The Empire Ranch sits in the heart of the rolling grasslands and oak-studded foothills of Las Cienegas National Conservation Area in southeastern Arizona. Its remarkable history and the ranching way of life are told through the stories of the men, women, and children of the Empire, most notably the Vail, Boice, and Donaldson families. Walter L. Vail and Herbert R. Hislop purchased the Empire Ranch homestead for $2,000 in 1876. The Vail family operated the ranch until 1928, turning it into a cattle ranching empire. From 1928 to 1975, the well-respected Boice family ran a vibrant Hereford operation on the Empire. The Donaldson family used innovative range management methods to continue the ranching legacy from 1975 to 2009. Today, the ranch, under the management of the Bureau of Land Management, remains one of the oldest continuously working cattle ranches in the region.
About the Author
In this book, Gail Waechter Corkill and Sharon E. Hunt share the Empire’s stories and images. Gail is an educational consultant who developed and directs Empire Ranch Foundation’s “Wild About the Grasslands!” ecology and Western heritage education program for youth. Sharon is a freelance editor and author specializing in cultural and natural history of southeastern Arizona. The Empire Ranch Foundation provided the photographs used in the book.
Table of Contents
1 Hope and Determination 11
2 A Family Endeavor 29
3 Heart and Hearth of the Empire 45
4 Growing Up on the Empire Ranch 63
5 Ranching Ways and Cowhand Traditions 79
6 Continuing the Legacy 99
7 Into the Future 117
About the Organization 127
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Empire Ranch. The authors have presented a complete history of the ranch from its founding in 1876 to the present. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of ranch life and the text and captions bring the photographs to life. Having just moved to southern Arizona, I wanted to learn more about the history of my new surroundings. I picked up this book and was immediately fascinated by the photographs showing ranch life on the American frontier. I usually thought of such life as primitive or austere, and some of the photos show such a life. But the interior shots of the ranch house show a lifestyle indistinguishable from that of Eastern homes from the same time period.