The original tract of land that was named Santo Tomas was purchased by the Crewse-Reyna family in 1960. This tract, which consisted on 1500 hectares (approximately 3600 acres), was available for purchase from the federal government by the Crewse-Reyna family by virtue of a land grant that was given to Francisco Reyna Sotelo, patriarch of the Reyna clan who had participated successfully in the Mexican Revolution in the early part of the 20th century. These land rights were transferred to his daughter, Paulina Reyna Crewse and her husband, Otho (Bob) Crewse, and exercised by them in 1960 to acquire the parcel described above.
During the 1960’s, Bob Crewse began to develop the land as a cattle ranch until his death in 1969. By 1971, Paulina had divested herself of the cattle and started the initial toursit development of the site which today bears the name Las Dunas. A restaurant, grocery store and a few rental cabins were the key amenities in this small “resort” which primarily served customers from Caborca and the surrounding region. After several marginal years of operation, Santo Tomas as a business went dormant in 1980. Although it didn’t take off as a successful enterprise during this period, it did develop a bit of a following and a reputation because of its natural beauty and seclusion.
Over the next 16 years, development of the site remained at a standstill, although plans were in the works to develop it to its true potential. In 1996, Paulina and Bob’s children, together with a few other partners, began the efforts that today are starting to bear fruit as Las Dunas de Santo Tomas and Santo Tomas in general. This group formed a Mexican landholding corporation which today holds fee simple title to the property with no liens or encumbrances.