A sign of the growth and rebirth of the Coronado Ranch
Horses, History, and Heritage:
In 1928, Sam J. Novick built a "rock, stucco and adobe house" for himself, his wife Sadie, and two sons in the desert west of Tucson, Arizona. He used rocks from the property to build the house, drilled a 170-foot well, erected a barn, and cleared two acres to raise alfalfa and other crops.
Three years later, Novick remarked, "This land is all rough and rock ... none of this land could be cultivated with profit .... This year I have a small garden which is not growing well. I used this land entirely for grazing, having about 6 horses."
Sam J. Novick's rock, stucco and adobe house
By the 1940s, the rock house and associated land were in the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Hunting, who established the Coronado Ranch School, a private boarding school, in 1940. Later, the school was directed by John Pentecost, assisted by his wife Helen. An advertisement for the school indicated that the studentsówho ranged from six to eighteenóreceived "infinite care." Monthly room and board was $150 per student, and amenities included a swimming pool, an exercise area, and horseback riding. Eventually, the school ran out of money, and it closed in the middle of 1948.
A window and ristra on the stone ranch house
More than seventy-five years since the land was homesteaded, Coronado Ranch Sport Horses is now headquartered in the "rock, stucco, and adobe house" that also served as the Coronado Ranch School.
A bridle path at Coronado Ranch offers mountain views
When I acquired the property in 2002, I wanted to transform it into a horse facility without losing its historic character. The area where Sam J. Novick grazed six horses currently features a dressage arena, a six-stall barn, and a round pen. Bridle paths now crisscross the land and allow access to a large wash that emanates from the nearby Tucson Mountains.
The original water trough
Many historic features (aside from the ranch house itself) remain, including the guest house, the old pool, the previous horse corral and trough, the garden plot, and various cactus that can be discerned in historic photographs. And although the ranch is much closer to "civilization" than it was in Novick's day, it still harbors its share of wildlife; mule deer, bobcats, javelinas, and rattlesnakes have been sighted crossing the property.
A view of the Santa Catalina Mountains
This is truly a special place. And it seems particularly fitting that this "rough and rocky" land is once again home to horses.