In 1916, rancher Charles “Charley” DeBaud Sr., bought land in Sabino Canyon, and started El Sabino Ranch.

The ranch changed hands a few times before being purchased in 1957 by Wes and Helen Miller and their son John Wesley Miller under the business name Hidden Valley Investment Co. Inc. From 1958 to 1972, the Miller family developed the Hidden Valley Estates subdivision and in 1973, the Rockcliff Estates subdivision, and named the following streets:

Hidden Valley Road: Named for the subdivision. Wes Miller came up with the name Hidden Valley Estates because the area was between a large hill to the south and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, making it a hidden valley.

Rockcliff Road: From Rockcliff Estates, named because the road is built onto the side of a large rocky hill.

Rockgate Road: Named for the gate to the old El Sabino Ranch. It had two rock columns about five feet tall and about two feet wide, with the El Sabino Ranch brand (the letter “S”) on at least one of the columns. Most of the gate still exists at the corner of Hummingbird Lane and Rockgate Road.

Rawhide Trail: One of several streets named as part of the subdivision’s western theme, since it was built on a former ranch. This one gets its name from the TV Western series “Rawhide,” which featured Clint Eastwood and ran in the late 1950s through the mid-1960s.

Surrey Trail: Named after the “popular American doorless, four-wheeled carriage of the late 19th and early 20th centuries ... for four passengers.” Surreys were made popular in Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical “Oklahoma!”

Siesta Drive: Named for Wes Miller’s ability to take a short nap anywhere, at any time. The Spanish word was used instead of “nap” because it gave it more of a Southwestern feel, and to connect with the Mexican culture.

Buffalo Run: The Miller family came from Missouri, where the buffalos used to run freely across the plains.

Buckskin Way: This hair color for horses is similar to certain shades of tanned deerskin. A horse is called buckskin if it is this color and has black points on its legs, tail and mane.

Big Horn Trail: Named for the bighorn sheep in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Cheyenne Trail: Named for anything Western with the name Cheyenne in it, from the Cheyenne Indians, to the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, to George Strait’s song, “I Can Still Make Cheyenne.”

Amethyst Lane: Helen Miller named this street after the semi-precious stone which is February’s birthstone. The Miller family came from a mining town in Missouri, which is why she named some streets after minerals and stones.

Bauxite Way: Named for a mineral used as the principal source for aluminum.

Moonstone Drive: Named by Helen in honor of her mother’s wedding ring. Moonstone is Florida’s official gemstone.

Tourmaline Drive and Place: Named for a gemstone that comes in a variety of colors.

Sandstone Drive: Named for a sedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz grains cemented together, typically red, yellow, or brown in color. It is used as a building material.

Quartz Hill Drive : Named for the mineral and for the fact that the street is on a hill.

Bornite Way: A nod to a copper ore mineral named after Austrian mineralogist Ignaz von Born.

Santana Place: When John Wesley Miller was in the San Diego area, he heard about the strong Santana winds (also called the Santa Ana) winds), which — to Miller — meant strong energy. When he was building his home on a large hill in the Rockcliff Estates, he felt there was strong energy on the hill, so he named the street to honor it.

Hummingbird Lane: When the Miller family was walking around the land they had just purchased, they saw lots of hummingbirds, so Helen later named this street for the tiny birds they had seen.

Solar Place: Derives its name from the fact that it was the center street into the Solar Village — the site of the 1981 Solar Parade of Homes, (John W. Miller was chairman) which had seven different builders who built homes with some aspect of solar power on them.

Wes Place: this small street near North Bear Canyon Road and East Snyder Road is named in honor of Wes Miller.


Special thanks to Mary Ellen Barnes, author of “The Road to Mount Lemmon.”

Interview with developer John Wesley Miller on Sept. 19, 2013

Charles DeBaud, “Seventy-One Years Of Experience Of My Life.” (Biofile, AHS)

Pima County plat maps for Hidden Valley Estates and Rockcliff Estates (John W. Miller archives)

“El Sabino Ranch Sold for $150,000,” Arizona Daily Star, March 8, 1953

“Sabino Ranch Sold For $500,000,” Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 10, 1958

Orlando Sentinel newspaper article on moonstone:

Surrey definition:

Robert L. Bates, “Dictionary of Geological Terms,” Anchor Pub., 1984