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Steam Pump Ranch

  • Historic buildings at Steam Pump Ranch
  • The early days of Steam Pump Ranch
  • Steam Pump Ranch in Tucson


  • This historic ranch played an important role in the Arizona cattle industry. 
  • The ranch is situated on the banks of the Canada del Oro with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background.
  • Several historic buildings remain and special tours and historic presentations are held each second Saturday of the month.

Steam Pump Ranch


Steam Pump Ranch
Price: Free
Every second Saturday of the month, Steam Pump Ranch hosts special tours, historic and cultural presentations, concert series and activities for children.  These activities are free for all ages. The Ranch is only open to the public for the Farmers Market (Saturday mornings), for special events such as the Fall Festival.
 Address: 10901 N Oracle Road
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
 In 1874, two German immigrants - George Pusch and Johann Zellweger - arrived in Arizona and established the Steam Pump 
Ranch as an important way-station in the mercantile structure of the southern Arizona cattle industry and in the transportation corridor to Oracle and points north. A German emigrant, filled with dreams of becoming a big cattleman, helped solve the problem of a lack of water supply for herds of cattle near Tucson. George Pusch was born in Frankfurt in 1847. After a short stay in New York,  he headed west, to Tucson, Arizona. He soon persuaded a young friend from Switzerland, John Zellweger, to join him here. They pooled their resources and in 1874 bought the Steam Pump Ranch on Oracle Road just south of the Canada del Oro crossing.
The partners installed the first steam pumps in the territory, pumping water into holding tanks. Ranchers from all over the Arizona Territory brought their cattle herds either to Tucson or Red Rock for shipment back east, and the Steam Pump Ranch was the spot where cattle were watered down the day before they were loaded onto stock cars. Pusch charged 15 cents a head for watering cattle. Ranchers were paid by the pound as the cattle entered the stock cars for their long journey to distant cities, and were more than willing to pay. Pusch and Zellweger also had 15,000 head of cattle branded "PZ." Attorney Henry Zipf, George Pusch's grandson, tells that mounted Apaches circled his grandfather's wagon at the Antelope Plains, northwest of Oracle Junction, as the family traveled from the Steam Pump to their ranch on the San Pedro.
Today the material remains of the Steam Pump Ranch stand mostly intact along the banks of the Cañada del Oro, in the shadow of Pusch Ridge and the Santa Catalina Mountains. The site is tucked away in the midst of a busy modern commercial corridor along North Oracle Road, just north of the contemporary roads of First Avenue and La Reserve. With the acquisition of this property by the Town of Oro Valley, in partnership with Pima County, we now have the means to tell these important Steam Pump Ranch stories in a setting that can preserve its significance and integrity. Of special importance is the key commercial role this site has played in the ranching, water and food production business of Tucson and the region. 

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Call 520-229-4700
Come visit us! 10901 N Oracle Road, Oro Valley, AZ - 85737,US

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