Walking Box Ranch Site Tours

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This page last updated on 04/28/2017
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MAP-Wallking Box Ranch2
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04/27/2017 Trip Notes:  Today's visit was for another special tour inside the property and its main residence provided by the BLM that was set up by Sharon Haugen. Jim Herring, Bob Croke, Blake Smith and I joined approximately 12 others for a tour of the property. After meeting at the barn and the Ice house (Figs. 03, 04 & 05) we walked to the new visitor center, the old converted bunk house (Fig. 06). After a lecture and slide show on the history of Clara Bow, Rex Bell, and the building of the ranch, we then were given a guided tour of the ranch house and the property. Other than a lot of cosmetic work, painting, windows, floors, etc. one of the largest changes was that they filled in the pool with cement and placed a top on it that looked like water (Fig. 07). There was also evidence that many of the special fixtures had been sent out to be cleaned and restored (Fig. 08). Overall, a general lack of funds is still limiting the progress and finishing of the renovations. Even though it was decided to open it to tours, the renovations are nowhere complete, and clearly not ready for opening to the general public. Unfortunately, most of the furnishings and many other items are still being held in storage. For more pictures of the ranch, also check out ... Walking Box Ranch/Road - Summary Page

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06/30/2015 Trip Notes:  Today's visit was for a special tour inside the property and its main residence provided by the BLM that was set up by the Henderson Heritage Parks' Senior Facility rock-hound trip organizer, Linda Groft. Having found something online last year concerning possible tours of the property, Linda has been working for nearly a year trying to get this tour set up. I think I can speak for everyone when I say, "that it was a great tour that lasted for nearly three hours." It began with a lecture and slideshow inside the old bunkhouse/new caretakers cottage, provided by Glen Marsh, BLM Project Manager of the Red Rock/Sloan Field Office. While providing some history on Clara Bow, Glen noted that an ankle bracelet and Cartier watch belonging to her had recently been appraised on an episode of the PBS Antiques Roadshow. Click the link to view the appraisal ... []. From there we toured various buildings and points of interest around the property, until we reached the main ranch house. About the only thing that was a little disappointing, was that all the furnishings inside the ranch house had been removed and placed into storage due to the upcoming restoration and renovation plans.
WBR - Barn
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After the lecture and slide show on Clara Bow, Rex Bell, and the history of the ranch, we headed outdoors for a tour of the property. The first stop was at the barn (Fig. 03) #01 & #02), and the “ice” house (#04). It was noted that some of the walls of the barn were made from old railroad ties (#03) from a defunct railroad that ran through the valley.
WBR - Corel
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Next we walked around and through the large coral and holding pens (Fig. 04) that were adjacent to the barn. As you can see from (Fig. 02), the coral encompassed a rather large portion of the property. During the height of their cattle operation the Bell’s had more than 1,600 head of cattle. One of the pens had a long chute where cattle could be led into what is known as a cattle squeeze and dehorning gate (#03 & #04). This was probably used to prepare the cattle for the cattle run down to Nipton, where they would be put on the train for shipment to California for slaughter. This could also have been used for branding. Note the large water storage tank (#02). At the time this was actually shipped to the property in sections and assembled on the site.
WBR - Misc
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The collage in (Fig. 05) is a collection of miscellaneous shots taken during my walk around the property. The pictures (#01, #02 & #08) show our group walking around the property in the 105-degree heat. Up near the ranch house I spotted some quail (#03 & #04) and a cottontail rabbit (#05). The view in (#07) is looking out the main gate to the north.
We ended our morning by heading to the rear of the property for a tour of the main house, a 5,000 square-foot, two-story Spanish Colonial Revival ranch house nestled among a grouping of Joshua Trees (Fig. 06). When looking at the tree lined driveway leading to three-car garage (Fig. 07), it becomes evident that they were "replanted" to line the drive. These trees would have been replanted here about 85 years ago when the house was built.

The collage in (Fig. 08) is a collection of pictures from some of the home’s interior rooms. Pictures (#01, #02 & #03) are of the large great room with its beamed ceiling and huge fireplace. Pictures (#04, #05 & #06) are of the homes three bathrooms. (#04 & #05) are of the master bedrooms off-suite bathroom. All of the house's three bathrooms were very well done considering the home was built in the early 30’s. Each bathroom shower had three shower jets (#08). Opposite the master bathroom was a built-in vanity (#07). A recreation room had a built in bar (#09). I can’t wait to get another tour after the renovations and restoration (est. the end of 2016) when all of the homes furnishings, rugs and fixtures have been put back in place. For more pictures of the ranch, also check out ...
EFP-Walking Box Ranch
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WBR - Interior Rooms
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WBR - Fixtures
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The collage above (Fig. 09), is a sampling of the home's many custom made finishes, such as lights, sconces, door fixtures, etc. Unfortunately, some of these items had already been removed and placed into storage in preparation for the upcoming restoration work. Our guide pointed out the fact that the glass doorknobs that had been exposed to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight, turned from clear to purple. Even though I failed to get a picture of these, my friend Mary Chaplar sent me a couple that she had taken that show this effect (Fig. 10). Starting in the 1860s, glass manufacturers started adding manganese to help make glass more 'clear'.  Mostly due to the need for manganese during WW I, glass manufacturers stopped using manganese by 1915 and replaced it with selenium. Both elements improve glass clarity.

WBR Doorknobs
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The final group of pictures in the collage below (Fig. 11) are of the ranch's enclosed backyard. Two wings of the house embrace a large Joshua Tree and small desert garden surrounded by a large, shaded, wrap-around porch (#01). From this shaded veranda one can view miles of open desert. Period photos indicate that Clara had a rock garden here at one time. There is a large swimming pool (#02 & #03), with an enclosed shaded area at the shallow end (not shown). Also off the pool, next to the enclosed shaded area is an area for cooking with a large bar-b-que grill (#04). The grill has been removed for renovations. Another one of the ranch house’s most distinctive features is its stone chimney, topped with jagged pieces mimicking flames (Fig. 12).
WBR - Pool
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After the tour we all climbed back into our air conditioned ban and headed into searchlight for lunch at the Searchlight Nugget Casino (Fig. 13 & 14), where we all thanked Linda for putting everything together and commented about how much we enjoyed the tour and how informative it had been. Everyone would love to return after the renovations and restorations to see the final product.
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