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Upper Ranch on New River, AZ
mini location map2019-02-13
16 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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page 1   2
 
Upper Ranch on New River, AZ 
Upper Ranch on New River, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 13 2019
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking1.50 Miles
Hiking1.50 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.00 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was my last hike on this 3 day trip to the upper New River Area. The plan was to check out the Upper Ranch near the headwaters of New River. I drove up FR37 which follows New River from its intersection with FR41. The road is in fairly good shape to within about a mile of the old ranch house. This is where FR37 most likely ends at the original south boundary of the ranch. The remainder was 4x4 high clearance and since part of it is within the New River high water mark, it could easily get washed out after the next heavy rain. I was able to drive within about a half mile of the house then decided to walk the rest of the way. So it ended up being a short hike.

Ranch History: I've done some research on this ranch site. It is now labeled "Upper Ranch" on newer maps but older ones like the 1930 Map on MapDEX show it labeled "Cooks Ranch". BLM land records show that William W. Cook patented 106 acres along New River on Sept 27, 1919, at this location extending approximately 1 mile down river from the ranch house and 200 yds up-river. The land was patented under the 1862 Homestead Act. A short biographical sketch of William W. Cooke in the 1901 "Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona" mentions that "He established what is known as Cook's Ranch on the headwaters of New River, being the first to engage in the cattle business in that locality." The timing of establishing the ranch is a little vague but was sometime between 1880 and 1894. So it would appear that he was actively ranching there many years before the land was actually patented. William, known as Billy, came to Prescott in 1876 when he was 17 with his parents and siblings. They had lived in Walla Walla since 1863 prior to moving to Prescott. They probably knew my Great Great GrandFather who lived in Walla Walla from 1860 to 1872. William Cook went on to acquire more ranch property including the T-Ranch, partnering with his brother-in-law, Clarence Laird. The T-Ranch is located lower down on the New River near US17 so maybe that's how the name of Cook's Ranch got changed to "Upper Ranch".

Snooping around the ranch house I discovered that at one time it had electricity, probably from a generator, an LP gas water heater manufactured in Nov 2000, a bathroom with a flush toilet and a shower. That plus decorative rock work, wall paper, and decorative tile around the bathroom sink and window curtains would indicate that a woman had lived there. There was evidence that a wildfire had burned very close to the house and burned down some of the out buildings including a shed or small barn and what looked like a chicken coop. It was probably the 2005 Cave Creek Fire and that may be when the house was abandoned. It has since been damaged by folks using it for target shooting. The house has a center section with rock walls which was probably the original building built by Billy Cook. Wings were added at each end later using cement blocks.

While walking back to my car I noticed orange plastic "Private Property" signs on the fence had all been melted to the point of being unrecognizable by a wildfire - perhaps the 2005 Cave Creek Fire. I had assumed that this property had reverted back to the Tonto National Forest like many other old abandoned homesteads but this may not be the case.
Named place
Named place
Cooks Ranch New River Mesa
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