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U.S. representative’s early childhood home was at La Canoa Ranch

Original ceiling
Original ceiling
Kim Kloes

There are several names associated with La Canoa Ranch that you still hear around the Tucson area today: Maisch, Manning and Grijalva are a few examples. This article describes the Grijalva legacy at the ranch.

A porch with a view
Kim Kloes

Hacienda de la Canoa participated in something called the Bracero Program. This program was initiated in 1942. It was prompted by the demand for manual labor during World War II and started when the U.S. brought in several hundred experienced Mexican agricultural laborers to harvest sugar beets. U.S. growers continued to use the program due to their labor shortages. At the Hacienda, Mexican ranch hands took over for the ranch workers who were serving in the armed forces. Congress voted the program out of existence in 1964.

One of the workers, Señor Grijalva, emigrated from Mexico in 1945, and lived with his family in a small building on the ranch. His son, Raúl M. Grijalva, was born in the United States in February 1948. Raúl lived at Hacienda de la Canoa until he was about five years old.

Representative Grijalva is in his sixth term as a member of Congress and represents Congressional District 3.

The Grijalva house is one of many of the buildings that are available to see on a tour of the ranch. The park includes restored haciendas, the homes of the ranch foreman and ranch workers, a building that included a grain room, blacksmith's shop and tack room, and other unique structures such as a retaque corral with fences of horizontally laid wood.

An article by Kitty Bottemiller in the Green Valley News, March 5th, 2013, states that La Canoa Ranch became a showcase ranch and community worked by both Anglo and Mexican families. There were numerous breeds of cattle and horses, in addition to extensive farms and irrigation systems, many of which are still visible.

"What Canoa is going to do for this part of the world, for the border lands and for Southern Arizona, is be a very important touchstone where you come back and look at history, not in the abstract, but in the real," said U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, for whom the park is named.

The park is located at 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Road, Green Valley, AZ. Call (520) 877-6000 or visit their website to get information on tour dates and times.