INFORMATION ABOUT THE WICKENBURG AREA
Wickenburg was the first permanent settlement in Maricopa county and its history dates to the days when the Hassayampa River flowed year long. The river banks were dotted with farms and ranches on both sides of its broad banks. The pioneers drew water through a series of ditches and canals to insure plentiful water for cattle and crops. The early Mexican and Native Americans lived in adobe homes and endured snakes, scorpions and blistering heat.
Gold discovered in 1863 by Henry Wickenburg changed the local life style and the precious metal was exchanged for supplies or a days work. The rough and tumble gold rush days ushered in boot leg whiskey and other problems in society but the local “Jail Tree” hosted outlaws for lack of a proper prison.
Names of legendary gold mines still survive today. The Vulture Mine, Gold Bar, Octave, and Garcia still hold untapped riches. In the late 1800s, the Brayton Commercial Company was the local department store of its day. Ignacio Garcia comes to Vulture Mine in 1876. He donated land for the elementary school, Catholic Church and cemetery. Diana Garcia, wife of great great grandson Bill O. Garcia, is a sales associate of Century 21 Arizona West today!
The days of stage coaches and buckboards were fading as the railroad connecting Phoenix and Prescott past through Wickenburg in 1895. By 1920 there were 527 residents and in 1925 the new high school enrolled 23 students.
Wickenburg’s reputation as the “Dude Ranch Capital of the World” was based on the same historic ranches that dotted the Hassayampa. Circle Flying W Ranch became Remuda Ranch in 1925. Lazy RC Ranch was a stage coach stop but today it’s Shady River Palm Lake. Lazy Fox is now part of the Country Club and a street bearing its name still exists. Kay El Bar was homesteaded in 1916 and has been operating as a guest ranch since 1927. Flying E had been a guest ranch since 1948. Others like Monte Vista Ranch closed its doors to guests in 1965. Rancho Los Caballeros opened the same year and accommodates 125 guests today. Some guest ranches have become treatment centers as in the case of Remuda Ranch and Slash Bark that is now the Meadows Treatment Center.
Today’s town shows steady planned growth with citizens, business and developers working together to maintain the charm of the past while embracing the promise of the future. The Community Profile gives a statistical look at some recent demographic figures.
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