From a Vision to Today

History of Ranch

Anne and Fowler McCormick (grandson of John D. Rockefeller) began to assemble the vast McCormick Ranch parcels of land between 1942 and 1954. At the time of Anne’s death in 1969, the ranch covered nearly seven square miles. Within the 4,236 acres were over 640 acres of irrigated land, plus water tanks for livestock and wildlife. The ranch was also used for raising the finest purebred Arabian horses and Angus cattle. The McCormick Ranch horse operations were located at Scottsdale Road and Northern Ave., where the main entrance to McCormick Ranch housing development is today.

History of Guy

Guy Stillman, the son of James Stillman and Anne Urquhart Potter, was born in New York, NY on November 7, 1918.

Guy’s father, James Stillman, was the president of National City Bank of New York (now Citibank). His mother and father divorced and Anne eventually remarried to Fowler McCormick, the last remaining grandson of John D. Rockefeller. Fowler’s Grandfather was Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the reaper, which forever changed the way the world harvested grain. After graduating from Princeton, Fowler McCormick went on to become the Chairman of the Board at International Harvester.

Guy Stillman’s impressive life was filled with extensive military service, civic and professional duties and membership in multiple societies.  He was a well educated man with a background in business and also was very involved in political issues of the day.

History of Park

In 1967, the Fowler McCormick’s donated 100 acres of McCormick Ranch to the City of Scottsdale stipulating that it be used as a park for all to enjoy. At that time the land value was $1 million. Their hope was that the gift would encourage others to give as well as to make Scottsdale a better place to live for succeeding generations.

The original location of the park was to be on 50 acres on the west side of Scottsdale Road. Complaints arose from the town of Paradise Valley so, to avoid difficulty, it was agreed to move across the street, wholly within, Scottsdale city limits. The land size of the park was cut from 50 to 30 acres.

In 1971 Guy Stillman chartered the Scottsdale Railroad & Mechanical Society as part of the agreement with the city of Scottsdale to establish a Railroad Park on the donated land. The original purpose of the Society was to provide technical expertise to the McCormick Railroad Park. Later that year, Guy began to move his Paradise & Pacific steam railroad to the park land, donating two narrow gauge 5/12 scale locomotives.

Residents celebrated the grand opening of the city of Scottsdale’s McCormick Railroad Park on Saturday, October 4, 1975 with free train rides, games, music and a Wild West Shootout. The facilities were a “bare minimum” and the one mile of track had been supplied by donations and laid by volunteers. The highlight of the event was a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. At the time of opening, approximately $1.25 million had been invested in the park and its facilities. Over the last 40 years the park has evolved into one of the most popular attractions in Scottsdale, with approximately 1 million visitors a year.