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Church Window Gallery

Bellota Ranch Chapel Altar Window

Bellota Ranch has been a working cattle ranch since 1890, many years before Arizona became a state in 1912 and offers a glimpse into the rough and ready days in our American frontier history of round-ups, cattle drives, shoot outs, buckboards and chuck wagons. Ranches were the center of life for the owners, cowhands, ranch hands and household help.

It was the era before faster modes of transportation when everyone attended church in the on-site consecrated chapel located in a separate building on the ranch. A priest or minister had a pre-set route he travelled on horseback or mule, arriving at each ranch every few weeks or months, depending on the size his parish. He was provided for by the ranch owners in exchange for celebrating mass, hearing confessions, passing on news of other ranches and the territory, and in general offering a spiritual presence to all those on the ranch.

Bellota Ranch was at one time a guest ranch with its chapel available for wedding ceremonies. In July 2000, I was commissioned to design and make the altar window for this historic site. The cross creates a focal point for the window, with the background depicting the surrounding hills and mountains showing indigenous desert foliage and beautiful garden flowers. The two bottom windows open safely without damaging the artwork.