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"Voices in the Valley"
The Tubac Historical Society Oral History Project
page 7 of 7


Gustavo "Gus" Antonio Amado
Beverly Irish Amado
Rancho Nuevo
Amado, Arizona

Interviewer: Betty J. Lane
Date of Interview: March 3, 1989 and March 15, 1989

Lane: He bought the ranch?
Amado: No. He bought that land up there.
Lane: Which land?
Amado: It used to be Canoa Land Grant. At one time it belonged to my grandfather.
Lane: This is on the east side of the river?
Amado: Right along the east side.
B. Amado: Where the trailers are.
Amado: Yeah, that belonged all to my grandfather.
Lane: Where the Elephant Head trailers are now?
Amado: Right. In 1939 he sold it. Because of the Depression he had to sell some land to pay off the bank.
B. Amado: He owned the bank at that time.
Amado: He opened a bank in 1929 and Depression hit, and so he had to start selling property and ranches and pay off the bank. So that's when he sold that piece there. And then Howell Manning bought it, I guess. The Canoa Ranch bought it. Then after that, he sold it. I don't know,
at one time I think they called it Canoa Land and Cattle Co. Then it was sold to the Wolfswinkel [ed: sp.?] brothers. I can't remember the names of the brothers. We did business. I leased the ranch to them, I remember. Finally, Fickett bought it.
Lane: You are saying F-I-C-K-E-T-T, probably.
Amado: Yes, Fickett. Anyway, he built that road on a Sunday [when] he came through there. I couldn't stop him. I tried to. Then it was under litigation for about three or four years, and in the meantime people kept moving up there. Finally, my attorney called me up and says, "Gus, you know what, you'd better drop it." I said, "You can't fight city hall, there's too many people up there now." So we just dropped it. But they put the road right on top of that dike and then they paved it to boot, which is better because it was getting dusty, and people just,
you know ....
B. Amado: But then it just threw that water over this way.
Lane: On the south side of the dike?
B. Amado: Yes.
Amado: That's when they built that bridge.
Lane: When they built the bridge, rather.
Amado: In other words, here's the bridge right here, okay? And the water hits right here and it's got to come around to get under the bridge. In the meantime, it backs up to us. Well that suit's going on, too. But I don't know what's ever going to happen. There's a lot of people suing the county. They don't care; they got a lot of money. A lot of county attorneys. (laughs)
Lane: Now the Mannings actually lived on Canoa Ranch, didn't they?
Amado: Howell Hanning, yes, and his dad [ed: Colonel Manning] before then. He's the one that started that place, I think. He had a house long ago in Tucson. What's the name of that real elite place there?
B. Amado: Snob Hollow.
Lane: It became the Elks Club at one time??The Manning House, yes.
Amado: Then the son, he lived there for years, that I know. Ever since I can remember the old man lived there 'til he died.
B. Amado: Howell Manning and his wife moved here [ed: to Canoa Ranch] then, and he used to drive around. He planted trees all over the place.
Lane: I wonder how old those houses are there on the ranch.
Amado: Not very old.
Lane: That's what I thought.
Amado: I knew the guy that built them. He was Gilbert's uncle, Chico Redondo.
Lane: Chico Redondo built the houses. They're lovely homes.
Amado: He built the homes. I remember when that was going on. Maybe that was the early forties. They used to mention Chico Redondo. He built all those houses. They're beautiful homes. I don't know about the main headquarters, but the house where Howell lived, Chico didn't built it. I don't know who built it, but they tell me .... I never was in the house. They had hardwood floors and with that last floor, I think, the water came into them. The mines had it by then, and they didn't care. The ranch fell apart.
Lane: Mr. Amado was saying that when Mr. Howell Manning lived on Canoa Ranch it was kept beautifully and he planted many trees, especially around the little lakes they had there.
Amado: When I opened my eyes, the trees were already there. So they must have been planted, you know ....
B. Amado: But Howell planted a lot of trees.
Amado: Oh, yah, he planted them, but I don't know when because Howell was already .... Seventy years old; when you moved here he was already seventy years old. But when I was a kid, you know, we're going back another forty years, so he was ....

Lane: This is a second taping, with Beverly Amado, in their home again. The date is March 15, 1989. Would you repeat to me a couple of stories that we were sitting here talking about? One about the flu epidemic of 1918.
B. Amado: During that time Antonio had quite a few employees in this area, and his son, Gustavo, and the doctor would come out once a week to check on all the people who had the flu. Just before that time they built a barn, and all the lumber from the barn was taken down and used to make caskets, and these people were buried in the foothills around the ranch.
Lane: Are you saying Gustavo, the doctor, or Gustavo and the doctor?
B. Amado: Gustavo and the doctor.
Lane: And then we were talking about Antonio at one time, just before the Depression hit, having a bank.
B. Amado: Yes, he opened a private bank just before the Depression, and that's how he lost a lot of his property, because of the Depression and all the banks folded.
Lane: Where was that bank?
B. Amado: In Tucson.
Lane: Do you remember what part of town, or where?
B. Amado: No, I don't recall.
Lane: Anything else?
B. Amado: The first World's Fair. They went to the first World's Fair in San Francisco. Evidently Antonio was very fond of Chinese art. He bought some very heavy teak tables and furniture, and beautiful pottery.
Lane: Are you saying by "they" that you mean Antonio and his wife?
B. Amado: Yes. And then when they would spend the summers out here he and Gustavo and his mother would put a wild horse and a tame horse on the buggy, and then they'd go in the river from the ranch here to the Canoa Ranch so the horses would get a little tired. Then they'd head up on the road and head for Tucson.
Lane: Is that right?
B. Amado: No, I can't think of anything else. Gus' grandfather, Antonio, had a ready-to-wear store in Tucson. It was called the Fashion Shop, and it was one of the first ready-to-wear stores in the city of Tucson.
Lane: It was probably in downtown Tucson?
B. Amado: Downtown, yes.
Lane: Do you know what street it was on?
B. Amado: It was on Congress. I believe it was between Sixth and Alameda. No, Sixth and--I can't recall.
Lane: Beverly Amado was telling me that there are papers relating to The Fashion Shop at the Arizona Historical Society now, and that at one time they had a display showing these papers to the public. Beverly Amado was saying that Antonio Amado had a wine room in the old ranch that he owned across the river. There was also a swimming pool at that house, which is still there. It is now called the Elephant Head Ranch. Antonio's Ranch, or Elephant Head Ranch, was called Rancho San Antonio.

Do you think that we will continue to have cattle ranching in the Santa Cruz Valley for a long time, or do you think that before too long we're going to see a lot of sub-dividing of some of these ranches?
Amado: [ed: Gus has just come into the room] Oh, I think there will be cattle ranches as long as there's state lease land, because they're not going to be sub?dividing state lease land. And if you have the state lease land, they'll be raising cattle on it. Somebody will be. I don't know who.
Lane: Is state lease land usually in the higher elevations or is it ....
Amado: Usually, but not necessarily. Just east of the Santa Cruz River it starts, and just west of here.
Lane: How about guest ranches? They're fading out, aren't they? I mean people tell me that their insurance is so costly, to have riding horses and all, that they can hardly make it pay anymore.
Amado: That's what I've heard. I understand insurance is awful high.