An old western Texas town with historic buildings salvaged from across the county is now being demolished after the site’s owners announced plans to sell to a property developer.
The 80-acre Storybook Ranch property in McKinney, Texas – just north of Plano – looks like something out of a movie and features a prison, parlor, opry house, pharmacy, and barber shop.
The town’s bank even has a safe that the owners claim was once broken into by Bonnie and Clyde.
The 21 buildings all date back to when the West first settled in the 1800s, and were carefully moved from the western states to the ranch in the 1950s.
But they are now in danger of demolition as the organization that ran the city in the Old West – River Ranch Educational Charities – has moved to Dallas and plans to sell the land to a real estate developer hoping to build homes on the property. .
But the local Kristi Avalos is now leading the efforts to save the buildings.
The Storybook Ranch in McKinney, Texas features 21 buildings, all of which date back to when the Western United States first settled. The buildings were brought to the property from all over the western US
The old western town is currently on an 80-acre estate but is in danger of being demolished as the organization that ran the town has moved and wants to sell it to a developer
An on-site bank, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, contains a safe that notorious thieves Bonnie and Clyde allegedly broke into
There is only one cell in the prison, which is attached to the marshal’s house.
She has started a non-profit organization, the Bethel Village Foundation, which aims to restore and relocate the Old West town to her ranch even further north, on the border of Van Alstyne and Whitewright.
An old newspaper article in the Storybook Ranch bank indicates that the infamous thieves Bonnie and Clyde once stole from the bank vault.
“They can’t squash this,” said Avalos, owner of an 82-acre ranch in the area called Bethel Cannon Ranch. NBC DFW 5. “We just have to do something.”
She has spoken to representatives of local governments about her idea, according to her organization’s website, and hopes to raise enough money by June to make her dream of reviving the old western city come true.
There was something about seeing these buildings that was like, ‘We can do this,’ Avalos told NBC DFW 5. ‘ I can’t do this, but we can. ‘
Avalos already has a non-profit organization on her ranch that helps people prepare for a new career.
“ I want to take people and restore hope in them, so why not take buildings and restore hope in them, ” she said, explaining on the Bethel Village Foundation website that she saw a parallel between restoring the buildings and helping of people to come back. on their feet.
‘We were all something,’ she wrote on the website. “Now we’re slightly different, but we may not have seen the best of ourselves yet.”
Each of the 21 buildings on the Storybook ranch date back to the 1800s and were handpicked by a man named Jim Miller, who tracked them down from Alaska to Tennessee and returned them to the Storybook Ranch in the 1950s.
The two-storey opry house can accommodate 250 people and is heated and air-conditioned for events
The property includes a drawing room and a Flagstaff, Arizona hotel, which were open 24/7
The Waddle In, Waddle Out Saloon of Flagstaff, Arizona only had about 30 to 40 people gathering at the time to play cards or listen to the music of a piano player
People left their horses at the stable while shopping in town, including at the feed shop, where they got plant foods and fodder for their animals
Kristi Avalos, owner of the Bethel Cannon Ranch, hopes to keep the old western town as it is
Ultimately, however, the town of McKinney grew around the ranch, limiting its growth potential.
It now features a livery stable from Brownsville, Texas; a two-story opry house built in San Francisco in 1851; a Flagstaff, Arizona hotel and salon; an Alaska pharmacist; and a North Dakota post office.
The bank is from St. Louis, Missouri and dates back to the 1860s. On the wall hangs a newspaper article indicating that Bonnie and Clyde, notorious thieves of the time, entered the safe.
Other buildings include a one-room prison, a barber shop that also served as a dental practice, and a shop that was still operational until 1952.
The property has been owned and managed for the past 25 years by River Ranch Educational Charities, which offers programs for low – income and at – risk youth, as well as those with special needs, for the past 25 years, during which time there are numerous from parties, gatherings, events, weddings and picnics.
Each of the 21 buildings on the Storybook farm dates back to the 1800s and was carefully moved into the farm in the 1950s.
The property is owned and managed by River Ranch Educational Charities, which offers programs for low-income and at-risk youth
The town of McKinney eventually grew around the ranch, limiting its growth potential
The 80-acre Storybook Ranch property in McKinney, Texas – just north of Plano – looks like something out of a movie
In 2013, the ranch lost one of its buildings – The Wild Bill’s / Calamity Jane entertainment pavilion – to a fire, and the property has since been damaged by flooding and extreme weather.
In January, the Facebook page for the ranch reported that it was temporarily closed “ due to Covid concerns and for property development, repairs and changes. ”
But the organization has since moved to Dallas, Avalos said, leaving the property alone for several months.
She now hopes to host events at the two-storey opera house, which has a capacity of 250 people and has heating and air conditioning, and will use the property to educate more people and organize educational excursions.