WHISPERING SANDS RANCH NEAR CASTLE HOT SPRINGS, ARIZONA
OVERVIEW: This is a unique property with which you will fall in love. Lush desert vegetation has not only the usual mesquite, creosote, and Palo Verde trees, but also assorted palms, Italian Cypress, and Goldwater Pines, most of which are irrigated via a series of underground pipes. It’s location in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains barely north of 10,000 acre Lake Pleasant assures an abundance of birds and other critters taking advantage of the desert-irrigated interface. The main house is sheltered from the guest/caretaker quarters for privacy. With a later than normal sunrise and sunset as well as an elevation nearly 1000’ higher than the Phoenix metro area, the summers are a bit cooler than in the Valley of the Sun, with a dry prevailing westerly breeze. On the west bank of normally dry Castle Creek Wash, the property takes advantage of natural boundaries to live ever so much larger than its acres define. To the east is an old gabion enclosed rock wall, and to the east of this wall is a wide river bed. Generally, the western boundary includes part of a hill, giving privacy yet including an extra swimming pool at the top of 117 stairs. The old pool is registered as a fish farm with the State of Arizona Department of Agriculture (Establishment #95-04) though no fish are in the water at this time. The name is trademarked with the Arizona Secretary of State (trade name No. 159981).
LOCATION: About 1⁄2 mile northwest of the high water mark of Lake Pleasant in the southernmost tip of Yavapai County, Arizona. Access is via unpaved Castle Hot Springs Road and a private easement. Castle Hot Springs Road is maintained by Yavapai County, partly under contract with the City of Peoria. Although the mailing address is technically Morristown ( 30 miles away), the region is better known as Lake Pleasant/Castle Hot Springs, the name taken from a now-closed resort located 3 miles to the north. Only 4 1⁄2 miles from the end of the pavement at the North Park Entry, separate directions are available.
SIZE: About 6.3 very carefully shaped acres.
IMPROVEMENTS: It’s tough to describe the centerpiece structure, but here’s an attempt. Reportedly designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, most exterior (and many interior) walls are of poured concrete construction, with abundant rocks faced through the concrete. Trapezoidal vertical walls are about 5’ wide at the base, tapering to about 2’ at the ceiling, with most ceilings at about 11’ or higher, much higher than normal at the time of construction, circa 1941. Most rooms are massive and open, with huge beams supporting the ceilings. While some walls have been
furred out, insulated, and dry walled, many have simply been left natural or plastered. All rooms (except the 4 bathrooms) have outside access, with no interior hallways. While about 4,500 square feet of finished interior are livable, another 1,500 square feet are patios and porches under roof. The remainder of the exterior and interior walls are of 8” cement block construction, and seem to have been filled with mortar for extra strength. These walls are plastered on the exterior. Massive exposed 6” by 12” timbers support the roof structure throughout the entire house. Two massive rock and concrete fireplaces sharing a common chimney are found in the living room and the family room. There are also three very large bedrooms, a generous tile countered kitchen, dining, living, and family rooms, in addition to a huge kitchen pantry and an office.
Two duplex casitas (4 units) totaling about 1,400 square feet have been partially finished as a caretakers quarters and are currently occupied as such. Renovations were completed professionally in 2003. These are of cement block construction, with mostly tile flooring.
The main fenced swimming pool measures about 24’ by 50’. Its depth accommodates diving nicely. Cleaned with built in floor jets, the two, 2 HP pumps and sand filters make maintenance simple.
Two septic tanks serve the Ranch. There are probably additional unused septic tanks from pre-1900’s development.
Many trees and shrubs as well as about 2 acres of lawn are connected to underground sprinkler and drip irrigation systems.
WATER: Currently, a well from a neighboring property is used with permission, but a new well was recently drilled on the Ranch. The driller estimates that the well would produce in excess of 300 gallons per minute, but the 5” casing will support a pump capable of producing about 100 gallons per minute. While the perforations are at about 250’ to get quality groundwater, the static water level is at 30’. Outside of the Phoenix Active Water Management Area, well # 55-907765 has unlimited production potential.
The property is also served by Ross Spring, a surface water right with claims dating prior to 1900. No challenges have been filed against this right, filed as 36-104881 in 1996.
SERVICES: APS 3 phase electric is on site. Telephone and DSL Internet service are provided by Zona Communications (www.zonacommunications.com), with underground fiberoptic lines into the property. It should be noted that although the
area code in 928, local free dialing is available into the Phoenix metro area codes of 480, 602, and 623. Amerigas is a propane provider. Currently television is provided by Dish Network satellite.
AREA PROPERTY: The ranch is surrounded by 297 acres owned by Megan’s Landing LLC. To the west of the 297 acres is federal wilderness, to the south and north is U.S. Bureau of Land Management slated for protection against development. To the east is private property across Castle Creek Wash, a natural boundary. The nearest full time neighbors are about three miles distant.
LEGAL DESCRIPTION: Very lengthy, since this is an irregular shaped ‘out’ from the original master parcel and further includes an access easement. The tax parcel # is 204-01-012-E.
TAXES: Under $1,000. for the most recent tax year, 2007. Since the County Appraiser visited the property in 2006, no significant changes are expected.
ZONING: While the underlying zoning is Yavapai County RCU-2A, a pre annexation agreement with the City of Peoria provides for a variety of commercial uses. This agreement is available as a recorded document in Yavapai County Docket 3112886 Book 3633 page 82. The highest and best use is probably a family residence or retreat.
HISTORY: Reportedly originally developed in the late 1880’s with its sister property Casa Rosa Ranch across Castle Creek to the east, the ranch served as an alternative venue to the famous and historic Castle Hot Springs Resort . Known under a variety of names such as Rancho Etta, the Big Boulder, and the C Lazy U, for most of its history it operated as a guest ranch, mostly during the winter months. A chain of title shows that it was patented as an agricultural and grazing property in 1927.
LAKE PLEASANT: In 1995 the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation completed the expansion of the Lake to a bit over 10,000 acres when full. Seasonally fluctuating water levels via the Central Arizona Project provides some of the best bass fishing in the west, in addition to lots of other water related activities. Under construction is a second marina on the Lake, this very close on the western shore.
SUMMARY: Whether a primary or secondary residence, Whispering Sands is truly a one of a kind property. Many other amenities, such as a ‘lifted’ gas golf car, tools, and even (possibly!) a 21’ cabin cruiser may also be available by separate agreement.
Available for $1,500,000.
For further information, maps, directions, and survey, please call
Joe Hull, Owner (and real estate licensee)
Direct: 602-430-8770 ~ email JHull@AzLandBroker.com
Courtesy to brokers
Please note: The above information is believed to be accurate, but if specific items are important to a potential Buyer, then it is the Buyer’s responsibility to satisfy himself that the property meets his needs. For the most part, this is an older property with many construction episodes and no building permits, since building permits were only required in recent years. A Sellers Property Disclosure Statement is available as well as other required disclosures related to water, septic, etc.