HISTORIC DOCUMENTATION | PZ RANCH HEADQUARTERS | DUDLEYVILLE, ARIZONA
This documentation was undertaken by the student researchers at the Drachman Institute, in conjunction with Desert Archaeology to document the historic P-Z Ranch and its associated buildings, located near Dudleyville, Arizona, on land currently owned by ASARCO, before the buildings are torn down due to liability issues. The final product includes a written history of the site, as well as detailed drawings of the buildings in question.
The PZ Ranch Headquarters are located near present-day Dudleyville, in the San Pedro River Valley, in Pinal County, Arizona. The ranch headquarters are located 16 miles north of Mammoth and fall just south of Dudleyville, along State Route 77. The site is bordered to the south by the remains of Old Camp Grant, as well as several natural riparian rehabilitation areas managed by the Nature Conservancy along the San Pedro River. The site is just south of major copper mining centers, namely, the Ray mine near Kearny. The PZ Ranch itself is currently owned by ASARCO, and the agricultural fields between State Route 77 and the river itself are leased to local farmers. The site can be accessed from a frontage road just west of 77. The property falls within the riparian flood zone, characterized by relatively low-sloped, alluvial soils and riparian vegetation, making it ideal for agriculture, which is also common in this area.
During the period of significance (1860-1940s), it is possible that the San Pedro River would have had ample enough flow to allow for the creation of an artificial lake just south of the ranch headquarters. It was also strategically located near the confluence of the San Pedro and Arivaipa Creek, which would have guaranteed the ranch water even in the leanest of times. This strategic location allowed for the establishment of the ranch headquarters and plays an important role in the development of the site to this day. There may have also been springs fed by a high water table in the area, which may have fed into the artificial lake. Vegetation during the period of significance would have included characteristic riparian vegetation, such as cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and willow (Salix goodingsii), as well as any number of other native riparian species. Cattle grazing, however, tended to have a deleterious effect on riparian flora and fauna, and today the site is largely characterized by agricultural vegetation in cleared fields. Cottonwood and willow, as well as other riparian species, can be found further up- and downriver, where rehabilitation efforts have taken place.
The PZ/Feldman site consists of 8 structures spanning from 1870-1919. The structures represent a spectrum of Arizona vernacular ranch styles over the years, the main ranch house being the most significant as an excellent example of Territorial vernacular style. It is consistent with a typical Southern Arizona adobe ranch home with thick adobe walls, a large zaguan (central hallway), and fireplaces. The deep wraparound porch , pyramidal pitched roof and second story were likely added after the structure was acquired by Pusch and Zellwegger.
Most of the original built resources from the period of significance are still standing, however they are generally in very poor condition. Few modifications or alterations have been made to the earlier properties, including the original ranch house (I assume this is true, but we need to verify/elaborate) however, at this point, most are in a state of ruin with collapsing roofs, deteriorating adobe walls and decayed wood.
Pusch and Zellwegger purchased the PZ ranch in 1886. The main ranch house as it exists today is an excellent example of a combination of the Spanish-Mexican vernacular with Anglo styles. Purchased (and likely added to or built) during a significant shift in architectural styles in Southern Arizona, the advent of the railroad had made possible a transition from the Spanish-Mexican vernacular style to imported Anglo building styles with the availability of milled lumber and other new building materials. Earlier ranch houses in Arizona (examples: the Tanque Verde and Kitchen Ranch) are characteristic of the Spanish Mexican style: fortress-like thick adobe walls and very few outward facing windows (built during periods of unrest between ranchers and Apaches), simple row or “L” floor plan to which rooms could be added as needed, beamed ceilings made of local wood, packed dirt floors, and flat roofs with fairly high parapets that could function as sleeping porches or lookouts during Apache attacks (Stewart,17-25).
The evolution of territorial ranch architecture is marked by a transition from the Spanish-Mexican to the Anglo-American styl, which occurs over a relatively short period of time. Beginning in the mid 1860’s with the Kitchen Ranch to 1900 San Rafael. Pusch and Zellwegger’s acquisition of PZ falls towards the later end of the spectrum and The Ranch House at PZ has a blend of Spanish-Mexican vernacular and Anglo characteristics. One of the earliest transitions we see is the addition of wood floors, the Tanque Verde Ranch is believed to have had one of the earliest wood floors made from hand-sawed pine from the Rincon mountains (Stewart, 27). Post 1880, wood milled off site is available via the railroad, and room size is no longer limited to the length of local wood beams and wood floors, moldings and porches become much more common. The surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and decreased threat of Apache attack, allows for large outward facing windows and an overall less insular style.