Monday, March 20, 2023

House of Canoe, Part Two

 The title is about my best attempt at poetry.  I will continue the tour of Hacienda de Canoa today with more history of the area after it became part of the United States.  The first mention of this site came about in 1775 when Captain Juan Baptista De Anza went along the route from Tucson to San Francisco with 239 people establishing churches in Native villages.  Friar Garces gave it the name of La Canoa from the canoe-like water troughs dug out of the cottonwood trees by the local Pima Indians.

It's always been interesting to me that the Catholic Church tried to convert all of the Indians to their religion.  This area was no exception.

There were a few different owners who raised cattle here until it was sold to Mr. Manningin 1912.  This original homestead was built by Mr. Manning in the 1930's as he enlarged his holdings.  He and his son ran the ranch until in 1951, when a tragic accident happened.  His son was killed in a head on collision on the highway.  Mr. Mannings zest for the ranch disappeared as he began selling off parcels.

THIS is the blacksmith shop.  It looked more like a house to me.  The small section on the left actually IS a house.  The sign said Congressman Raul Grivalja grew up here.  His family lived in this house when his father came from Mexico as part of the original Bracero Program.  

This was NOT part of the quilt show, so we didn't spend a lot of time reading about the building.  They had a bathroom, this kitchen (this was the ENTIRE kitchen), a large living room and a bedroom.  

Attached to the bedroom was the blacksmith shop ... an INSIDE version to boot.  This is the forge where they shaped horseshoes for the ranch horses.  This is definitely worth the visit for me since they had lots of horsehair reins and ropes, early bridles and a few very nice saddles.

Out behind the shop was one of several corrals made with local trees and cactus.  I'll have to go back sometime to get a better look at the cattle operation they had here.

It was a rather tight fit walking around all the frames holding the quilts and getting pictures with 30 other people at the same time.  It's amazing what you can do with a little fabric and a sewing machine.

This was one of my favorites, although I was terribly distracted by the buildings.  I'm now on the hunt for this one called Simply Civil, a reference to civil war fabric I think.

 The sell off of this property by Mr. Manning ended in 1994 when Fairfield Homes bought 6400 acres for a housing development.  What a shame.  However, they did not receive the zoning changes they wanted, so in 2001 the Arizona Open Land Trust bought 4800 acres of it as permanent wildlife habitat.  I'm good with that!

This was Mr. Mannings house across from his son's house (the one with the glass windows).  This had a big kitchen with a patio in the middle of it.  They are currently remodeling the kitchen to allow for parties and gatherings at the ranch which is now controlled by the Raul Grijalva Canoa Ranch Conservation Park Master Plan to promote heritage education.  

And more quilts ... LOTS of quilts ... too many to take pictures of.  It seemed like the theme this year was scrap quilts.  I'm not surprised since fabric has gone up so high in price that a queen size will now cost you around $175 just for the fabric.  Scrap quilting allows you to use up all that fabric you have stashed in your house.

The quilting on this one was crazy.  It must have taken months to quilt every little section differently and separately.

The ranch foreman had some nice digs ... this screened in porch was full of quilts too.  I imagine with all the thick adobe walls, it was quite comfortable in the summer.

This is what it looked like before the restoration.  There's those palm fronds hanging over the patio.

It's a great venue for a quilt show, but being more interested in the history and the cattle ranch, I was a little distracted.  I really didn't get enough quilt pictures and I didn't buy one single thing from the vendors.  That's a first!!  

There were many more very nice quilts, but I rather imagine you folks would be more interested in the history too.  

As for the lake, there was never enough water in the desert to keep it full, so Mr. Manning put in a big pump to fill it from the aquifer.  When purchased by the conservancy, they quit pumping, but wanted to keep the lake for the critters and the historical value.  They mixed a polymer into the soil to help keep the water above ground, then filled it back up as you see it today.

There are biking and hiking trails all around, but we had hiked the quilt show long enough.  I was ready for some tasty Tex-Mex food.  Pretty nice of them to have a food truck available.  Too bad I didn't take any pictures of the food.  

Patty had a Sonoran dog that was an epic example of good food.  I had two street tacos, one carne asada and one brisket that was AMAZING!!

There was one last quilt on the way out the door.  Buy a raffle ticket and you could win this beauty!!  I have enough quilts, but isn't it gorgeous?  

That was it for the quilt show and the Hacienda de la Canoa.  They plan on making more renovations in the future which will make it even better.  Check it out if you are in the area, but go early since by 11:00 the entire lake parking lot was full to the brim with bird watchers.

One last thing, if anyone knows what kind of trees these are, could you let me know please?  The picture with the patio kitchen shows them the best.  They cover this entire property.  I know someone out there can identify them.  


  1. What an amazing place, great history. That tiny kitchen is like an rv kitchen. Lol
    My mother used to quilt, to make the top she used her sewing machine but did the rest by hand. She often used left over scraps to make Crazy Quilts. Various sizes, shapes and textures of material all sewn together into the top, no separation bands of any kind. They were always the busiest things. Lol


    1. I guess they had lots of time on their hands back in the day. My Grandmother used to make quilts by hand also.

  2. Such wonderful history.
    The qulits are amazing.
    Once again fabulous pi turns.

    1. You should see those quilts in person Frances, the pictures don't do them justice.

  3. I can't find a patio kitchen. Have I lost my mind? Probably.

    1. No Judith ... it's only in the description of the picture. It's picture number 7 that shows the trees the best.

  4. Found a website on: The Canoa Ranch Master Plan ( and this plan talks about "Ash Trees" and "Mesquite Trees". I see both in you pictures (google search on each tree with the word bare in front, click on images). I'll let you decide which tree you were thinking about.

    1. Wow ... the Librarian scores again. Thank you Dave! They are mesquite trees ... but they sure are pruned up nicely!

  5. I was looking for the patio kitchen and trees too. Lots of lovely quilts.
    What a great tour!

    1. If you are ever in the area, check it out. It's very nicely refurbished.

  6. Very interesting. Thanks for finding us a new place that hopefully we can explore. Beautiful quilts...