— at Sahuaro Ranch . . . —
Sahuaro Ranch was established in 1886, when William H. Bartlett filed a claim to 640 acres of public land at this site. Using irrigation water delivered by the Arizona Canal, which reached the Glendale area in early 1885, Barlett and his ranch managers built Sahuaro Ranch into a large, diversified farm that produced dried and fresh fruit, olives, nuts, and livestock.
Bartlett, a wealthy grain broker from Peoria, Illinois, never lived full-time at Sahuaro Ranch, and in 1913 he sold the property. Little is known about the ranch during the 1910s and early 1920s, but we do know that the orchards were neglected and the ranch's agricultural production gradually declined.
In 1927 the ranch was purchased by Charlotte and Richard W. Smith. He and his son, Richard S. Smith, returned Sahuaro Ranch to productivity, expanded the citrus groves, and started a dairy. After the Second World War, the younger Smith took over management of the ranch, modernized its operations, and began breeding thoroughbred horses.
In 1977, Richard S. Smith and his wife Sharon sold the last 160 acres of ranch land to developers and the City of Glendale. Sahuaro Ranch ceased operation as a farm shortly after that. The 80 acres purchased by the city included the historic ranch buildings, which today are being preserved as a reminder of Glendale's agricultural heritage.
[Photo captions follow]
[Top left] A view of Sahuaro Ranch about 1898, looking southeast. The photographer took this picture from a windmill that once stood where the Main House is now. This image shows the large size of the original ranch, the ranch's once-remote location, and the ranch's focus on fruit trees such as citrus, figs, and date palms. The title on the photograph refers to the ranch's first owner, William Bartlett. Today the land in the upper right of the photograph is part of Glendale Community College while the rest is part of the Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area. (Photo courtesy of Herb and Dorothy McLaughlin Collection, Arizona State University Libraries).
[Middle left] A portrait of William W. Bartlett (1850-1918), the founding owner of Sahuaro Ranch. (Photo courtesy of the Glendale, Arizona Historical Society).
[Bottom left] Sahuaro Ranch raised a variety of fruits, crops, and animals, but the ranch also became known for its peafowl. Charlotte "Lottie" Smith, a later owner of the ranch, purchased some peacocks and peahens in the 1930s. There were peafowl on the ranch even before this, however, Peafowl eat small snakes, among other things, and this may have been why some farmers kept the birds. (Photo courtesy of Richard Smith).
[Top right] The Smith family purchased Sahuaro Ranch in 1927. Here is Charlotte "Lottie" Smith, her husband Richard W. Smith, and their granddaughter Flora Sands at Manistee Ranch in Glendale. Louis Sands, Lottie's older brother, owned Manistee Ranch. The Smiths often visited the Sands and Lottie was interested in getting her own ranch in Arizona. Her brother told her when Sahuaro Ranch was for sale. (Photo courtesy of Glendale, Arizona Historical Society).
[Bottom right] This is Richard S. Smith, Lottie and Richard W. Smith's son. The younger Smith later took over operation of the ranch, along with his wife Sharon. They sold Sahuaro Ranch to the City of Glendale in 1977, but leased and continued to farm it for a couple years after that. (Photo courtesy of Glendale, Arizona Historical Society).