Businessman Bartlett and the Sturdy Sahuaroby John Scott on Oct. 04, 2012, under Uncategorized
In 1885, farmer and entrepreneur William Henry Bartlett travelled to Arizona from Illinois. The Homestead Act granted him some free land, and his vision was to make a success in Arizona Territory.
A success he was. William chose an area where the Arizona Canal was completing construction, which would offer him a tremendous advantage in irrigation.
On the 640-acre ranch, he grew citrus, pecans, figs, olives and alfalfa. Now, William didn’t live here full time. I would hazard a guess that he may have only visited in the winter, making him Arizona’s original snowbird. Okay, that could be a reach.
There were superintendants that took care of the operation in William’s absence. To take care of his employees and his holdings, Bartlett had numerous buildings constructed, which still stand today. One building, the guest house, ended up being the home to his son who fell ill with tuberculosis. In the late 1800’s, moving to a dry climate was a way to keep consumption at bay.
About the same time all this was going on, the neighboring town of Glendale sprouted up, offering schools and stores, and a virtual oasis in the desert. Glendale is a charming town with a very nice historic district. Many of its old buildings house antique shops and restaurants.
Today, Sahuaro Ranch is open to the public and hosts many annual events. Folks can tour the well-constructed buildings of this farming mogul, and see the immaculately kept grounds. One can find peacocks and chickens running about. There is even a blacksmith giving demonstrations in the historic blacksmith shop. Oh, and rose bushes galore.
There are no Old West shootouts in this entry. I could tell you about a gunfighting peacock that was partial to pecans, but it would be a lie. Maybe an idea for a Pixar movie.
October 19th -21st, Sahuaro Ranch will host the Wild Western Festival, a weekend of western entertainment, train rides, food, and a fast draw competition. In March, the ranch is home to the annual Glendale Folk and Heritage Festival.
So if you’re out shopping for antiques in Glendale, swing by the Sahuaro Ranch. They’ve got something to interest the whole family. You’ll get a good dose of the agricultural side of Arizona’s heritage, and the Bartletts who got it all started.