University of Arizona

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Reminiscences about Empire Ranch

Harry L. Heffner, originally from Columbus, OH, moved to California in 1884. Heffner worked as a bookkeeper at the First National Bank in Los Angeles where he met Walter Vail, owner of the Vail & Gates Empire Ranch in Pima County, AZ. In 1893, Vail hired Heffner as manager of the ranch; Heffner served as manager until 1905. He was also a founder of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association and served as its first Secretary.

Charles U. Pickrell was a livestock specialist and worked as the University of Arizona’s Director of Agricultural Extension Service from 1937-58. The service was a cooperative project made to encourage agriculture and home economics in Arizona.

Included is Charles U. Pickrell’s 1960 typescript for a tape recording of Heffner’s experience as manager of the Empire Ranch. Along with a transmittal letter from Pickrell dated Sept. 2nd, 1961.