Mountain Meadow Ranch History

Our secluded valley, now home to Mountain Meadow Ranch California Summer Camp, was once a favorite hunting camp for the Maidu Indians. As time moved on the faces of the hunters changed but the popularity of the area remained. In 1910, a wealthy bear hunter from Reno built a permanent summer retreat here. George Wingfield, who made his fortune in the Nevada gold fields, created a ranch that became the showplace of his time. People came from miles around to see his beautiful estate with his own deer, buffalo and elk grazing in the meadows.

In the 20’s, several local businessmen turned the ranch into a country club with a nine-hole golf course meandering through the lower meadows. Then in the 30’s, the property was purchased by cowboy movie star Buck Jones. He loved the ranch but his dream of retiring to the ranch was cut short by his untimely death in Boston’s tragic Coconut Grove fire. Hard times fell upon the ranch and it was not until 1955 that the sun would once again shine on Mountain Meadow Ranch. Upon graduation from U.C.L.A. while playing pro football for the Los Angeles Rams, Jack Ellena Sr., remembering the ranch from childhood days nearby and envisioning it as a site for the Boys Ranch he hoped to create, pursued an opportunity to acquire it. Its natural beauty, abundance of space and spring water, temperate summer climate and distinctive western flavor made the site a perfect choice. Mountain Meadow Ranch for Boys was established in the summer of 1956. By the early ‘60’s sisters begged to come and Mountain Meadow was expanded to include girls. Today boys and girls come from all over the world to enjoy a summer of magic at Mountain Meadow Ranch. ”

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