed in their front yard. The whole town was scandalized. I can imagine she enjoyed that reaction.

She liked giving parties occasionally. Once she invited a whole bevy of Tucson debutantes and their gentlemen friends for a dinner dance. An acquaintance of mine was among the young guests but she was so concerned about a spat with her boyfriend that she could remember nothing else about the evening.

There may have been a lot of coverage about Lady Suffolk in Chicago papers but very little was said about her in Tucson newspapers. She must have guarded her private life carefully. As today, the rich and famous regard their abodes in Tucson as places to recuperate from the public’s prying eyes. But as a nosy historian, it sure would be nice to know more.

The History Steam Pump Ranch

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STEAM PUMP RANCH

by: HENRY ZIPF

My Grandfather, George Pusch, arrived in New York from Germany in 1865. He was eighteen years old. He was accompanied by a friend, John Zellweger, a Swiss boy of 15 years old. They were meat cutters by trade and soon found employment in the city.

They were young and eager and soon they traveled across the country to San Francisco. There Pusch, having saved his money, bought a wagon and 14 mule team and headed for Arizona. He spent some time in Prescott, which was the largest town in the territory, and headed for Phoenix. Finally, about 1874, he arrived in Tucson, a town of 3000 inhabitants.

He prevailed upon Zellweger to join him. Zellweger took a three day trip by boat from San Francisco to San Diego and then a five day trip by stage to Tucson.

There they pooled their resources and bought a portion of the Canada del Oro Ranch–named it the Steam Pump Ranch. Water was plentiful and close to the surface. So, they rigged up a steam pump to bring the water to the surface.

Ranchers from all over Pinal County would bring their cattle herds to Tucson or Red Rock for shipment to market and would water their cattle the night before loading at the Steam Pump Ranch. Pusch got 15 cents a head for each cow that was watered.

He also ran cattle on the ranch–his pasture included a forest permit in that part of the Catalinas we now call Pusch Ridge and Pusch Peak.

Mathilda Feldman, a 20 year old girl from Drockenburg, Germany, journeyed to Tucson in 1879 by train to visit her friend, Sophia Spieling, who married John Zellweger in 1883. Mathilda and George Pusch were married in 1880, one year after her arrival in Tucson.

Mathilda and George had nine children–two who died soon after birth. My mother, Gertrude, was the eldest of those who survived. and she lived all her life in Tucson until her death in 1974

About this time Pusch bought the PZ or Feldman Ranch.     Its headquarters were located between Mammoth and Winkelman, not far from the confluence of the Aravaipa Creek and San Pedro River.

The Feldman Ranch grew–at one time it stretched from the San Pedro River to Oracle Junction. Pusch ran as many as 15,000 range cattle on the ranches. The headquarters included a store, post office, school, church, blacksmith shop, and a number of ranch houses.

Pusch used the Steam Pump Ranch as an overnight stop for the trip to the Feldman Ranch–55 miles from Tucson. He would travel in a wagon across the Antelope Plains, and on many occasions mounted Apaches would circle the wagon to greet my grandfather.

He never carried a gun, but instead would give the Indians sugar, flour, and other provisions.

Often times the children would accompany him on the trip to Feldman–two of the youngest had long blonde hair. The Apaches took delight in running their fingers through the girl’s hair.

Apache hunting parties camped in the foothills above the Steam Pump Ranch–near where the Garrett Plant is located–and would beat on the kitchen door to demand food from the cook. My grandmother would quickly direct the cook not to argue with the visitors.

Prospectors watered their burros at the ranch prior to going in the Catalina foothills to seek a treasure nobody ever found. For years there had been a tale of a fabulous gold mine in the Catalina’s, sealed with an iron door.

In 1922 Harold Bell Wright, a prolific writer at the time came to Tucson for his health. He had tuberculosis. Wright was a visitor at the Steam Pump on a number of occasions and my mother told him the story of the Mine with the Iron Door.

Wright prevailed upon George Wilson, who owned the Linda Vista Ranch near Oracle, to allow him to live at an isolated line camp in the Canada del Oro. There Wright wrote the Mine with the Iron Door, and also greatly improved his health.

He sold the story to Principal Picture Corporation and insisted that it be filmed at the Linda Vista Ranch to repay his old friend, George Wilson for allowing him to live in the canyon line shack.

Wilson had to build cottages and other facilities to house the actors and film crew. So, after filming was completed he had to figure a use for the new facilities. He established the Linda Vista Guest Ranch–the first guest ranch in Arizona.

It accommodated 45 guests and in its heyday attracted such notables as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and Rita Hayworth. Other guests were such national figures as Vice-President Dawes and Herb Brownell. Boyd Wilson, George’s son, told me that Tom Dewey came to the ranch immediately after his loss of the presidency to Harry Truman.

Joe McAdams, bought Rancho Romero and Roberta Nicholas, of Johnson Johnson Pharmaceutical Co., bought and occupied for many years the ranch where Catalina and Saddlebrook are now located.

In 1933 Jack Proctor who operated the Pioneer Hotel and a board member of the Valley Bank bought the Steam Pump Ranch from Mathilda Puschs estate for $10,000.00.

Proctor would send his favorite guests to the Steam Pump to enjoy ranch life. Francis Rooney of the Manhattan Construction Company, Tulsa, spent several vacations at the ranch and subsequently purchased the Canada del Oro Ranch which adjoined the Steam Pump to the South. This ranch included most of Oro Valley Estates and property across the Canada.

Pancho Mendoza ran 100 mother cows on the Rooney property and constructed dikes in the area where the golf course is located today to bring in the flood waters from the Canada. His son, Gene, still lives on the property.

In 1958 Rooney sold a portion of the Canada del Oro Ranch to Jerry Timan, who afterwards organized Horizon Land Company. About the same time, Lou Landon, who was a frequent visitor to Tucson and an ardent golfer, organized a group of Chicago investors and purchased 375 acres from Timan for $187,000.00.

Timan and Landon subsequently presented a development plan for the area, including the golf course and Oro Valley Estates, to the Board of Supervisors which approved the plan and held a press conference at the Saddle 6 Sirloin Steak Club on Oracle Road to publicize the proposed development. The Arizona Daily Star the next morning in banner headlines announced a $44,000,000.00 development plan for Oro Valley.

Lambert Kautenburger chaired the Board of Supervisors, and his son, Bill, is now a member of the Oro Valley Town Council

Several years ago, Mr. Proctor died and left the Steam Pump Ranch to his grandsons, Henry and John Leiber. Henry (Butch) is now operating a ranch in Montana, and John is practicing law and living with his family on the property.

Until his death about a year ago, Hank Leiber, the major league ball player, lived in the adobe house which my grandfather, George Pusch built aver 100 years ago.

Oro Valley Historical Society
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