— at Sahuaro Ranch... —
This packing shed, constructed in 1891, is one of the oldest farm buildings on the ranch. It was designed by James M. Creighton, a prominent architect in territoral Arizona.
Exactly how the shed was used is not known, but presumably it was here that the figs, grapes, apricots, and peaches grown by the ranch were prepared for shipping.
In 1895 the first Thompson grapes were planted at Sahuaro Ranch, and soon the ranch had 130 acres of this variety, which is preferred for drying as raisins. At first the grapes were shipped fresh to California, but in 1899 William Bartlett began drying his own raisins and selling them under the name of the Phoenix Raisin Seeding and Packing Co.
As citrus and cattle became the most important products at Sahuaro Ranch, this building was no longer used to pack fruit for shipping. By the 1930s it was being used to store grain and other agricultural supplies.
On the Ranch Today
The veranda, or covered porch, is a reconstruction of the original porch from the 1890s, but the rest of the building's exterior is original. The interior, which has been remodeled more than one, originally had a dirt floor. The concrete floor was added in the early 1950s.
[Photo captions follow]
[Top] Above is a view of the south side of the Fruit Packing Shed in 1898. This building helped prepare and pack the different varieties of fruit that the ranch grew in its early years. (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Historical Foundation, W.N. Campbell Photograph Album, DW-84-18).
[Left center] The Smith Family, who owned the ranch from 1927 until 1977, used the old Fruit Packing Shed for storing grain and other farming supplies. They removed the veranda and painted the structure white to match other buildings on the ranch. (Photo courtesy of Richard Smith).