Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge: the guest ranch. This type of resort catered to would-be adventurers seeking out the "Western" atmosphere often associated with the wide-open spaces of Arizona.
In 1938, the Squaw Peak Inn began to operate as one of these guest ranches, and it was exactly what its guests were looking for in the first few years of its existence. Owner Al Stopton said, "[they] had paying guests and horses—it was a dude ranch on a small basis." At the time, only one gravel path connected the Inn to civilization. It lacked phones and electricity for the first three business years, giving the Squaw Peak an isolated, exotic atmosphere. The daily agenda was designed with the amateur cowboy in mind, including horseback riding, wilderness camping, and even a trip to a nearby river to pan for gold. Even John Wayne, the Duke himself, visited the Squaw Peak on one memorable occasion.
However, by 1949, the Squaw Peak had transitioned away from its Western atmosphere. The owners advertised it as more of a resort than a ranch, hosting numerous social events throughout the year. For several years different owners continued in that vein, hosting social events as the city of Phoenix slowly grew past the Inn. The creeping sprawl of urbanism deprived the Squaw Peak Inn of its initial isolation - the factor that once literally and figuratively set it apart.
Today, the Squaw Peak Inn serves as the private residence for the current owners, Bill and Ann Eipley, along with their daughter and son-in-law. While the Inn's primary function is a home, it still hosts the occasional social event - including the owners' daughter's wedding reception.