What’s up guys? Yesterday I visited Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu! Abiquiu is about 50 miles as the crow flies and is visible from Taos on clear days (which most of them are!) so we always look out to it and wonder what it’s like. Just north of Abiquiu is Ghost Ranch, a small place with a big history.
It all starts with the Archuleta brothers. The Archuleta brothers were cattle rustlers, meaning that they went around to people’s properties and stole their cattle at night. The brothers made two little houses on what is now Ghost Ranch, secluded from the rest of the community, and hid the cattle in Box Canyon.
One of the brothers made a deal and got a bunch gold. He hid it for safety purposes and to keep his brother from finding out about his stash.
But the other brother eventually found out about the gold and demanded the location of it. The brother who hid the gold refused to reveal its location. The other brother felt he had a no choice but to kill his sibling, so he did. He also held his brother’s wife and daughter hostage until they told him the location of the gold. They finally told him it where it was hidden, but that night they snuck away through the Chama Valley. The next day, a group of local man came and hung the remaining Archuleta brother by a cottonwood tree just outside his casita.
After the whole Archuleta a debacle, the 21,000 acre ranch was transferred and the deed to the ranch was won in a poker game by Roy Pfaffle. He didn’t keep it long, because his wife, Carol Stanley, signed the deed in her name and divorced Roy Pfaffle the very next day.
Carol Stanley made the ranch into a camping/getaway place and many of her friends came to live there in the 1930s. One of them was Arthur Pack, who was a writer and editor of Nature Magazine. He and his family loved the area and enjoyed spending time there. Even though Stanley was having many rich and wealthy people staying at Ghost Ranch, she was slowly losing money and couldn’t keep the ranch in good shape. She was struggling so much that she decided to sell it to Arthur Pack and his family.
Georgia O’Keeffe (an artist from Sun Prarie, Wisconsin), who heard about Arthur Pack’s statement that Ghost Ranch area was “the best place on earth,” decided to go to Ghost Ranch and experience it herself. She had been going to Santa Fe for a few years and then met Mabel Dodge Luhan who told her she had to come up to Taos. Mabel gave Georgia a place to stay and a studio in Taos where she could do her art. Georgia fell in love with the scenery and geography around there and began spending more and more time in Ghost Ranch while going back to her home in New York occassionally. At Ghost Ranch, she eventually built a home for herself in the 1930s and ultimately spent all of her time there. There are a lot of paintings of hers that include landmarks from Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu.
Arthur Pack knew lots of wealthy people back in New York and over time hosted some of the countries wealthiest people at the ranch. Though, as time went by he became unable to maintain the ranch and he considered selling the ranch to a larger association. He spoke to the YMCA, The Boy Scouts of America, The United Brethren Church, and many other groups, but none of them were in the position to buy the ranch because the costs to maintain it were simply too large.
Finally, Arthur pack offered the ranch to the Presbyterian Church. They accepted it and turned it into an educational facility. Now it is an educational and retreat center. It is open to the public so anyone can go visit. It really is beautiful and when I was doing the research for this blog, I learned that more than 20 movies have been filmed there. Do any of you remember a movie called City Slickers? I think I am going to have to rent it one day.
There are a lot of things to do at Ghost Ranch, including a hike. Mom and I decided to go and see the view from a higher point, so we took the hike trail up a hill. Here are some pictures:
Here is a picture of dad and me in front of the welcome center in Ghost Ranch:
Here’s some ‘cartography’:
There’s no doubt about it, Ghost Ranch is awesome!!!