Historic Structure Report
Historical and Archeological Data Sections

A History of the Building and Structures of Faraway Ranch
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*The schematic drawing of the Stafford Cabin should be consulted while reading this chapter to aid in understanding the additions and major changes made to the structure over the years.

J. Hughes Stafford, one of the earliest pioneers in Sulphur Spring Valley, settled in Bonita Canyon around 1880. He filed for his 160-acre homestead on October 17, 1880. The land was described as the "south half of the southwest quarter of Section 26 in T[ownship] 16 s[outh], R[ange] 29 e[ast] in Cochise County." [1]

Probably during the same year that he filed for his homestead Stafford built a one-room log cabin that was situated approximately one-quarter of a mile east of Neil Erickson's cabin. Stafford's cabin consisted of unpeeled logs squared and notched on the corners and chinked with a mixture of wooden wedges and gravelly mud. This unit formed the nucleus of what was later to become a much larger structure. It forms the southernmost section of the existing cabin.

As his family grew, Stafford added wings and shed-roofed extensions to the original unit. By the time he officially acquired his homestead on April 6, 1886, he made several improvements to his land one of which was the expansion of his cabin. In the homestead records these improvements were described as a double log house, chicken house, smoke house, corral, and a fouracre fenced-in garden. [2] The so-called double log house was a reference to a second unit that was added to the first between the years 1881 and 1885. Together these units formed the basic structure that exists today. The second unit, which adjoins the first to the north of it, consisted of logs that were slightly larger in diameter. The large spaces between the logs were chinked with small whole logs.

Stafford may have built this second unit in expectation of his first-born child. Unfortunately, this infant, a girl, died at birth and was buried nearby in the family orchard where the grave is extant. In her unpublished fictional work Lillian noted that "a small, picket-bound square among the orchard trees marked the grave." [3]

After this sad incident, Stafford's family grew rapidly. On January 28, 1886, Pansy was born; on December 1, 1888, Anna Mae was born; and on September 30, 1889, Ruby was born. Thomas, the only male offspring, then followed on May 30, 1890, and Clara on June 10, 1892. [4] As the family expanded and there was a need for more space, Stafford added a frame board and batten shed that extended the full length of the west side of the double log cabin. He built this second addition between 1897 and 1899. There is an excellent early photograph in the Erickson-Riggs Collection depicting this section, albeit not the entire structure (Illustration No. 16). Besides showing Stafford in the process of shingling the roof, an indication that the lean-to had been completed recently, the photograph depicts four of his children. While noting that the photograph was taken about 1899-1900, Mrs. Helen Kenney, Stafford's granddaughter, of St. David, Arizona, has identified her relatives as Clara (about 7 years of age); Tom (around 9); Ruby, Mrs. Kenney's mother (about 11 years); and Anna Mae (13.) [5]

Schematic Drawing: Stafford Cabin (click on image for a PDF version)

The latest additions to the cabin as viewed in this photograph reveal a window with six-over-six panes, facing south, and a doorway on the west side near the southwest corner. The roof line of this new addition did not extend from the eaves of the cabin's gabled roof but began at the apex of the roof and extended downward toward the west. Thus, the west wall of this new addition was higher than it normally would have been had the roof begun at the eaves of the main structure.

It is interesting to note that this photograph depicts a large quantity of wood, including milled boards, on the ground, a strong indication that Stafford was planning to do more construction. Whether this construction was to consist of further work on the cabin or on some other structure is not clear.

There is another view of the whole structure, after the second addition was built, which was probably taken around 1908. This is the same illustration that showed the eastern side of the Erickson house in the distance and Neil Erickson, himself, seated on a mountain top in the foreground overlooking the Stafford place. This interesting view depicts Stafford's cabin with a window on the south side and a doorway on the east side of the original structure. Unfortunately, the rest of the cabin is hidden by trees (Illustration No. 17).

A third addition, made largely of frame finished in board and batten, was built around 1910. This unit was connected to the first addition on the north side forming the base of an ell-shape, the apex of the gabled room running east and west. Although there are two photographs depicting this addition, little is known about its physical composition at the time. One of these illustrations, taken from the southwest, reveals a window with four-over-four panes facing the south. Incidentally, this same view shows the second addition with a window and door facing west (Illustration Nos. 18 and 19).

