Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge. Out in desert, the enterprising tourist could find himself staying at the guest ranch, a resort that catered to would-be adventures seeking out the “Western” atmosphere that they often associated with the wide-open spaces of Arizona. In 1938, the Squaw Peak Inn began to operate as one of these guest ranches.
From the first few years of its existence, the Squaw Peak was exactly what its guests were looking for, with owner Al Stopton saying that “[they] had paying guests and horses—it was a dude ranch on a small basis”. At the time, only one gravel path connected the Inn to civilization and it lacked both phones and electricity for the first three business years, giving the Squaw Peak an isolated, exotic atmosphere. The daily agenda was designed with the amateur cowboy in mind, including horseback riding, wilderness camping, and even a trip to a nearby river to pan for gold. Even the John Wayne, the Duke himself, visited the Squaw Peak on one memorable occasion.
However, by 1949, the Squaw Peak had transitioned away from this Western atmosphere. The owners were advertising it as more of a resort than a ranch, hosting numerous social events throughout the year. Over the next several years, various owners stuck to that outlook, hosting events as Phoenix slowly expanded past the Inn, depriving it of that isolation that had both literally and figuratively set it apart form the city.
Today, the Squaw Peak Inn serves as the private residence for the current owners, Bill and Ann Eipley, as well as their daughter and son-in-law. While primarily a residence, the Inn still hosts some events, such as the wedding reception of the daughter.