Then, Now and Forever

The Hohokam Indians seem to have materialized from a void and then vanished across the landscape. But in their time, from about 300 B.C. to 1450 A.D., they made the high Sonoran Desert bloom. They excavated complex canal systems to irrigate their fields of corn, beans and squash. They dug wells to tap underground water sources. They cultivated fruit bearing cactus and other desert flora and maintained sprawling plantations of agave for food and fiber. Roasting pits and remnants of a village square and 26 pit houses evidence that a major Hohokam population center existed in Dove Mountain. Why the Hohokams chose to live here remains evident today in the land’s comforting beauty.

Spanish Mission

Little is known of the period from 1450 to 1697 A.D., when Jesuit Father Kino first traveled to the Tucson Basin. He and subsequent missionaries found the area supporting the heaviest concentration of native Americans in southern Arizona, primarily the Tohono O’Odham people. Colonization was rapid. By 1775, the Presidio of Tucson was established, one of several forts built to counter the threat of Apache raiders. Many indigenous settlers were attracted to the area to farm corn, wheat and vegetables and cultivate fruit orchards alongside their Native American contemporaries. With Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, more settlers moved to the area to ranch and mine the land’s rich copper deposits.

Foreseeing the Future

In 1926, Eugene “Cush” Cayton left Missouri for Tucson seeking to improve his health. On the advice of a local surveyor, he purchased a choice piece of Ruelas Canyon in the Tortolita Mountains and established the T Bench Bar Ranch. The surveyor predicted: “One of these days this land will be one of the most beautiful spots in the Tucson area.” It is now known as Dove Mountain. Cush and his family ranched the land until 1984. They were gracious hosts, entertaining a wide variety of artists, scientists, prospectors, cowboys and assorted colorful characters over the years. They passed their stewardship on to David Mehl, a choice they made with loving and thoughtful consideration of the land.

Then, Now and Forever

Over 6,200 acres of high Sonoran Desert in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains. Elevations soaring from 2,700 to 4,300 feet. A unique diversity of desert vegetation and wildlife, canyons, washes, arroyos and dramatic rock outcroppings. A rich and cherished history. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Tucson Basin is one of the longest continuously inhabited regions, over 2,000 years, in the United States. From ancient times through cowboy days, to an inspired dedication to preservation and an uncompromising lifestyle for this and lifetimes to come.