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Visiting the Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch in the 1930s, Bumstead, Arizona

If you look on Google maps at about Litchfield Road and Peoria, you will see the name of Bumstead. And for years I thought that this was the only thing left of the Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch of Dale Bumstead. But the ranch is still there, it's where the reeeealllly tall palm trees are, along Litchfield Road. If you live out in the west valley you've probably driven past them a million times. Let's time-travel back to the 1930s and visit the original ranch.

According to a booklet that I have,  Tal'-Wi-Wi is Hopi for Happy Village. I don't know if that's true or not, I'm skeptical about things attributed like that, but since this is a blog post, if I find out more, I'll come back here and update it. Update - see comment below. But now let's go meet Dale and his wife Eva.

In the mid-thirties, this area was part of the Agua Fria Project, which was a failure. The idea was to bring water down from Lake Pleasant and turn the area between the White Tank Mountains and the Agua Fria River into rich farmland. It was all privately-funded, and although I have documentation about how great it was all going to be, it looks like when it all failed people didn't talk much about it. Luckily, Dale wasn't in on that. He never relied on canals and dams, he relied on groundwater, like Sun City does to this day.

It's quite a place in the 1930s. Dale and Eva are growing all kinds of stuff, including grapefruit trees and date palms. In fact, there's so much growing that you would hardly believe that just a few years ago this had been empty desert.

Looking towards the White Tank Mountains from the Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch in the 1930s

The Central Village of the Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch in the 1930s

I discovered the Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch from old documents that I found many years ago. And for years and years I thought how it was that it had all gone away. I posted pictures on social media, saying that it was long gone. Then one day someone made a comment on my Google+ page which simply said that he hadn't realized that it was gone. And sure enough, there it was! I had been looking in the wrong place. Just look for the very tall palm trees on Litchfield Road.

Looking towards the White Tank Mountains from Litchfield Road between Peoria and Olive, modern day.

Dale Bumstead in 1949. This is the only photo I have of him, and I never found one of Eva. By this time she was gone.

The Tal'-Wi-Wi Ranch 1930s booklet (pdf)

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