Hysterical Journey to Historic Places

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February 24th 2015
Published: February 24th 2015
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There is a teensy little community park up on the Ranchos that has a concrete monument erected to Wyatt Earp. Somebody thought it would be appropriate to vandalize the monument and steal the plaque. The monument is no longer worth the trouble to visit, but Cibola Wildlife Refuge certainly is.

The big dog with the brass collar around those parts was Louie Bishop. He was the third generation owner of the Bishop Ranch and was tough as an old boot. Louie passed away in his 80s about 2005 and is buried in a family cemetery behind the ranch headquarters. The ranch was started by his grandfather but it was in a remote location that badly needed a base of supply. What it needed was a general store. The store could be supplied with goods brought in by riverboat from Yuma. The little community that sprung up around the store was called Cibola, after the Cities of Gold. It prospered for a while but went into decline after the riverboat traffic was stopped by Laguna Dam. The remote location appealed to a few rough customers who preferred to live in a community where there were no minions of the law. Ownership of the ranch had fallen into the hands of Louie’s dad by the time those characters became a problem. They were stealing Bishop Cattle. Louie’s dad hired a tough old fearless constable to run those rascals off. The constable lived with his wife out in the desert west of Parker when the weather was nice. It did not take him long to restore order in Cibola. When the weather got hot he took his wife and returned to Los Angeles. His name was Wyatt Earp. When Louie took over the ranch operations from his dad things were changing. The Fish and Wildlife Service wanted to put in a sanctuary along the river for migratory waterfowl. They approached Louie about purchasing some of his ranch land. He agreed to deed them the land if they would put in an electric power line to Cibola. More of his land he decided to develop a river resort on, but the Bureau of Reclamation in their typically high handed fashion refused to allow him access to the river. When they started in telling him what he could and could not do on his own property he ran the bastards off with his rifle. Eventually he did develop a community called Rio Colorado Ranchos. He financed the one acre parcels himself for a hundred dollars down and a hundred dollars a month until he figured they were paid for, but he very seldom, if ever issued a deed of title. The water quality was so poor there that few people could last long enough to complete an open ended payment schedule. When Louie died his granddaughter and her husband took over the ranch operation and under her direction conditions up on the Ranchos have better prospered. Cibola is on the Arizona side of the river a few miles SE of the metropolis of Palo Verde.


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