Cowtown Keeylocko, AZ - population 5, most of the time
July 31, 2014 8:28 PM   Subscribe

"The difficult ... you're supposed to do right away. The impossible ... that'll take you a few days longer." Building your own town out near Tuscon, Arizona probably falls in the category of "the impossible," but Ed Keeylocko did that, a pickup truck of materials at a time. This is the story of Cowtown Keeylocko, built by an African-American with red hair and swamp green eyes, who was abandoned by his mother, a self-proclaimed minority of minorities. He served in Korea and Vietnam, and he returned to the US, where he took up ranching in Arizona. In December of 1974, he founded Cowtown Keeylocko, a western ranch that is "an odd mixture of the real and the fanciful." The ranch/town expanded by 1989 to have a mayor, citizens, its own zip code, fourty-six head of cattle, three ranch hands, 10,800 acres of land, and five buildings (Google books preview). The March/April 1996 issue of American Cowboy has a short article on Ed Keeylocko and his cowtown, and here's a more recent (but still dated) website on the mayor and trail boss of Cowtown Keeylocko, with stories from visitors and photos from a roundup.
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
There's a Facebook page for the ranch/town, and a short news piece-type video.

If you'd like to watch something longer, here's someone's video of driving from Tuscon to Cowtown Keeylocko, or jump to the arrival to town at about 20 minutes into the video. There are a few more videos of Ed and his town on YouTube, but I'll let y'all virtually explore.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought Calgary was Cowtown.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2014

I've passed there many times driving through the desert, but never knew what was there aside from the sign. There's all sorts of little village areas out that way on the Tohono O'odham Nation so I just figured it would be one of those.

(Pet peeve - it's Tucson, not Tuscon.)
posted by azpenguin at 9:32 AM on August 1, 2014

Ack, sorry about the Tucson typo (I almost did it again!)

Fun fact: Tuscon gets by spellcheck filters on Firefox, possibly because TusCon, the Tucson sci-fi convention, which has been running since 1974.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:25 PM on August 1, 2014

Wow. That's real, unfiltered Americana there.
posted by happyroach at 2:55 AM on August 2, 2014

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