The Glendale Woman’s Club was the primary group that promoted and helped the Glendale Arizona Historical Society, established in 1973, to grow. The society was started by members of several community organizations that wanted to develop a museum for Glendale historical artifacts, and became a 501©(3) in 1978.
In 1985, the society opened an office in the Guest House at Sahuaro Ranch.
A year later the city of Glendale asked the society to help a young couple that wanted to be married in the rose garden at Sahuaro Ranch. Since then the society has facilitated more than 2,000 weddings in the rose garden or palm grove using the historic 1898 Guest House for dressing and gathering of the wedding participants. The weddings have been the primary source of funds to operate the services of the society. All weddings were canceled in 2020, due to the coronavirus.
The Glendale Arizona Historical Society office is located at 9802 N. 59th Ave., in the Guest House at Sahuaro Ranch. The board of directors has created an outstanding collection of documents, books, newspapers, oral histories and historical photographs that are being digitized. There is a complete obituary card file. Exhibits of wedding dresses from 1900 to present and another military uniform exhibit are exhibited at the Guest House museum. The Guest House has many other Glendale artifacts.
The society publishes eight monthly newsletters, has five program meetings, picnic, Christmas party and annual potluck/elections. The website glendalearizonahistoricalsociety.org has considerable historical information, and the society also has an active Facebook page. There are tours of the Guest House on Sunday afternoons and during festivals, although tours and meetings are temporarily suspended due to coronavirus.
In 1996 the society bought the historic Manistee Ranch house, garage, office, granary and land through a State Heritage Grant and restored all of the buildings. The house was built in 1897 by Herbert W. Hamilton and sold in 1907 to Louis Sands Sr. from Manistee, Michigan.
The ranch had 325 acres. Mr. Sands and his wife, Frances, raised three children in the house, and one of their children, John, and his wife Marie raised four children in the house.
The house and buildings are part of Manistee Ranch park. The society is constantly making repairs and maintenance on the buildings and grounds. The park is open to the public, but the house and office are open for tours only on the first and third Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. from October through May. Tours are temporarily suspended.
The Board of Directors welcomes new membership and/or volunteers by calling 623-435-0072 (office) or emailing email@example.com.
Donations for society operations and Manistee Ranch maintenance can be made by writing a check to Glendale Arizona Historical Society, P.O. Box 5606, Glendale, AZ 85312.
Editor’s note: Ron Short is president of the Glendale Arizona Historical Society.