[Source: Walt Nett, Explorer News] -- From the way his grandson talked of the old days at Steam Pump Ranch, George Pusch would have approved of the shindig on the lawn. “This place was a busy place,” Hank Zipf recalled Wednesday morning as more than 100 guests gathered for a cowboy breakfast to celebrate Oro Valley’s acquisition of the historic ranch. “There was an old dirt road then, and anyone passing by was invited in for a drink of water, sometimes whiskey,” said Zipf, a former Oro Valley council member now retired and living in Tubac. Zipf said the ranch, one of two his grandfather owned in Southern Arizona, attracted a variety of visitors. In addition to ranchers who watered livestock there, prospectors would come in for provisions, and on occasion, a troop from the Army’s Fort Lowell would visit. The ranch gained its fame and attraction as the first ranch in the area to draw water with a steam pump. Oro Valley officials have been working to acquire the land and save the ranch since 2004 when a developer proposed razing the structures and creating a commercial facility. The town announced in late April that it was wrapping up the purchase, made with $3 million in Pima County bond funds that were originally earmarked for the Naranja Town Site.
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