There are those who have the glamorous belief the community of Rita Ranch was named after Rita Hayworth. You may have seen the recent article in the Arizona Daily Star suggesting it was named after her. Howard Hughes did own leases and options for 32,000 acres in the Tucson area. Its rumored he built a ranch on the land and called it “Rita’s Ranch.” In the book, “Howard Hughes: The Untold Story,” authors Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske claim that in 1947, Hughes and Hayworth had an affair. It’s more likely that the wonderful community of Rita Ranch in southeast Tucson was named after Rita Station, a train station in the southeast Tucson/Vail area that was in existence before 1920. The stories of Howard Hughes and Rita Hayworth didn’t occur until the 1950’s.
You may recognize these streets in the Rita Ranch area:
Esmond Loop, Esmond Road, and Esmond Station Road. It’s believed they were probably named after Esmond Station, originally called Papago Station. Another station in the area was Pantano Station, originally built around 1858 to water the stagecoach horses. In the 1880’s, the water was used for the steam trains when the Southern Pacific Railway began making its way through the area.
Even though these old train stations don’t even exist anymore, they have so much more historical importance than a Hollywood love affair!
Reprinted with permission by Long Realty Houghton Southeast/Vail Office