Historic Structure Report
Historical and Archeological Data Sections

A History of the Building and Structures of Faraway Ranch
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1. The National Register. The National Register Nomination Form should be revised so that the boundary of the historic district is extended further southward. Recent archeological studies have revealed subsurface remnants of structures and artifacts that may have been associated with Faraway Ranch and the Black military detachment stationed there in 1885-86. The form should also be revised to include the following corrections and omissions brought to light as a result of this study:

a. (Item 7, p. 1, 4th paragraph). The original Stafford Cabin was more likely built in 1880 than 1879.

b. (Item 7, p. 2, 2nd paragraph). We now know that, except for a small section at the north end, the existing western addition is not the section built by Stafford and which was removed in the 1920s. The existing lean-to shed was built in the 1940s.

c. The third addition, that is, the structure that stood where the garage is now and which now forms part of the bunkhouse, should be listed.

d. (Item 7, p. 3, 3rd paragraph). The foundation of the Martha Riggs House is no longer there, but the concrete septic tank is. The house was burned in 1967.

e. (Item 7, p. 4, 2nd paragraph). The box house was more likely built in 1899 rather than 1897 or 1898. The adobe addition was probably built in 1915-1916 rather than 1924.

f. (Item 7, p. 6, last paragraph). The furnishings are now at the Western Archeological and Conservation Center.

g. (Item 7, p. 13). The animal pen or cage is no longer at Faraway Ranch.

h. The house well, just outside the kitchen, an important cultural resource, should be listed in the form.

i. (Item 8, p. 9, 2nd paragraph). I think we can say with some certainty that Neil Erickson did not demolish the original cabin used by Captain Cooper. He probably added lean-to sheds to it. Neil demolished the cabin when he built the adobe addition in 1915-16. The cellar, or the stone house as it was called earlier, was built by Neil around 1889.

j. (Item 8, p. 9, last paragraph). Lillian was born in 1888.

k. (Item 8, p. 10, 1st paragraph). The picket, or log, cabin was located by Emma in 1886, but it was built before then.

l. (Item 8, p. 11, 2nd paragraph). It was Hildegard who started the practice of taking in guests, not Lillian.

m. (Item 8, p. 11, last paragraph). The evidence provided by Neil Erickson seems to point to 1889 as the date when the Massai incident occurred.

n. (Item 8, p. 12, 2nd paragraph). The date of construction of the adobe addition should be 1915-16, and the date of the frame addition should be 1899.

2. Research. Additional research is needed in the form of a Historic Resource Study, a Special History, or both. The scope of the resource study should include the whole park with special emphasis on the Faraway Ranch Historic District and the military detachment that had been stationed there. It should also stress the role that Neil Erickson and Ed Riggs played in the history of conservation. A Special History should focus on the historic district, including the role of the Black military detachment. A strong effort, meanwhile, should be made to have Neil Erickson's letters translated from the Swedish.

3. Managing the Resource. The Faraway Ranch Historic District should largely be managed as a dude or cattle ranch of the 1917-1974 period. It was during this time that the Main House, the principal structure, attained its existing configuration in order to serve as a dude ranch. The Stafford Cabin, another significant structure, also underwent important changes between the mid-1920s and 1940 to serve as guest quarters. Although there is a temptation to restore this structure to the pre-mid-1920 period, it would be unwise. It is best, therefore, to leave this structure as is and to manage it as part of the dude ranch. Many of the other structures, such as the barn, corral, bunkhouse, cowboy house, and Neil's office/garage, should be adaptively restored. The bunkhouse should continue to be used as quarters for park personnel, and the cowboy house can be used for the same purpose or as an office. Other structures could be mothballed.

4. Interpreting the District. Whereas the whole district should be opened to the public, only a few selected buildings should be interpreted either as furnished structures or as museums. The Main House should serve both as a visitor center and furnished house. The Stafford Cabin should contain exhibits interpreting the Stafford period as a case study of the early pioneer in Bonita Canyon. The barn and corral could easily be furnished, perhaps even making use of some livestock. Neil's office/garage might also be furnished, exhibiting his personal library and other memorabilia.

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Last Updated: 27-May-2008