True Western hospitality shines at Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, where we honor the spirit of Arizona’s ranching days. We aim to carry on the legacy of the settlers who came before us by sharing their stories and proudly bearing their name. The struggles and achievements of the Cartwright family helped build Cave Creek and the Phoenix area, and we respect them by serving only the finest foods and providing excellent service in a distinctive setting.
The interior was designed to recall the original ranch house built by Jackson (Manford) Cartwright in the early 1900s. His father, Redick “Red” Jasper Cartwright, a former Union soldier in the Civil War, brought the family west, braving a 2,000-mile wagon trip from Coles County, Illinois, to northern California – one of the longest such treks on record.
Five years after settling just south of the Oregon border, a bitter winter froze Red Cartwright’s cattle herd to the ground. He, his wife and 10 children spent three months migrating to Arizona, where they almost reached Prescott before their famished oxen and weak horses gave out. The U.S. Cavalry at Fort Whipple in Prescott came to their rescue.
Three years later, in 1877, the family moved to Phoenix and became farmers and ranchers around present-day Maryvale. Cartwright and his sons helped build the Grand Canal, and Red also built the first schoolhouse near 59th Avenue and Thomas Road. A school there still bears his name, and the area continues to be called the Cartwright District.
In 1887, Red Cartwright traded his land for 160 head of cattle and, after a conversation with an old miner friend at a Phoenix saloon, soon moved north to the head of Seven Springs in Cave Creek. Though there was plenty of grass and a year-round spring, no one wanted the land. But it was perfect for ranching. In 1902, Red’s son Manford built a home with his new wife, Beulah Green, and started a family. A graded road wouldn’t run to the Cartwright Ranch until 1928.
Eventually the Cartwright Ranch occupied 65,000 acres and herded 5,668 cows. Red and Manford Cartwright became charter members of the Cattle Growers Association. Manford’s beef was so prized that chewing gum magnate William Wrigley bought two carloads to take to his Wrigley Mansion on Catalina Island in California. Manford ranched until age 71, when a horse fell on him and the saddle horn penetrated his stomach.
He continued to run the business, but left the riding to his son, Jackson “Jack Jr.” Cartwright. He took the reins in 1938 and ran it until 1980, when he sold it to a Mesa family who continue to operate it. The ranch was in the family for more than a century.
Today, Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House owners Eric Flatt and John Malcolm yearn to share the story of these three generations, and named their fine dining venue – located just south of the ranch – after the family. Several descendants are honored to see their surname grace the building and are frequent guests of the restaurant.