In the tradition, of riding back through the ranching history, the Douglas Historical Society will host an open house at the Douglas-Williams House Sunday, December 16, from 2 to 4 p.m.
The major display will be the 100th year anniversary of the Krentz Ranch. The Krentz family, butchers by trade, purchased the Palace Meat Market in 1907 and moved to Douglas. The building is still there on G Avenue and is currently BackDrop Photography.
Later that same year they purchased the Spear E Ranch northeast of Douglas and raised cattle there to be sold at the meat market in Douglas. Their idea was to capitalize on the ready consumer market of the army stationed along the border and the miners that worked at the two operating smelters.
Sue Krentz said, “As a family owned and managed ranch, reaching the 100 year mark is a rare accomplishment. The dedication of the family and loyalty to the lifestyle is proof that ranching plays a vital role in the Arizona economy and is necessary to keep open spaces viable and economically feasible.”
Come celebrate a lifetime of experiences and see the pictures and the rich ranching heritage of Cochise County and the state of Arizona.
Refreshments will be served.
The journey to 100 years of ranching legacy began in Alsace-Lorraine during the Franco-Prussian War when young Jules Krentz left the country rather than be in a war that would cause him to fight against France to whom he was loyal. He came to St. Louis, married, then moved to Globe, Arizona, where he worked for a butcher and began to gather a herd of cattle. He had a butcher shop in Winslow, then a slaughter house and meat business in Douglas that he purchased from Ed Tovrea. In 1907 he purchased the Spear E ranch northeast of Douglas in the Chiricahua foothills from Jesse James Benton. Benton was the grandfather of Janice Bryson, past president of the Arizona Cowbelles and a historian in her own right.
Jules died in 1910, and in 1918 his son, Frank, bought out the other two sons’ interest in the ranch. In the 1900’s the Krentz family had looked into the future and realized the importance of a reliable supply of water. Water development had been started by Jules, and Frank built a basic water line during the 1920’s that is still functioning and providing water for most of the ranch. There are over 30 miles of pipe line on the ranch, and this water development is one of its key assets. Added to that is the use of solar energy to pump water on two wells on the property.
Frank Krentz married Sara Arizona Dugan and they had 11 children. Two of them, Bob and Stuart, would become well known in the cattle history of Arizona. After Frank died, another brother joined Bob and Stuart in buying out the sisters’ interest in the ranch. Frank had established a buffalo herd on the ranch in the 1930’s, and he sold buffalo meat to the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas. Bob recalls as a teenager that he and brother Stuart took care of the buffalo. Bob and his wife, Louise, lived on the ranch and raised their family there. Eventually, Rob and Phil, Bob’s sons, and his daughter, Sue, became the ranch owners.
Brothers Rob and Phil Krentz still live on the ranch. Their sister, Sue Pope, lives in Portal with her husband, Louie Pope. Rob and Susan’s son, Frank, helps on the ranch as does Phil and Carrie’s son, Ben. They manage a cow and calf operation and spend a great deal of time involved in industry issues. They stay abreast of up-to-date methods for raising healthy and desirable beef for the consumer. Their input can be counted on when issues arise that threaten the way of life they treasure or the legacy of 100 years on the same piece of land.
Young grandchildren for Rob, Sue, and Phil’s families provide the sixth generation for the Krentz family. The present caretakers on the ranch are working very hard to assure that the choice to extend the years of the Krentz Ranch is available to these young ones.
Members of the Krentz family felt they had reached a milestone when they received phone service. True, these were phones with party lines, but it was the communication progress that was very important. These days the satellite hook-ups for computers is taken for granted, with instant communication a common fact of life.