Monday, October 6, 2008

Winterwood Ranch

One of the largest tracts of land set aside for farming in the Las Vegas Valley was purchased by John C. Winters and his Winterwood Land Company. If you go to the Nevada Division of State Lands Land Patent Database, and enter "Winterwood Land Co." into the Patentee field, you will see patents granted in 1914 and 1915 for nearly 5000 acres!

A Google Earth map shows lots that once held the Winterwood Ranch, located just west of the Las Vegas wash, south of what is now Charleston Blvd East and east of what is now Pecos.

The Winterwood Land Company (aka the Clark County Land Company) began efforts to start a farm in Las Vegas around 1911. A 16-Sep-1911 Las Vegas Age article, titled Another Well Rig reported the arrival of a well rig to begin drilling for artesian water on the property. Just a week later, the 23-Sep-1911 Las Vegas Age reported, in the article Land Company Gets Busy, plans for 340 acres to be cultivated the first year.

If you read old articles about Winterwood (Las Vegas Age, 18-Oct-1913, 15-Oct-1913, 15-Nov-1913, 29-Nov-1914, 17-Jan-1914) it's interesting to note how much concern was given to improving the six-mile stretch of Winterwood Boulevard. This is noteworthy, as a search only brings up a very short stretch of road, that is likely not the original Winterwood Blvd.

On 31-Jan-1914, a Las Vegas Age article reported that after an ambitious start in 1911, the Winterwood Ranch property lay mostly dormant. The owners, John C. Winters, John M.Prophet and Charles H. Palmer had just agreed to sell to a "syndicate of Japanese capitalists."

According to a 13-Nov-1915 article, after many months of negotiations, the nearly 5000 acres passed into the hands of Mr. L. Lindsey and associates, of Los Angeles. Their plans were to begin cultivating a large amount of alfalfa. Just a few years later, a 01-Nov-1919 article reported that Charles S. Sprague of Goldfield planned to purchase the Lindsey tract. An 08-Sep-1920 article noted that cotton was being grown there, but it seems that only a small portion of the 5000 acres was actualy being used.

According to a 1954 Las Vegas Valley map in the UNLV Digital collection, by the mid-1950s, the land was well broken up. The largest portion was owned by S. J. Lawson. The Las Vegas Review Journal's list of The First 100 people who shaped Las Vegas includes information on Ed Clark. Among other things, Clark "ran Las Vegas' first bank, its first telephone company, and its first power company." The article mentions that he mentored "S.J. Lawson, who would succeed him as president of the power company." This is probably the same S. J. Lawson who acquired a portion of the Winterwood Ranch.

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