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CR4.02 Canoa Ranch Buildings Rehabilitation

Rehabilitated Manning House at Canoa RanchCanoa Ranch is a microcosm of the history of Southern Arizona and the Santa Cruz River valley. The site contains evidence of human habitation extending over 4,000 years, and a diversity of cultures and characters have called Canoa home. The ranch encompasses the range of challenges that faced early settlers to southern Arizona, including Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo. This makes Canoa a critical link to the past,  and the future. Because of these special qualities, Pima County moved to protect the site for future generations, and help tell the story of our past.

Using voter-approved funds, Pima County purchased the 4,800 acre Canoa Ranch as part of the 1997 bond intitiative in order to keep the ranch from being developed. In 2004, voters approved additional funds that were designated for designing and implementing the Canoa Ranch Master Plan, a conservation and preservation initiative that includes the rehabiliation of several dilapitaded ranch buildings and structures.

Between 2007 and 2013, repair and rehabilitation of the historic buildings and structures took place. These activities included the restoration of crumbling adobe buildings using period-specific methods to create new adobe bricks and coat the walls with stucco and a vibrant layer of whitewash to protect them against the elements and time. An enormous about of debris has been removed and surrounding area cleared for fire-control. The water well has been rehabilitated with a new pump and water lines, making potable water available on site. The overall historic landscape has been reestablished and gravel roads and walking paths have been repaired. Restoration work also included an adaptive re-use of an exisiting garage to restroom facilities that are compliant with American Disabilities Act.

All of this work culminated on March 2, 2013, with the reopening of Historic Hacienda de la Canoa as the Raul M. Grijalva - Canoa Ranch Conservation Park. For hours of operation, location and tour information, please visit Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department

Canoa Ranch with the Santa Rita Mountains. Photo by Howell Manning, Jr., and provided courtesy of Lousie (Deezie) Manning-Catron.Drawn by the area's natural springs, there is evidence of prehistoric human habitation dating back to 2500 B.C. The Hohokam were there from 600 to 1450 A.D. and the Tohono O’odham called it home from the 1600s. Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and other Jesuit missionaries passed by the Canoa site at the turn of the 1700s on their way to what would become Mission San Xavier del Bac and the city of Tucson.  In 1775, Juan Bautista de la Anza, a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Spanish cavalry and the commander of the Tubac Presdio, led a 240-person expedition to northern California. The group spent its first night at the paraje, or campsite, at La Canoa, which is Spanish for wooden drinking trough.  Mexican and Anglo settlers came to the area in the mid- to- late 1800s, but it was during the Manning Family era (1912-1970s) when the full potential of the Hacienda de la Canoa was realized.

During the Manning period, Canoa became a showcase ranch and community worked by both Anglo and Mexican families. There were numerous breeds of cattle and horses, in addition to extensive farms and irrigation systems, many of which are still visible.

Historical Timeline of Canoa Ranch

A detailed historical overview for Canoa Ranch is presented in: 


Canoa Ranch Master Plan MapFor more than a year, a team of consultants, led by Poster Frost Associates, worked with the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Pima County staff, the Canoa Ranch Community Trust and Oversight Committee, and local stakeholders to develop a Master Plan for the Historic Canoa Ranch. Since purchasing the 4,800 acre Canoa Ranch, south of Green Valley, in 2001, Pima County has embarked on a number of projects at the ranch to preserve and protect the valuable natural and cultural resources. The preservation and restoration of historic buildings were completed in early 2013, and efforts to protect important habitat and restore natural systems continue today. The Master Plan represents an important milestone towards the goal of making the Canoa Ranch a public site where its rich history can be understood and appreciated by visitors.

The Canoa Ranch Master Plan Background Report (April 2006)

The Canoa Ranch Master Plan Final Report (February 2007)

Photograph of the Canoa Ranch Headquarters, view to the east.The architectural resources at Canoa Ranch are centered around the Canoa Ranch Headquarters that was developed during the "Manning Period" from 1912-1966. A collection of these buildings and ranch features are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Canoa Ranch Rural Historic Landscape. In the great variety of architectural resources present at the Ranch Headquarters, there is a remarkable cohesiveness to the complex based on a uniformity of materials, scale, texture, color and the repetition of architectural features. Rehabilitation of the architectural resources occurred between 2005 and 2012.

Canoa Ranch Headquarters

The building numbers presented below are keyed to an aerial photograph of Canoa Ranch Headquarters: