Our next outing was to Spring Mountain Ranch.
It is a historic ranch in the Cottonwood Valley.
It began in 1876 when James Wilson homesteaded the location with George Anderson. Anderson later left leaving behind his sons who were adopted by Wilson. Wilson died in 1906 and the ranch was inherited by the adopted sons. After falling into financial difficulties after World War 1, the Wilsons were forced to mortgage the ranch for $13,523.
In 1929, William George, a successful California furrier, rescued his boyhood friend and paid off this mortgage. Mr. George placed a covenant on the land which allowed Jim Jr. and Tweed to remain on the property for the reminder of their lives. Mr. George built a small home for his family, a chinchilla shed, a foreman’s house and enlarged the orchard. He lived at the ranch for two years, however, his business kept him away from the ranch most of the time.
In 1948 Mr. George sold the ranch to Chester Lauck. Checster Lauck, with his boyhood friend Norris Goff, created the radio characters of Lum and Abner whose radio show ran five nights a week until 1954.
In 1955, the Laucks sold the ranch to German actress Vera Krupp. She was very wealthy most likely due to her 4 marriages to rich men. The docent in the house said that she lived a very lavish life. A famous story from this period involved the theft of the Krupp Diamond. On April 10, 1959, as Vera and ranch employee Harold Brotherson ate dinner, three men forced their way into the main house, stole the 33.6 carat blue-white diamond and fled. It was recovered six weeks later in New Jersey.
Mrs. Krupp lived at the ranch until 1964, when she moved to Bel Air due to poor health. In 1967 she sold the ranch to Howard Hughes for a reputed $625,000. At this time, Hughes was living in the Desert Sands Hotel which he acquired shortly before buying the ranch.
Spring Mountain Ranch, as far as it is known, never hosted Hughes himself. It was mainly used by Hughes’ employees. The 528-acre property sold in 1972 to business partners Fletcher Jones and William Murphy for $1.5 million.
They wanted to build a large equestrian-oriented residential neighborhood that would support up to 2,000 people. A public outcry encouraged the Clark County Planning Commission to stall their application for rezoning. When stiff opposition to the plans formed, Jones announced his intention to auction the property.
The end result was Spring Mountain Ranch becoming a state park in 1973.
Each owner made improvements to the house, outbuildings and land but the exquisite location under those rugged cliffs could never be improved upon. What a beautiful place.
Very grateful to Frosty and Ginger for taking us to this hidden gem.
As we left Spring Mountain Ranch we came upon some wild burros. They are always a highlight for Walt and me. Not sure why we like them but we do.
Then it was on to Bonnie Springs Ranch for some exploring and lunch.
Bonnie Springs Ranch is a mini western themed amusement park.
Looks like most folks have to pay to get in.
We had a great lunch of things like chili and hamburgers.
Fun rustic western decor.
After lunch we strolled around the property. The facility includes horseback riding, a zoo, the "Old Nevada" western town, a miniature train, a 46-room motel, and the restaurant.
Peacocks freely roam the property.
This guy put on quite a show for us. The females were quite a ways away so it must have been for us. Right?
Aren't peacock feathers beauty perfection?
It's quite a pretty place, in a funky, ramshackle kind of way.
Another great day in our Las Vegas adventure. Thanks Ginger and Frosty for showing us "what's just down the road apiece from Las Vegas."