Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tucson in Pima County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs

 
 
Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 18, 2010
1. Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Marker
Click on photo to see photos of the ranch house and inset text information.
Inscription.
Agua Caliente Ranch
In 1873, Peter B. Bain filed the first formal claim to the land surrounding Agua Caliente Spring. Bain and a partner, Marion T. Beckwith, began a dairy cattle operation by bringing cows north from Sonora. Bain built a house, several outbuildings and corrals at the spring. In 1875 he sold Agua Caliente Rancho to James P. Fuller, a produce salesman from Hermosillo, Mexico for $300.

James Fuller planted an orchard, constructed ditches and ponds to harvest water for livestock and irrigation and established a significant cattle ranch, bringing nearly 1,200 head from Mexico to the ranch. The one-room adobe ranch house, probably built by Bain, was the core of the main ranch house that later owners would expand upon.

During the 1870's, the Agua Caliente Ranch continued to provide water to the army and became a stopping point for the many cattle drives in the eastern Tucson basin.

By 1878 a new venture began at the ranch, capitalizing on the hot springs. An assay analysis of the spring water described it as "possessing tonic qualities of a high order…" Fuller's Hot Springs or Agua Caliente Resort was soon open for business.

Fuller's Hot Springs Resort
By the 1880's Agua Caliente had become a destination hot springs resort and had
Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 18, 2010
2. Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Marker
helped to give Tucson its reputation as a healthful location.

The Tucson directory of 1881 describes Agua Caliente as "a useful place of resort for sick people, or those who seek temporary recreation away from the heat and business of the city…Mr. Fuller has provided cottages and ample hotel accommodations for the public. An orchard of 3,000 trees belongs partly to this ranch."

The hot spring, a clear, pleasant water, said to resemble English Harrogate, ran out from below a bathhouse consisting of a patched canvas tent. From there it became a pretty brook, a pond for the cattle, and a source for irrigating the orchard."

By 1882, "the buildings consisted of a number of unpainted adobe houses, each of a single, large, comfortable room, roofed with strips of cactus. There was a 'summer dining room' made of ocotillo sticks, the intervals open; and a 'winter dining room' made with tight walls and a fireplace, in which a wood fire burned mornings and evenings."

Due to poor health, James Fuller conveyed the ranch to his sister Eliza Jane Fuller Watson who continued the Fuller Hot Springs Resort.

The resort legacy came to an end in 1897 when Philip H. Chambers purchased the ranch. He published this statement, "Notice to Visitors to Agua Caliente: Don't come to Agua Caliente. If you do, it will cost you 25 cents to get inside the
Agua Caliente Ranch image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 18, 2010
3. Agua Caliente Ranch
gate."

From then until the early 1950's, various owners operated Agua Caliente as a working cattle ranch. The most notable was Willard white, who owned the sprawling A7 Ranch (now the Bellota Ranch) located northeast of Agua Caliente Hill. He used the smaller Agua Caliente Ranch as headquarters for all his ranching interests.

In the mid 1950's the ranch was sold with plans to subdivide and develop the property. None of these development plans was realized, and in 1984 Pima County purchased the 100-acre property, with generous assistance from Roy P. Drachman.
 
Erected by Pima County Parks and Recreation.
 
Location. 32° 16.867′ N, 110° 43.75′ W. Marker is in Tucson, Arizona, in Pima County. Marker can be reached from East Roger Road. Touch for map. Marker is on the walkway from the parking lot to the ranch house at Agua Caliente Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12325 East Roger Road, Tucson AZ 85749, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Officer Erik Hite (approx. 3.4 miles away); Catalina Federal Honor Camp (approx. 4.1 miles away); Where Have All the Saguaros Gone? (approx. 5.7 miles away); Honorable Frank Harris Hitchcock
Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner
4. Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs
(approx. 6 miles away); Hacienda Moltacqua (approx. 6.6 miles away); Home for Saguaros (approx. 6.9 miles away); Airmen Memorial Bridge (approx. 7.1 miles away); Desert Homes (approx. 8.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tucson.
 
Categories. Natural Resources
 
Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs NRHP Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 18, 2010
5. Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs NRHP Plaque
Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Pond image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 18, 2010
6. Agua Caliente Ranch and Hot Springs Pond
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 19, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 2,147 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 19, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement