Lucy Krug’s good idea was a Sun City home with room for a horse.
Krug, John Meeker’s secretary, enjoyed riding horseback and suggested to her boss one day, “Why not have an area in Sun City where residents can have a home and horses, too?”
An area south of Peoria Avenue and west of 111th Avenue was vacant in the mid-1960s and was purchased with that idea in mind. It would be divided into one acre or larger lots with horse privileges and bridle paths, giving access to the riverbed to the west. An acre lot would cost $10,990 and buyers could select from the any of the Sun City model homes.
The estates opened for sale in 1967, and the brochure was given to prospective buyers.
Krug and her husband, Richard Shields, bought one of the lots in 1970 and had a modest ranch home built, along with a small building for her horse and feed storage. Later, they moved to a much larger, deeper lot along 112th Avenue, and built the same model home with an outbuilding for her horse. They named this property Rancho Ventura, and the sign and home remain to this day.
Many Rancho Estates residents had interests other than horses, and soon larger garages and sheds were built. Some housed RVs, some were used to restore old cars and still others housed antique farm equipment and boats. After the Shields were gone a 2-story workshop and office were built on their lot, the horse-shed converted to a 9-vehicle outbuilding, and the house was remodeled.
The next owner of Rancho Ventura planned to repair recreational vehicles in the large workshop and display them for sale on the lot. When the neighbors objected, “Friendly Freddie” got it annexed into Youngtown. But that didn’t solve his problem as there was no access from Youngtown to his property.
A satellite view shows how the lot is larger than those to the north or south, and protrudes into Youngtown, which abuts Rancho Estates on the west. The house and buildings are all on the back section of the lot. At last count, the property has been listed for 2,765 days — 7.5 years! The last recorded asking price was $850,000.
The property carries a Sun City address, but legally is part of Youngtown. As such, age restrictions do not apply, nor do Rancho Estates or Sun City CC&Rs. In a curious twist, however, if the buyer is 55 or older, he or she could buy membership in Recreation Centers of Sun City for $10,073, plus the annual rec center fee.
Editor’s Note: Ed and Loretta Allen recently moved to Royal Oaks in Sun City. They have been active in the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum for many years.
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