Historic Arizona Ranch Purchased, Will Reopen in February
December 19, 2016 at 5:25 am
Rancho de la Osa's hacienda will soon welcome guests once again. | Donna Kreutz
A Southern Arizona property that dates back centuries and operated as a guest ranch for nearly nine decades has found a new owner.
Rancho de la Osa, a 240-acre property with 10 buildings on the U.S.-Mexico border at Sasabe, was auctioned October 22; the sale closed November 23. The ranch, which opened in 1925 but has been closed since 2014, was bought by Russell True, co-owner of Arizona's White Stallion Ranch, and Robert Bucksbaum, who owns the Majestic Dude Ranch near Durango, Colorado.
The partners plan to reopen the ranch to guests February 1, according to a news release.
Arizona Highways readers might remember Rancho de la Osa from the July 2016 issue of Arizona Highways. As Kathy Montgomery wrote, the dude ranch hosted film stars, novelists and politicians over its impressive history:
In the 1920s, John and Louisa Wetherill, who operated a summer guest ranch in Kayenta, leased part of La Osa to use as a winter retreat for their patrons, including Hollywood star Tom Mix and novelist Zane Grey.
In addition to celebrities, La Osa drew politicians early on. [Owner William] Sturges served as a Republican National Committee representative. James Finley, who bought the ranch from him, served in Arizona's Territorial Legislature.
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are said to have stayed at the guest ranch in the 1920s. Dick Jenkins, who would become a player in state Democratic politics, took over the property in the 1930s and later was joined by his sister, Nellie. Lyndon Johnson, then a congressman, visited in the 1940s, and Adlai Stevenson recovered at La Osa following his failed presidential bid in the '50s. William Clayton, who built a house at the ranch, is said to have drafted the Marshall Plan there.
The property became a dude ranch in 1925, but its human history dates to the late 17th or early 18th century, when Spanish missionaries built a trading post there. That building later became the ranch's cantina and is said to be the oldest continuously occupied building in Arizona.
According to the news release, the purchase of the ranch is part of a long-term plan to protect and preserve historic guest ranches in the West by forming a preservation fund and attracting investors.