University of Arizona

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Records of the Empire Ranch

Photo of Horse

Started in 1876 by Walter L. Vail and partnered with Carrol W. Gates, the Empire Ranch became the largest in Arizona with operations extended to California, Kansas and Oklahoma. The headquarters were in California. Chiricahua Ranches Company purchased the Empire Ranch operations in 1928.

This collection includes correspondence, legal documents, financial records, livestock records, and other materials relating to the history, development, and operation of ranch property in Southern Arizona and California.  Includes records of cattle companies associated with the Empire Ranch. Some ranches covered are Onyx Ranch, Bonita Ranch, El Dorado Ranch, Rosemont Ranch, Pantano Ranch, and Rancho Corral de Quati. Also present are land and mining papers including Arizona land patents, land grant materials, abstracts of titles, and papers relating to mines such as the Total Wreck Mine.