Thanks to Kristal MacDough’s article last month, we were contacted by Joan Chorost (formerly Joan Evans) who wanted to share some of her stories and those of her neighbors about SaddleBrooke’s early days.

Joan and John Evans made a $3,000 deposit on their SaddleBrooke home in February 1986 and moved in January 1987. Theirs was the third home to be built. Bette Clarkson and her husband and Bette’s brother-in-law Bob Clarkson preceded them.

The Evans’ were living and working in Tucson at the time and had no thought of a retirement home until they visited friends in Florida and saw some of the active adult communities there. After returning to Tucson, they saw an article in the now defunct Citizen newspaper about the planned community at SaddleBrooke. On their initial visit they drove right past SaddleBrooke; SaddleBrooke Blvd. did not even exist. They eventually noticed a small sign on Oracle they followed to Lago del Oro and finally into SaddleBrooke. All the roads in SaddleBrooke at that time were dirt roads.

Mickey and Pauline Guarino were living in Las Vegas before moving to SaddleBrooke.  They learned about SaddleBrooke at an event held in a Tucson hotel and drove up to take a look at models. The model they looked at was the home of John and Joan Evans. They were hooked once they saw our beautiful mountain views and purchased the eighth home in SaddleBrooke in 1988.

Mickey Guarino along with Bob Clarkson (SaddleBrooke’s first homeowner) were the first security guards in SaddleBrooke and they drove the pickup trucks the landscapers used during the day to make their rounds. The trucks were so dirty by that time of day that Mickey often took them to the car wash on his own.

Another early resident, Donna Mathews, believes her home was probably the 23rd in SaddleBrooke. Like the Evans’s, Donna and her late husband were working when they bought their home in 1987. They also started looking at homes in Sun City but like most of us they were smitten by the outstanding natural beauty of SaddleBrooke.

June and Bill Hill were very active early residents. June started the Saddlebag Notes in 1988, the Lady Niners and a Christian Women’s group. Bill was the one who came up with the idea of, and paid for, stocking the golf course pond with fish. Joan Chorost’s first husband, John Evans, paid for the printing of the Saddlebag Notes for about a year.

Once the SaddleBrookeOne Clubhouse was built in place of the trailer, Bette Clarkson became the office manager and Pauline Guarino, the official hostess.

Initially, the sales office was a trailer parked in what later became the Minit Market. Once the Activity Center was built it became the new sales office.

Amenities

In those early years, there was not much to do and the “clubhouse” was a trailer that served as the pro shop, the post office, the card room and everything else. But the early residents made the best of it holding potluck get-togethers and meeting for games. They picked up their mail at the trailer since no one had mailboxes. The 9-hole golf course was free and residents used their car headlights so they could play at night. Association fees back then were $300! Ah, the good old days!

The first pool was built in 1988 and Pauline Guarino has the photo to prove she was the very first resident in the pool. This was only because her daughter pushed her into the pool when she saw another resident approaching. Belated congratulations to Pauline on that achievement.

When the SaddleBrookeOne Clubhouse opened in 1989 it had no kitchen so residents continued their long tradition of potluck get-togethers. The very first Christmas Party in the clubhouse was catered by Robson as a gift to the community. When a kitchen was finally installed the Café North (now the Roadrunner Grill) was opened.

Shopping

Back then they shopped for groceries at the Fry’s on Oracle near McGee. It didn’t take very long to get to there since there were very few stoplights or traffic.

Today

To say that SaddleBrooke has grown a lot since 1987 is an understatement. Even with almost 5,000 homes, several beautiful clubhouses, golf courses, pools, a theater and every type of club and activity you can imagine, SaddleBrooke has retained its sense of community and we can thank some of our early residents for that.