As a photographer, I’ve definitely been guilty of trespassing. Sometimes it’s simply too hard to resist when the perfect location catches your eye. Once, I was even kicked out of a location by the cops. Luckily they were pretty nice about it, but since then I’ve made it a point to ask permission whenever I can.
When I first noticed the Buckhorn Baths in Mesa, it was easy to see it’d be a one of a kind location for photo shoots. So I knocked on the door of one of the small houses in the back, and luckily enough, the owner of the property answered.
After talking to Jerri, she graciously gave me permission to take photos on their property as long as I called to give them a heads up first.
The reason being, Jerri and Ted are in the process of selling Buckhorn Baths to the city. Unfortunately it hasn’t been in business for awhile now due to the amount of upkeep this historic Arizona landmark requires. We’re all hoping the city decides to preserve it, but it’s difficult to say at this point because it’d be quite an expensive project to undergo.
As a thanks to Jerri and Ted (or as they call each other, Scooter and Teddy) I did a portrait session with them at their beloved Buckhorn Baths. Jerri and Ted are newly married, though they’ve known each other their whole lives.
Ted grew up at the Buckhorn Baths where his parents built the property from the ground up. At the time, it was a thriving and popular bathhouse where many celebrities and professional athletes stayed. Some of the most well known athletes who stayed at Buckhorn Baths include Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Gaylord Perry.
A film called Forget About It, starring Andy Garcia and Burt Reynolds was filmed there but unfortunately never released. And a few years back, a BMW commercial was shot there.
Even an old school outlaw nicknamed Black Bart was found hiding out at the Baths when it was up and running.
I had a wonderful time getting to know Jerri and Ted and chatting with them about this amazing property. I even got to take an inside look at the wildlife museum. It’s without a doubt one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited. I love the Wild West feel of Buckhorn Baths. I’ve never seen anything like it and am beyond grateful for the opportunity to spend time at this location before the city determines it’s fate.
To make a donation to the Mesa Historic Preservation Commission here.