The Empire Ranch HQ sits just above a stream. As is the case in the arid Southwest, you can assume water is not far away from large trees such as these Black Cottonwoods. These trees are self-pruning, meaning you don’t want to camp near these trees when a one ton limb falls off. The link says that a tree in Alaska is the record holder, but other documentation has a 140 footer in Oregon. I’d guess these trees are at least 200 years old. It was definitely cooler walking under them.
As you can see in this image, the ranch house was expanded at various intervals. This is a view looking from the east.
Same timing as in the previous image except the view is looking to the south. The bay window was added by Walter Vail for his new bride Margaret. She brought $10,000 into the enterprise, and thusly a requirement to keep her happy was paramount.
Many parties where held at the ranch through the 30s into the 1950s. You can see how lush the property was at that time. It even had a swimming pool.
Here is a shot of the breezeway through the original portion of the house. Cowboy quarters were to the left after other sections of the house were added.
This is the view out of the cowboy quarters looking to the east. Cowboys were given one day off a month with pay averaging $10-15 a month in the 1800s.
This is the current condition of the ranch house, the view of the west looking east. That small addition is the master bath. All that area to the right used to be a lush garden with the pool on the right edge of the image. The original portion is on the far left side.
Here is a view from the north side looking south. Inside, the house is very cool and quite livable. No one has lived in the house since the late 1980s. Again, the original portion is on the left side with bracing on the walls. Add about $30,000 worth of landscaping and you’d have a pretty neat place!
Lastly, a large oak tree about a mile from the house near an intermittent steam.