The Triangle L Ranch — our getaway for a few glorious days in Oracle, AZ.
A dirt road off of the 77, a sign of welcome:
The company was quite sparkling, the breakfasts absurdly varied and delicious (I mean, we had our first but not our last taste of clafoutis), everything wonderful. Our casita — the guest house, in a rare ray of sunshine:
I got no pictures that did justice the small but quite exquisite main room, but the sleeping porch came out all right — the perfect place to escape the summer night’s heat.
On the side table sat a couple of books on local history, and of course I read one of them. Annie’s Guests: Tales From a Frontier Hotel by Barbara Marriott. It mostly looked at Oracle’s Mountain View Hotel, built and run by Annie (Box) and William Curley Neals, who were both of mixed Cherokee, African American and English ancestry — a fascinating discovery, and one I shall write about more. But there was a chapter on William Bloodgood Trowbridge who once owned this ranch, so I shall start there.
He came from East Coast money, and arrived in Oracle on what seems a most slender whim — when hunting with friends on the other side of the country they became fed up with their luck and headed out west without even going home for a change of clothes first. Money, like I said. He decided to stay on a while, and returned regularly (staying at the Mountain View of course). When it came up for sale, he bought the Triangle L in 1924. It had been built for Mrs Westry Ladd, another woman of East Coast money whose family had built the Baldwin locomotive engine. This began its life as a place of privilege with its wooden floors covered with Navajo rugs and comfortable antique furniture.– but it feels a surprisingly modest, comfortable and welcoming one.
Most of the chapter, however, is about Trowbridge’s rather tawdry love affair — I am a bit more judgmental than the author I am afraid. It seemed Trowbridge had some kind of understanding with the daughter who with her mother managed the ranch — when he broke that informal engagement to marry a Miss Smith from Edinburgh, he moved them to another ranch in the area. The marriage did not appear to be a happy one, and he commenced an affair with a woman named Margaret in Tucson. While he burned the letters he received from her, she failed to burn his. They are a rather depressing look into a relationship where you really hope she was just in it for the money — Trowbridge, despite all protestations of love clearly had no intention of leaving his wife. His parsimony is often hinted at, and in fact he asks Margaret to keep an accounting of her expenses and the money he gives her so he can review it. It all goes wrong, he is blackmailed by the family, the wife finds out (though she seems to have known much all along).
Not very interesting but for the fact that somehow, some way, the packet of his letters to Margaret were found in the disused well on the ranch itself — I imagine it must be this well, right next to our temporary home.
Behind it you can see the main house — I realise I failed to take a good picture to give a sense of the whole, there is a wonderful old picture on the website, though this view is just as you enter:
I did get a few pictures from inside, though they fail to do it justice. It is a perfect kind of house to my mind: thick adobe walls, wood floors, dark stained vigas and wood ceilings. What Marriot called the 360 degree fireplace, with three openings all leading to a central chimney shaft. From the dining room
The sitting room:
A most wonderful enormous screened living room/sleeping area/porch:
In addition to the extraordinary breakfasts to be enjoyed in the main house, the ranch also now serves as host to artists’ workshops, a wonderful little gift shop and a very large sculpture garden, primarily showcasing constructions of salvaged metal and glass, but plenty of other recycled materials here too:
This maze had music set off by motion detectors — some rabbits had triggered it while we were still some ways away, making it all a bit creepier than it should have been…
Pictures did not do this bird justice, nor its pair across the path with plumage of old shovels, I loved them both:
As I did these robots (most robots I confess):
This made quite an impact
A beautiful new take on bottle trees:
The country surrounding the Triangle L — hidden gullies and rocks of granite, dusk falling:
The old corral:
A wonderful place to stay and explore the surrounding country — Oracle, Buffalo Bill Cody’s mining claims, beautiful hikes through country teeming with wildlife and the most wonderful views, the Biosphere 2. All coming up.