This wash basin is behind the Guest Ranch and in front of the garage, cowboy quarters, barn and corrals. I went to Chiricahua National Monument for a weekend of hiking, camping and adventure. I had never been here even though I had heard a lot about it.
The Faraway Ranch Historic District is part of Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona, and preserves an area associated with the final conflicts with the local Apache, as well as one of the last frontier settlements. In particular, it is associated with the people who promoted the establishment of Chiricahua National Monument.
Bonita Canyon lies at an approximate altitude of 5160 feet. The box canyon opens in a southwesterly direction into the Sulphur Springs Valley.
Settlement of the area was started at the Stafford Homestead in Bonita Canyon in 1879. J. Hughes Stafford was a significant pioneer in the area, and his cabin was incorporated into the later tourist development. In 1885-86, the 10th Cavalry, an African-American enlisted unit commanded by white officers, established a temporary camp at Bonita Canyon. They were part of the last campaign to capture the Apache rebel Geronimo.
In 1886 Neil Erickson and Emma Sophia Peterson, both young Swedish immigrants, married and set out for Bonita Canyon to homestead. The Erickson Homestead, established in 1887, soon became the Erickson Ranch as they gradually took over the smaller homesteads in the canyon. They planted fruit trees and vegetables, and raised cattle. The Erickson Ranch period, 1887–1917, was significant in the areas of agriculture, architecture, industry, social history, conservation and the end of the frontier.
In 1903 Neil became a forest ranger with what soon became the US Forest Service. He was promoted to District Ranger in 1917. He headquartered at the ranch until he received his promotion which required him to relocate. The senior Ericksons left the ranch in the hands of their oldest child, Lillian, a college graduate and part-time school teacher. She managed the cattle ranching operations and branched out into guest ranching, letting rooms, and providing guests with horses to ride and guided trail tours for a fee. In 1923 she suffered a head injury in a fall from a horse which compromised her vision immediately and took it completely 19 years later. Nevertheless even into her 80s she continued to run the ranch with the help of series of foremen and hired hands. Guest operations continued into the mid-1960s. In 1974 she moved for a time to a rest home in Willcox, but returned to the ranch and continued to manage it in some capacity until her death in 1977.
At about the same time as her accident, 1923, Lillian married a local son of pioneer stock, Ed Riggs. While she managed the operations at home, Ed promoted the “Wonderland of Rocks,” an area of rhyolite tuff rock formations just southeast of the ranch) as a tourist attraction and potential national monument. Largely through his efforts, Chiricahua National Monument was established in 1924 and Riggs was hired to supervise construction of new horse and hiking trails throughout the newly established monument. He also managed most of the maintenance around the ranch until his death in 1950.
The National Park Service acquired furnishings, papers, documents and records associated with the ranch with its purchase. As a most complete and outstanding historical record of both the business and personal affairs of the family that founded, developed, and operated this ranch, the documents are considered contributing to the district.