The Forked Lightning Ranch

DSC05439

She was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress 7 times.  She won once.  She is not Meryl Streep, who holds the record for nominations.   Meryl Streep’s first Academy acting nomination was in 1979 for The Deer Hunter.  She was 30-years-old.  The other woman was nominated as Best Actress for the first time at the age of 35, and she virtually retired from film-making after her last nomination in 1960.  She married for the 3rd time in 1949 and this one lasted.  She and her husband spent much of their time at the Forked Lightning Ranch in New Mexico. He died in 1987.  She lived to be 91.   Her name was Greer Garson.

Greer and Buddy Fogelson became actively involved in the Pecos National Historical Park that was near their ranch.  Ruth and I visited it in 2015 and really liked both the visitors center and the park.  Near the end of our visit, we learned that we could see the Forked Lightning Ranch.  Tours of it were given once a week on Wednesdays.  We returned in 2016.   According to our tour guide Tom, the Fogelsons donated half the money to build a new visitors’ center.

The Forked Lightning was a ranch long before Greer and Buddy got involved in it.  A man from St. Louis named Clarence Van Nostrand bought 5,500 acres of the old Pecos Land Grant in 1925 and created Forked Lightning.   By that time he had renamed himself Tex Austin and was lying about his roots while producing rodeos.   The Forked Lightning became a working cattle and dude ranch that attracted visitors who wanted to spend some time riding horses on their vacation.   The last guest left in 1933 and Tex was in debt.  He committed suicide 5 years later.

Buddy Fogelson, a successful Dallas oilman and rancher, bought Forked Lightning in 1941 and expanded it to 13,000 acres.   Greer, who was originally from Scotland, took to ranch life and tried to raise white Shorthorns from her native country.  This was not successful.  After Buddy died, Greer moved to a penthouse in a hospital in Dallas. Shortly before she died, she did a flyover of the ranch she loved.   She eventually sold the Forked Lightning to The Conservation Fund, which donated it to the National Park Service.

Greer supervised the constriction of the Visitors Center, and it remains well maintained, the ranch house not so much.  Tour takers mostly have to imagine what it was like when J. Edgar Hoover and Charles Lindbergh visited. Greer had a colorful bedroom and full bath suitable for a star, but Buddy’s bathroom was in a closet.  Greer loved pink and poodles.  Her living room should have been preserved but wasn’t.   Tour participants must fantasize to envision what it was like when a movie star entertained friends.  Greer’s dining room is now a library and conference room.   Only one of the 9 guest bedrooms has been furnished as it would have appeared when you were Greer and Buddy’s guest.  Nature is reclaiming the skeet shooting range.

DSC05437

 

DSC05449

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hank

Advertisements

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

Comments are disabled.

%d bloggers like this: