The parlor at Winsor Castle is on the ground floor of what is called the "family side" of the fort (the north building). It was used the same way we would use a living room or a den in our own homes today. There were shelves for a small library of books, an area for the ranch manager's desk, and perhaps a spinning wheel.
Comfortable rockers and a couch provided plenty of seating space. Guests would be invited into the parlor upon their arrival; children were probably shooed away so that the grownups could talk. In the evenings, one or more of the family members might entertain the others on musical instruments.
What made the parlor at Winsor Castle unique is that the spring for which Pipe Spring is named flowed underneath the parlor's floorboards. The builders of the fort feared attack by the Navajo and Ute tribes. They wanted to have access to their water source in case of attack, so they built the fortified ranch house right over the top of Pipe Spring.
In order to accommodate the spring, the west wall of the fort was built into the hillside above the spring. Along with the water flowing beneath the floorboards, the surrounding earth would have helped to keep the parlor very cool during the hot Arizona summers.
The ranch managers at Pipe Spring agreed to operate the ranch as a mission, or "calling" for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Each manager was chosen from the hierarchy of the Church, and would stay at the ranch -- bringing their wives and children with them -- for between two and six years at a time. The first ranch manager was Anson Perry Winsor, who arrived with one of his wives, Emmeline, and 10 children in 1870 to begin fort construction.The ranch house quickly became nicknamed "Winsor Castle."
The ranch house was offered to each ranch manager as what we would call an "unfurnished apartment;" the families brought all of their possessions with them on a wagon, and took them when they departed. Thus, the items shown in Winsor Castle today are for the most part not the actual possessions of the ranch manager families, but are faithful to the historical time period.