On November 14, 1913, Stafford died and was buried at the cemetery in the Riggs Settlement outside the canyon. [6] His son Tom and daughter-in-law lived at the cabin for several years afterwards, although his daughter Clara inherited the property. [7]

With the development of a guest ranch at Faraway, both Lillian and Hildegard decided to purchase the Stafford homestead in April 1918, for $5,000. [8] They rented the cabin on a monthly basis, and Tom Stafford continued to live there while working for the Ericksons. In the meantime, Lillian and Hildegard sold much of the produce raised at the Stafford orchard and garden. [9]

After Lillian married Ed Riggs in 1923, the latter assumed some of the responsibility for the development of Faraway Ranch as a dude ranch while also helping Lillian with her cattle. Both favored expansion. Murray Riggs said that his father was responsible for moving the third addition (that section which formed the base of the ell on the Stafford cabin) to what became the nucleus, or east section, of the existing bunkhouse. He accomplished this task by using log rollers. Mrs. Kenney has corroborated this point. The transfer of this structure to its new location was probably accomplished between 1925 and 1929. There is an early photograph of Faraway Ranch looking westward which shows the roof of the third addition of the Stafford cabin on its present site. [10]

It was probably around this time that the Riggses also dismantled the second addition to the cabin, thereby leaving an open porch along the west side of the cabin except for a small section at the north end which was left enclosed. To make the cabin more attractive to guests, a fieldstone chimney and fireplace were also constructed at the south end of the cabin. The fireplace, which is in the original part of the cabin, was lined with brick. Underneath the new porch was a door that led to the original room. A small square window, facing the west, can be observed in a photograph of the enclosed area at the north end of the porch. It is clear from this description so far that the front of the house had always been on the west side. Finally, a window was removed from the south side of the cabin to make way for the new fireplace (Illustration No. 20).

After these changes were made, the cabin was generally referred to as the Stafford Long House, and it was used by guests frequently for extended periods. In the 1940s the cabin was rented on a monthly basis at the rate of $100 a month. By the 1960s, however, a more flexible policy was instituted, changing monthly rates to daily and weekly rates. [11]

In later years, probably around 1940, the Riggses built a garage at the northwest corner of the cabin, approximately on the same site where the third addition had once stood. The garage, which exists today, is about twelve feet wide (running north and south) and eighteen feet long (running east and west). It consists of board and batten and has a gable roof. The front of the garage, which faces east, has a pair of doors each about four feet six inches wide. The northern-most door has an unfinished window cut through on a plank. [12]

Mrs. Ethel Erickson, who married Ben Erickson in 1959, and who was familiar with Faraway Ranch as early as 1957, recalled that the garage had been there when she first set foot on the ranch. [13]

Probably the enclosed wing on the west side and the open porch on the east side of the cabin were constructed about the same time the garage was installed. Mrs. Helen Kenney, who knew her grandfather's place very well and who worked for the Riggses as a teenager in the late 1920s, remembers the old porch on the west side of the cabin, the east porch being a much later addition. [14]

The new porch was built of concrete, about six feet wide, and ran the entire length (twenty-nine feet) of the house. It was covered by a shed roof made of shingles and supported on five equally spaced two- by six-inch supports at the outer edge and with fifteen two-by-six-rafters.

A 1947 typewritten manuscript lists furnishings in all the rooms of the cabin including the kitchen-dinette, as the new lean-to on the west side was called. This is additional evidence that the new lean-to was built before 1947. [15] Adding the frame lean-to at the same time the garage and east porch were built was probably the result of a need for more modern facilities to attract and accommodate the long-term guest. The new lean-to served as the kitchen. The remaining two rooms served as a living room (original log cabin) and bedroom (added log cabin). An examination of the north end of the latest lean-to on the west side reveals that it may have been a partial readaptation of the section that was kept after the second addition was removed by the Riggses in the 1920s (Illustration Nos. 21, 22, and 23).

The following description of the existing interior of the Stafford cabin is taken from the National Register Nomination Form:

The interior of the Stafford Cabin's original room has the stone fireplace with a stone hearth on its south wall, the fireplace lined with brick. The interior walls are finished with wallboard and battens. Peeled log beams run the length of the room supporting the roof, with three on each side of the ridgepole, which is also a peeled log. One-foot wide planks run from the ridge to the eaves on top of the beams. The floor consists of three-inch planks, painted gray, and is recessed several inches below the surface of the concrete front porch and the level of the ground to the south. The second section is finished in the same manner. The rear addition has a concrete floor, and at the north end is partitioned off into a bathroom with hot water tank, stall shower, and the site where a toilet once was installed. The next room to the south has shelves on its north and west walls.

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Last Updated: 27-May-2008