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  • CR4.06 Steam Pump Ranch Rehabilitation

    Total Actual Cost: $4,997,806
    Project Number: CSUSTEAMP
    Funding Sources: 2004 General Obligation Bonds
    Completion Date: April, 2011
    Managing Dept.: Cultural Resources & Historic Preservation
    Project Map: GIS Map

    Steam Pump Ranch is an historic landmark property in the Canada del Oro valley where it has stood since 1874, when established as a cattle ranch by two early entrepreneurial pioneers in the region: George Pusch and Johann Zellweger. With the use of a steam engine to pump water to a large tank and corrals, the ranch became a key stopover for travelers and place to rest cattle on the road between Tucson and Oracle. In the 1930s, it became the home of John Proctor who managed the Pioneer Hotel in Tucson. Today, Steam Pump Ranch is recognized as the foundational site of the Town of Oro Valley.

    Working in partnership, Pima County and the Town of Oro Valley purchased the ranch complex comprised of about 15 acres using County bond funds in 2007. 

    Immediate attention was given to stabilizing the various ranch buildings on the property to prevent further deterioration. Included in the 15-acre ranch headquarters are the 1874 Pusch ranch house, the 1930s Proctor/Leiber house, the pump house and tank along Oracle Road, cowboy houses, bunkhouses, a tack room, stable, chicken coops, garage, and other outbuildings. The restoration of the 1874 Pusch ranch house, and the rehabilitation of portions of the 1930s Proctor/Leiber house are now completed. Because of the scope of the project, it will be necessary to phase the planned improvements.

    A master plan was concurrently developed to assist the Town of Oro Valley to decide on a strategy for the future use of the property and its various ranch buildings. Consensus developed to focus on Steam Pump Ranch as a heritage education center for residents and visitors to the Town of Oro Valley that would tell the stories of the two ranching families and the role of Steam Pump Ranch in the development of the region.

    With the successful acquisition, master-planning, and restoration of a portion of Steam Pump Ranch, we now have the opportunity to tell the stories of our region’s pioneer founders in a setting that retains its sense of place and provides a window into our frontier past.

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