Arizona Trail Work Event by SaddleBrooke Hiking Club

American Flag Ranch – a historic structure on the Arizona National Scenic Trail

American Flag Ranch – a historic structure on the Arizona National Scenic Trail

Elisabeth Wheeler

Arizona Trail Work Event by SaddleBrooke Hiking Club and Tour of the American Flag Ranch will be November 18 at 7:30 a.m. departing SaddleBrooke and returning by noon.

Isaac Laurin, a native of Martinique, located the American Flag Mine and built his home in 1877. The American Flag Mine was one of the first in the area to yield rich dividends. By 1880 there were several hundred miners working the American Flag, Apache and Campo Bonito mining areas. Through the efforts of Laurin, E.O. Stratton and others, the first post office was established on December 28, 1880, as part of Laurin’s American Flag Ranch building. It was named the American Flag Post Office. Today the original structure is believed to be the oldest extant territorial post office building in Arizona. In 1881 Laurin sold his mining interests to the Richardson Mining Company of New York. The area population dwindled over the next several years and the American Flag Post Office was decommissioned on July 16, 1890. All mail was subsequently sent to Tucson via the Oracle Post Office, located at the Acadia Ranch. Laurin then turned his attention to developing the American Flag Cattle Ranch and lived at American Flag for about eight years as rancher and cattleman before moving to Phoenix where he died in 1911.

In the 1970s, 3C Ranch owner Thelma Rowe donated the American Flag to the Arizona Historical Society. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1979. AHS and OHS entered into a five year partnership during which time the house’s utilities were upgraded, the tin roof replaced and a caretaker installed. In 1999 AHS quitclaimed the Ranch to OHS. OHS and the American Flag Committee continued to stabilize and maintain the ranch building and systems while negotiating with U.S. Forest Service and Pinal County to move the road that was causing seismic damage to the structure. In 2010 a core group of volunteers began rehabilitation of the barn and ranch house.

For more information about volunteering for 2.5 hours of work on the Arizona National Scenic Trail and the tour that follows, call Elisabeth Wheeler at 818-1547 or Mary Croft at 651-270-1660.