Secrets and history of Tanque Verde Ranch revealed

Absolutely Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. - On the east side of Tucson, at the end of Speedway, you will find the Tanque Verde Ranch. It's the longest continuously running business in the Old Pueblo. They're celebrating their 150th anniversary right now. 

Rita Cote is the current owner of Tanque Verde Ranch. She recently gave us a tour of the historic property. 

"Horses, hats and hospitality," Rita said. "That's what dude ranching is all about." 

Her late husband, Bob Cote, purchased the Ranch in 1957 from the Converse family. They converted the property into a guest ranch in 1928. 

Don Emilio Carrillo started the ranch back in 1868. A wealthy landowner, Carrillo was once a victim of burglars after gold. They hung Carrillo from a beam in his main house. 

"Local ranchers helped him down from the beam and he survived the hanging," said Rita Cote. "But he died four years later. He was a tough guy." 

One of the original buildings remains at Tanque Verde Ranch, the Dog House Saloon. 

"The Dog House got its name from the ranch hands drinking too much," Rita explained. "They'd go home and be in the dog house." 

Terry Hanley is the general manager at Tanque Verde Ranch. He proudly shows off all the amenities and activities for guests. 

"The ranch experience is amazing, Hanley said. "Anything you want to do you can do." 

Hanley also invites Tucsonans to go experience Tanque Verde Ranch with things like the twice-weekly Cottonwood Barbeque. "We also have breakfast rides Thursday and Sunday mornings. Yes, love to see the locals out here." 

Rita Cote says Tanque Verde Ranch is best experienced with a long stay. "We have a family that comes at Christmas from Highland Park, Illinois. They have not missed one Christmas in 54 years." 

150 years of Tanque Verde Ranch, it's "Absolutely Arizona." 

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