Repairing the Retaque Corrals at the Historic Canoa Ranch

Presenter: Simon Herbert, Pima County

Considered the finest example of retaque fence in Southern Arizona, this session explains how a dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the Pima County-owned historic ranch have been saving the intricate corral system from the ravages of time. Built by ranch-hands between 1930 and the 1950s, the solid mesquite-wood fences held cattle before they were returned to the pastures or sent to market.

Simon Herbert, Architectural Preservationist with Pima County, will present the approaches used to restore the retaque corrals to operational use. A small representative section of the retaque fence will be on display, along with one of the 52 wooden gates.

The retaque corrals at Canoa are representative of a practical yet highly skilled craft developed in Sonora, but which extended to wherever material and labor were available, including the southern United States. Still a viable fencing and corral system, the practical skills needed to build them are being lost to modern fencing systems. Canoa Ranch presents a practical method of preserving retaque corrals that can passed on to others.