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Updated Mar 27, 2014 - 4:20 pm

Historic Arizona ranch visited by John Wayne, LBJ up for sale

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SASABE, Ariz. -- The owners of a historic southern Arizona ranch where past guests include President Lyndon B. Johnson and John Wayne said Wednesday they are holding out hope for a buyer.

Veronica Schultz, 62, said that she and her husband, Richard, have only taken a few calls from people interested in looking at Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, which lies about 71 miles south of Tucson.

They plan to close the site as a guest ranch June 25.

``If it has not been sold or there isn't an offer pending, or something, then we are thinking of becoming the Inn at Rancho de la Osa,'' Veronica Schultz told The Associated Press. ``So an inn but with no horseback riding. That way we could rest for up to four days.''

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the couple is asking $1.9 million for the 239-acre facility which includes nine buildings, 19 guest rooms and a cantina.

The ranch, which dates back to 1725, has changed ownership over the years.

Originally built by Jesuit priests, the property was a trading post for local tribes as well as a sanctuary for traveling missionaries working for Jesuit priest Eusebio Francisco Kino. The ranch was attached to the Gadsden Purchase in 1889 and bought by Col. William Spencer Sturgis. The colonel branded it as La Osa Ranch and added more structures and ran a thriving cattle ranch operation.

Investors operated the ranch from 1927 to 1996 when Richard and Veronica Schultz bought it for $800,000.

``It's a signature property in Southern Arizona,'' said Gary Brasher, associate broker with Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty which is handling the sale.

Brasher said the next owner could keep it as a guest ranch or turn it into a wellness spa or make it a private estate.

The couple said they are ready to retire and travel. The demands of running the place last around the clock and they can't keep up.

``I'm the cleaning lady and I'm the pool boy,'' said Richard Schultz, 68.

The couple, who plans to settle in a home in Oro Valley, knows their ideal buyer.

``I just hope somebody with as much enthusiasm as us for the property buys it and keeps it going. It's a really special place,'' Veronica Schultz said.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

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