Monday, March 31, 2014

Slaughter Ranch, San Bernadino and Leslie Canyon Wildlife Refuges, Douglas, AZ

We were able to combine history with birding at the John Slaughter Ranch/SanBernadino National Wildlife Refuge. The road to the ranch is gravel, but not bad to drive.
John Slaughter acquired the land grant from its previous owners in 1884, and subsequently purchased and homesteaded much of the adjacent land. He called it the "San Bernadino Ranch." Much of the ranch property was in Mexico.
John Slaughter was a former Texas Ranger and Sheriff of Cochise County. He built a cattle empire here at the turn of the century. His home and ranch buildings have been preserved as a museum, and his lands as a wildlife refuge.
Barn and livestock.
Ranch house
Farm equipment
I told Birdie it was a horse hitching post, but she was convinced it was a ballerina bar.
Objects on the porch have been placed according to old photographs exactly as they were placed at the turn of the century.
THe dining/living room was the primary gathering room of the house. The fancy window was purchased from the Sears Roebuck catalog. They frequently had dancing here on Saturday evenings.

The large table was used to serve family, friends, and strangers. John Slaughter also used it for poker games.
Kitchen. In the summer, the stove was moved outside.
Both the flour sifter and coffee grinder belonged to the Slaughters.
Bathroom. The bathtub was filled with water brought in from outside as there was no indoor plumbing. Medicines were kept on the shelves.

The hallway is lined with photographs and information about the Slaughter family.

The children's room

The car shed contains a 1915 Model T Ford, identical to one owned by John Slaughter.

Cook's quarters
Wash house. The washing was done outside. This building was used for ironing.
Wash pot

Slaughter used the many natural springs in the area to create ponds which attract lots of birds.
Dinner bell
Northern Shovelers and Coots on the house pond.
Migratory birds stop here on their way to their breeding grounds.
American Widgeons
A military outpost was built here and garrisoned from 1911-1923 during the the Mexican Revolution. 
Remains of the fort.

We walked into the Wildlife Refuge.

The Mexican border is just on the other side of the ponds.
Mexican border fence.
While staying in Douglas, we stopped to see the historic Hotel Gadsen. Originally built in 1907, destroyed by fire in 1927, and rebuilt the following year.
THe ornate lobby includes the original Italian marble staircase, pillars embellished with gold leaf, and a 42-foot Tiffany stained-glass mural.

It is said that Pancho Villa once rode his horse into the lobby and up the marble stairs while shooting into the ceiling. His horse is said to have broken a piece of marble off the 7th stair where you can still see a piece missing. (I didn't read that account until later, or I'd have gotten a photo of that.
Original Audrey Dean Nichols painting. 
Looking down the street from the Hotel Gadsen. We ate lunch in a small cafe.
The next day we drove to Leslie Canyon, another wildlife refuge nearby. This red-tailed hawk showed us the way.

Entering Leslie Canyon

It looks pretty dry...
A hiking trail leads into the refuge.

The trail leads to an old mine.
Thistle started out leading the way.
Leslie Creek was dry, and we weren't hearing many birds.
Dry creek bed. It's getting hot out too.
Yay for the Canyon Towhee, a new bird for me.
Over the dry creek and on toward the old mine.
It's up there somewhere,
But Thistle found a spot of shade and said he'd had enough of a hike today. So with many drinks and lots of encouragement we made it back to the car.
On the way back to Douglass we passed this out for those illegal immigrants, lol.

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