Friday, August 08, 2008

Ash Grove trail at Spring Mountain Ranch

Out past the scenic loop drive in Red Rock Canyon, is Spring Mountain (Ranch), originating with the Paiutes through the Spanish Trail, Mormon Fort, Howard Hughes and now a state park. I wish I could say that I knew about this place, a mere 15 minutes from my home, before this week, however, my Vegas knowledge can be quite limited.
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Drive to Spring Mountain Ranch

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Ranch at dusk

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A park ranger led the moonlight hike along Ash Grove Trail. We could hear the burros settling in (eventually we saw them), bats flying around, and critters like this guy ribbiting away:
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After years of Spring Mountain use as a way station for people traveling west, the area was formally settled and a ranch was built. The most famous owner of it is Howard Hughes, but much to WHNs disappointment, Howard didn't spend any time there. Before WHN found out the truth, he kept talking about Hughes and Katherine Hepburn and other starlets frolicking around the ranch.
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Main area of house. The brick is brick from Olvera St. The wood beams are re-purposed from the railroad.

Though WHN was quite fascinated with the Hughes connection, I found the most intriguing owner to be Vera Krupp, a German actress that married into money via a well-to-do Nazi that she eventually divorced after he was convicted of war crimes. The look of the ranch today most reflects her occupancy.

Vera appeals to me because was she was a crafter! She was into lapidary work-- oh believe me, if I would have found out she was a knitter, I would have probably peed with delight.
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Her "public" master bedroom. This will soon make sense.

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The only thing that can make a posh vanity even posher is a chandelier. Closet space is to the right and left. Behind the slatted doors on either side of the vanity is the shower (right) and the bidet (left).

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One of Vera's closet with her clothes.


Another thing she did that was after my own heart, was build a secret bedroom past the regular bedroom where she could be left alone to sleep and craft!

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Beyond this hidden door is a left turn down a narrow hallway leading to a master bath and her secret bedroom.

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Secret bedroom

Vera said this was her favorite place in the world. When she died her ashes were scattered in the back canyon where she often camped out. The next owner, Hughes Corp used it as a corporate retreat; Robert Maheu spent a lot of time there. Fletcher Jones in the early 70s bought it with plans to develop the area into houses and businesses. Luckily he did not get the re-zoning approval, and the state bought the grounds for around 3 mil.

Today, visitors can hike the trails, tour the house along with other historic buildings on site, picnic on the grounds, or say hello to the horses.
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Also adjacent to the ranch and part of the park is an outdoor theater. Again, I am so clueless-- I had no idea. While we were walking around we could hear the rehearsals for Aida which begins in a couple of weeks. I definitely want to go. Picnicking and knitting under the stars while watching a musical, sounds WONDERFUL!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Pooch said...

Gorgeous pix! Feel like I took the tour with you!

:)

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Angie said...

What a beautiful place! So often, homes like that seem more like museums (I'm thinking of the mansions in Newport, for example). But this ranch really seems like a place you could move into tomorrow and be comfy and at home! Thanks for sharing the tour.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Javajem said...

Wow - look at all the cool stuff in your backyard!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

We were out in Vegas this past December and spent some time near the Red Rock Canyons. It was great!

11:24 AM  
Blogger Jinann said...

Hmmm...I LOVE the idea of a secret bedroom!

2:22 PM  

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