A Bit of History





Arcularius’ on the River, historically was part of the Arcularius Ranch which was started by my grandfather, Frank H. Arcularius.  He bought the properties in 1919 from William Symons and operated them as a sheep and cattle ranch.  The ranch consisted of 1640 acres and was divided into two parcels, the Upper Ranch, which is the location of the existing Arcularius Ranch Resort and the Lower Ranch or Cow Camp as it was affectionately called.


During the 1920’s the popularity of fishing was growing. My grandfather owned a grocery store, the City Market, in Bishop and he offered fishing and camping privileges at the Long Valley ranch to customers that bought over $2.00 worth of groceries. His idea was a great success and it was later in the mid 1920’s that my grandfather leased out the Long Valley property to his brother-in-law, Bill Garner, to start a  fishing resort.  Bill Garner built a store as well as some cabins to provide accommodations for fishermen.  When his lease ran out, my grandfather’s family took over both properties and established the Arcularius Ranch as a fishing resort.


In the early 1930’s, after many legal battles, the City of Los Angles constructed the tunnel under Bald Mountain to export the water from the Mono Lake Basin into the Owens River. This resulted in the water gathered through the newly constructed tunnel   entering the historic Owens River channel on the Arcularius Ranch and the Upper Owens River was created as we know it today.


The Cow Camp was managed for both fishing and as a cattle ranch.  This remained the case until 1981 when there was a change in the family ownership of the Upper and Lower Ranch and my father, Frank G. Arcularius acquired full ownership of the Lower Ranch, the Cow Camp, along with a family owned cattle ranch in Round Valley, north of Bishop.  My father then no longer had any ownership in the Upper Ranch, Arcularius Ranch.


My father was born and raised in the Owens Valley and spent his summers and falls fishing the Upper Owens River.  He became a superb fly fisherman excelling in both wet and dry fly fishing.   His fishing expertise became well-known and he earned the respect of the guests at Arcularius Ranch as well as anyone that witnessed his unique talents.   He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Pacific Theater in WW II.  After his discharge from the army he ran one of his family’s cattle ranches in Central Nevada.  It was there that he was privileged to be able to pursue his love of ranching and was a well-respected and admired cattleman and horseman.  The Nevada ranch was sold in 1978 and my father began his much earned retirement. In the early 1980’s, he built his dream log cabin at the Cow Camp.  He returned to the river that held so many wonderful memories of his childhood and early adulthood and it provided him with the opportunity to enjoy the two things he loved most, fly fishing and cattle ranching.   My father, Frank G. Arcularius passed away in 2001 at the age of 86.  His grandchildren each cast one of his favorite flies with his fly rod into the Owens River in his memory and he was buried with that fly and his cowboy hat, two of the possessions that represented so much of the person that he was.  The Cow Camp continues today to be operated as a cattle ranch by myself and my family.  Over the years, the log cabin that my Dad built has been enjoyed by family members, friends and guests who have been able to experience the special place that it is.  After many requests to open it to the public, my family has decided to do that in the hopes that others can have an opportunity to be a part of a long family history on the Owens River.  We only ask that you treat it with the same respect and reverence that my father taught his family to do.


Enjoy this special place we call home and may it provide as many wonderful memories for you as it has for myself and my family, past and present.


Howard C. Arcularius



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