The large tract of land near the southwestern border of Mesa, Arizona now known as Dobson Ranch was once part of an extensive cattle ranch and farming operation. Dating back to 1886 when Wilson Wesley Dobson emigrated to Arizona from Canada, it remained in the Dobson family for many generations. As many as 20,000 head of cattle once roamed the land that is now Baseline Road. The Salt River Project water rights that allow the Ranch's lakes to be filled today can be traced back to the same ones that were originally claimed by these early pioneers.
By the early 1970s, growth in Maricopa County had begun to spread eastward with the steady advance of a modern freeway system. Land that had been cultivated for many years to raise cotton, citrus and cattle, the icons of Arizona's agricultural heritage, was rapidly being converted to homes, stores and businesses. As suburban Mesa's census climbed at an unprecedented rate, the city searched for additional recreational and residential opportunities for its booming population.
To address that need, the original Dobson family homestead near the intersection of Dobson and Baseline Roads and several acres that bordered it were purchased by the City of Mesa as the site for a championship 18-hole municipal golf course. The elegant Dobson family home, which was built in the 1950s, is now occupied by the popular Ranch House restaurant. The home's large adjacent garage was remodeled and, for many years, served as the golf course's first pro shop and clubhouse.
About the same time, another 2,000 acres of Dobson family property that surround the golf course were bought by Continental Homes of Phoenix. This land was to become a master-planned community to provide housing for thousands of Mesa's new residents. It spanned most of the area within the boundaries of Guadalupe Road to the south, Price Road (now Loop 101) on the west, State Highway 360 (now US Highway 60, the Superstition Freeway) to the north and Extension Road on the east.
The necessary building permits were obtained, the governing documents were drawn up and duly recorded and thus in April 1973, the residential community of Dobson Ranch was born.