Centuries-Old Working Cattle Ranch Presents New Opportunity to Own Vast Acreage In Nevada
Few opportunities to purchase a significant piece of the wild west ever come forth. In northern Nevada, an approximately 600,000-acre working cattle ranch steeped in history just came to market, offering many amenities, spacious land and a living memento of the 1800s.
Watkins Ranch Group of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty just listed the 25 Ranch, one of the largest and oldest in Nev., spanning four counties: Humboldt, Lander, Elko and Eureka. Located north of Battle Mountain, Nev., the Great Basin property is bordered on the south by Interstate 80 for easy accessibility, with public airports and heli-pads also nearby. Consisting of nearly 126,000 deeded acres with approximately 475,000 additional privately leased and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allotment grazing acres, the property encompasses stunning vistas of the sweeping countryside, towering mountains, meandering streams and pristine valleys.
A main residence, multiple dwellings, corrals, barns, shops and support buildings have been added to the 25 Ranch over the years. It holds many vested and decreed water rights dating back to the 1870s and features multiple water sources, along with long-standing BLM grazing permits and a year-round carrying capacity of approximately 6,500 cows.
“Rarely do you see properties of this size with such a large amount of grazing acreage and water rights come to market anywhere in the country,” says Asher Watkins with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty. “This is a serious chunk of land.”
Fifty percent of all owned oil and gas will be conveyed with an acceptable offer.
Additionally, pasture cattle owned by several entities are run by the ranch in separate allotments and fields on an annual basis, affording a potential gross income of $1.3 million. “If the new owner had their own cattle operation, they could potentially triple this figure,” says Watkins.
The property is one of the most notable and historic ranches in Nevada history. In the 1870s, W.T. Jenkins migrated from Wales to Nevada seeking fortune in mining. When he didn’t strike it rich in gold or silver, he turned to raising sheep and cattle.
A fatal gunfight in the open Nev. rangeland ensued between sheepman W.T. Jenkins and cattleman Joe Dean, who attempted to run Jenkins out of the country. Jenkins was victorious, then continued to grow his sheep and cattle operation into a thriving livestock business. W. T.’s widow, Edith, continued the operation on his death and their daughter, Louise, ultimately merged several ranching properties that had been assembled and operated under the W.T. Jenkins Company and Russell Land and Cattle Company umbrellas into what is now the 25 Ranch operation. At its peak, 33,000 sheep and up to 10,000 head of cattle inhabited the ranch.
Louise Jenkins Marvel took over ranch operations in 1918 at the age of 18, and, with the support and assistance of her husband, World War I veteran E. R. “Cap” Marvel, gradually built a ranching empire in a time when few females existed in any leadership roles. Politicians and high-profile visitors would frequent the ranch, including Senator Paul Laxalt and renowned horse trainer of the day Tom Dorrance.
Among Marvel’s great lifetime accomplishments, which included running the expansive ranch, were paying off everyone she owed money to during the Great Depression and being voted cattleman of the year. After growing the ranch, her sons— Dick, Tom and John Marvel—took over operations with the oversight of their mother. The family ranch was eventually sold in 1964 to a Nebraska-based company, then again to the current owner in 1989. Famous for their horsemanship and cowboy skills, the W.T. Jenkins name is still recognized across the American West.
John E. Marvel, great-grandson of Jenkins, reminisces fondly about the ranch’s heyday.
“In springtime, the cattle would be gradually trailed in timing with forage growth to the higher country in the north with a cowboy crew of about 14 to 18 which would split into two different wagons,” Marvel shares. At the end of the summer grazing season, the beef cattle would be gathered from the lush mountain fields of the high country and then trailed in the annual “steer drive” of up to 1,800 head of steers over a four-day period to the lower country meadows of the Humboldt River in preparation for market.
“The 25 Ranch represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own an actual piece of wild west history. You can picture the stand-offs that took place on the land, and the wagon trains and miners that traversed it,” says listing agent Asher Watkins. “Here you can live out dreams of having a large cattle operation and riding across your ranch on horseback, tending to livestock or simply gazing out over your vast expanse of land blissfully while it makes money for you.”
The property is listed for $36,525,000. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact Asher Watkins at 214.663.1313 or visit sierrasothebysrealty.com.