Friday, 11 October 2013

Ranches and Movie Stars

Our last ranger guided tour at Pecos NHP was with Ranger Patricia to Forked Lightening Ranch.
Our tour started at Kozlowski’s Trading Post, the last  major stop on the Santa Fe trail before arriving in Santa Fe itself.
Travellers arriving here after days of jolting along the trail must’ve felt like they’d died and gone to heaven as the trading post boasted comfy feather beds. Mrs Kozlowski was likely to feed you a dinner of fresh trout from the Pecos river about a ½ mile away as well as her famous piñon pudding filled with a liqueur and brought flaming to the table. 

Across the road from the trading post the ground is filled with the remains of wagon ruts from the famous trail.   I don’t know why but I always thought that the Santa Fe trail would just be a line of single wagon ruts, but in actual fact there are ruts everywhere and it was probably like I25.   Once the Aitchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad arrived in Santa Fe the trail was practically abandoned overnight. 

The trading post was part of the Forked Lightening Ranch which was home to Greer Garson and Buddy Fogelson. 

The ranch entrance

Forked Lightening ranch was originally built by Tex Austin the father of modern day rodeo, he took his rodeos all over the world, including London, but he had no luck with money.   Buddy Fogelson an oil baron bought the ranch.   He saw Greer Garson in the film ‘Mrs Miniver’, asked Hollywood friends to introduce them and the rest, as they say is history. 

The deep salmon of the buildings and the blue of the window frames of the ranch were specially formulated to closely match the colours of the sandstone of the surrounding mesas and the deep blue of New Mexico skies. 

At the front of the ranch a deep portales (verandah) has amazing views over the confluence of the Pecos river and Glorieta creek.   Two flagpoles at the front of the house flew the British and American flags when Greer Garson lived here.

Our tour took us through the house, which is slowly being restored to look as it did when Greer Garson was in residence.    

One of the bedrooms.

All the rooms lead from one to another and all open onto a central courtyard.

It’s a beautiful house, just the sort of place you could imagine living in. 

Buddy Fogelson liked to hunt Greer Garson didn’t so they comprised by ‘skeet’ (clay pigeon) shooting.   The view from the range has amazing views across the ranch lands to the Rocky Mountains

and across to the ‘convento’ in the park.

On Greer Garson's death the ranch house and part of its lands were left to the Pecos NHP.

Have fun, we are!

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