Circle Z IconFound this great bit of information on the Arizona Dude Ranch Association's site...thought I would share the history with you!

Circle Z Ranch

The Circle Z Ranch, which started as a sheep-herding operation in the 1880's, was developed as a dude ranch in 1925 when the Zinsmeister family of Germany purchased the 5,000-acre spread from the Sanford family who had homesteaded the property. It was the golden age of dude ranching and the Dude Rancher's Association was just forming. The facilities were opened in 1926 with a capacity of 24 guests. Over the next few years, it was increased to accommodate 70. The average length of stay for a guest then was one month and some families remained the entire season. Private railway cars of some guests remained in town on a siding by the Patagonia station. By 1929, the annual Fourth of July picnic and barbecue at the Circle Z was one of Santa Cruz County's biggest attractions. Upwards of 2,000 people would attend this event; arriving by train and private car. They were served pit barbecue with all the trimmings, enjoyed band concerts, a rodeo, and a cigar race. A dance in Patagonia concluded the day. World War II put a crimp in the resort and travel business, and the Circle Z ended up changing hands several times. In 1949 Fred Fendig came from Chicago and purchased the Circle Z. He was the owner-manager for the next 25 years. When Fred Fendig decided to retire and sell the ranch in 1974, there were rumors it would be acquired by a corporation and turned into a land development or tennis ranch. Mr. And Mrs. Preston Nash of Novelty, Ohio, purchased the spread and decided to operate it in keeping with its honored tradition of an old-time family-style ranch with an emphasis on good riding, good food and congenial guests. Their deep interest stems from Mrs. Nash's many visits to the ranch as a child, with her family, dating back to Zinsmeister's ownership. They have continued preserving, improving and perpetuating a rare and unique spot in the west.