The Arizona Canal, finished in 1885, opened up 100,000 acres of desert land west of Phoenix to homesteading and irrigation farming. William Henry Bartlett was one of the first homesteaders, planting fruit, nut, and olive orchards and raising livestock. When Bartlett died in 1917 the property changed owners several times before it was bought by Richard W. Smith. The Smith family, who bought the ranch in 1927 and kept it until 1977, expanded the orange groves, started a dairy farm and began breeding thoroughbred horses.
The city of Glendale purchased 80 acres of the ranch to preserve its historical features. The main house, guest house, adobe house, foreman’s house, fruit packing shed, and many of the outbuildings are original from the Barlett period. Some of the fig trees planted around the main house are almost 100 years old. A beautiful rose garden has been planted at the original location. Peacocks and peahens, descended from birds bought in the 1890s, roam the grounds. The buildings are open for free tours on Friday and Saturday. Self-guided touring of the grounds is permitted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The grounds are hard packed dirt so rolling is easy. The main house has a ramp. We didn’t notice if the other buildings are accessible.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs.