Waggoner Ranch is up for sale for a whopping $725 million. The iconic ranch pans six counties in Northern Texas and was founded by Dan Waggoner in 1849. The Texas ranch is regarded as the “largest estate in the world,” according to an assessment by Sotheby’s International Realty.
The W.T. Waggoner Ranch was founded just four years after Texas became a state. The iconic ranch encompasses approximately 510,000 acres, making it the largest ranch contained by one fence in the United States. More than 720 cowboys work the Waggoner Ranch, with about 20 camps created for their use while they are out working the range. The Texas ranch is often referred to as the “Statue of Liberty” of cowboy culture.
“It really is one of a kind,” said broker Bernie Uechtritz, of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas. “It is a cornerstone of our culture. It’s a cornerstone of the cowboy way, and it means a lot.”
A Waggoner Ranch marketing video created by Uechtritz highlights what the new owner can expect after laying down $725 million to buy the iconic ranch. The W.T. Waggoner Ranch include 30,000 acres of farmland, “thousands of heads of cattle,” an American Quarter Horse breeding operation, a multitude of wildlife, and 1,200 oil wells, producing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a year.
The Waggoner ranch was founded by cowboy Dan Waggoner and expanded to its current size by his son and cattle baron, W.T. Waggoner. The iconic ranch is currently owned by Waggoner’s descendants and their heirs.
Red River Valley Museum staffer Tony Yaokum said the sale of the Waggoner ranch has raised some concerns. The museum is located in Vernon, Texas.
“That ranch has been part of the history of this town and this community since the 1850s. They have not realized yet that some eras have to end. And obviously this era is going to end.”
The Waggoner heirs have reportedly disagreed about the future of the iconic ranch for decades. A requirement in a trust set up by a Waggoner ancestor could have forced the property to be auctioned. The heirs ultimately agreed to sell the ranch. The sale of the biggest ranch for $725 million could mean that the 120 cowboys and staffers could lose both their jobs and their homes.
“It’s been a home for us,” ranch manager Weldon Hawley said. Hawley began working at Waggoner Ranch 35 years ago. “You know, we all raised our kids here, watched kids grow up.” The cowboy fears that the workers and their families will lose what they believe in without the way of life offered on the iconic ranch in Texas. “There’s just a lot that we’re proud of. It’ll go down the drain. I think that’ll be the large part of it.”
Broker Uechtritz said he believes the new buyer will want to keep the “legendary property” intact.
“If it were to be broken up, that would be terribly disappointing. And once it’s gone, it’s gone forever, isn’t it?” Uechtritz added. He also noted that while the Waggoner Ranch has not officially been placed on the market yet, many people have called to “stake their claim” to a revered piece of Texas history.
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