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April 18, 2014

Brown Canyon Ranch open house offers look into past

Inside the Brown Canyon Ranch home, visitors will tour an interior pertaining to the early 1900s. History buffs will also find more information on the families who owned the ranch.

Go back to ranching days in Cochise County and get a glimpse into past history less than 10 minutes from Sierra Vista.

The 9th Annual Brown Canyon Ranch Open House will take place April 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the ranch house in Hereford offering events entire Families can enjoy. Refreshments will be available at this free event which includes nature and history related walks and talks, adobe making and other crafts demonstrations, youth-centered activities and more.

Located in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains, Brown Canyon Ranch takes visitors to a natural setting and demonstrates remnants of life from over one hundred years ago.

Heidi Schewel, Coronado National Forest public affairs officer, describes Brown Canyon Ranch “ … ‘a snapshot back in time.’ The whole ranch gives visitors a feel of how life was back around the turn of the last century,” she says.

See history sans time machine

Upon entering the site, visitors are welcomed by the ranch’s tin-roofed adobe house built between 1905 and 1907. For those interested in its interior, the home is open to the public during daylight hours.

While the outdoor property demonstrates a rural Sierra Vista in the early 1900s, visitors get a feel of what life was like here over a century ago by visiting the four-room interior. All furniture, decorations, linens and other household items reflect the time period.

“Part of the intent is to show people how life was during those times,” Shewel explains, adding that the house is kept as authentic as possible.

In addition to the house, the property includes a storeroom, water system, corrals and a pond, which today is a habitat for the endangered Chiricahua leopard frog.

From left, Terry Bannon, Cochise County civil deputy county attorney and horseback rider introduces horses Samson and Breezy to military dependent Alaya Robertson, 3, and her grandmother, Vanessa Robertson.

Landmark’s heritage

According to Friends of Brown Canyon Ranch, a volunteer group working to preserve the site, Brown Canyon Ranch had multiple owners. Their website, www.browncanyonranch.org, highlighted that John Thomas Brown and his family first settled the canyon property around the year 1800. Through the late 19th century, the land changed hands between several different settlers and ranchers.

After over a century of private ownership, the USDA Forest Service acquired Brown Canyon Ranch in 1998. Today it is the property of Coronado National Forest and has a partnership with the volunteer Friends of Brown Canyon Ranch to help keep its legacy alive.

Come visit during daylight hours

Schewel notes that the land offers a variety of recreational experiences.

“Part of the beauty of Brown Canyon Ranch is that it offers multiple opportunities; it offers a historic setting for people who are interested in the history of the Southwest, or the history of that time period,” she says. “It offers opportunities for hiking and mountain biking, or just relaxing at the picnic table.”

The activity doesn’t stop at hiking or mountain biking. For Terry Bannon, Cochise County civil deputy county attorney and equine enthusiast, the property is ideal for horseback riding.

In addition to building structures, Brown Canyon Ranch boasts a pond that provides a habitat for the endangered Chiricahua leopard frog. The species is native to southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

“For those who just want to contemplate or observe nature, there’s the area you can just stroll through or just sit and observe if you like,” Schewel says. “It depends upon what people like to do.” The area also attracts those who like to read outdoors, artists, photographers and picnickers.

To get there, take State Route 92 south to Ramsey Canyon Road and turn right. Stay on Ramsey Canyon Road to Calle Metate. Turn right, then left at the sign. On the day of the open house, signs will direct drivers to parking areas.

For more information about Brown Canyon Ranch and the open house, go to www.browncanyonranch.org.




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