Waggoner Ranch bidding has ended at $725 million. The iconic Texas ranch is larger than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The property created by Dan Waggoner in 1849 encompasses approximately 800 square miles and spans six counties in the northern region of the state.
The W.T. Waggoner Ranch is the largest estate in the entire world, according to Sotheby’s International. The working cattle and horse ranch is nearly as big as Rhode Island. The ranch was founded only four years after Texas achieved statehood. The iconic ranch encompasses approximately 510,000 acres, more than 720 cowboys work the Waggoner Ranch. Approximately 20 cowboy camps were created for use by the workers while they take care of their range duties. The property has often been referred to as the “Statue of Liberty” of cowboy culture.
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“It really is one of a kind,” broker Bernie Uechtritz, of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas, said. “It is a cornerstone of our culture. It’s a cornerstone of the cowboy way, and it means a lot.”
The Waggoner Ranch was a favorite place to visit for both President Theodore Roosevelt and Will Rogers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The $725 million Texas ranch also attracted the business and Hollywood elite during the 1920s. Electra Waggoner Biggs, a sculptor, was a popular hostess at the ranch during that era. She garnered national acclaim for the busts she created of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman and Knute Rockne. She also reportedly became the namesake of the General Motors’ Buick Electra sedan.
Electra Waggoner Biggs died in 2001. After years of legal battles, a judge ordered that the massive ranch be sold as a part of the estate liquidation. The estate heirs have reportedly disagreed about the future of the property for several decades. A requirement in a trust could have forced the property to be auctioned off. The Waggoner heirs ultimately agreed to sell the ranch, leaving those who both work and live on the ranch concerned about their livelihoods and possible requirement to uproot their families, the Guardian reports.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a Waggoner Ranch marketing video highlights what the new owner can do after the ranch bidding ends and the sale contract is signed. The W.T. Waggoner Ranch includes 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.
Dan Waggoner expanded the ranch to its current size with the help of his cattle baron son, W.T. Waggoner. The property is currently owned by Waggoner’s descendants and their heirs.
Tony Yaokum, a staffer at the Red River Valley Museum, said the sale of the Waggoner Ranch has caused some concerns in the Vernon, Texas community.
“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.”
“It’s been a home for us,” ranch manager Weldon Hawley said. Hawley spent 35 years working on the W.T. Waggoner Ranch.
“You know, we all raised our kids here, watched kids grow up.” Hawley said. “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.”
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Briggs Freeman of Sotheby’s International Realty broker, Bernie Uechtritz, said he believes the new buyer will want to keep the “legendary property” intact. Only serious buyers were permitted to submit bids on the Waggoner Ranch. They had to pay “millions’ up front, according to Uechtritz.
“It’s kind of a pay to play: You’ve got to submit $15 million as well as the wherewithal to enter into and close a transaction of this magnitude,” Uechtritz said. “If it were to be broken up, that would be terribly disappointing. And once it’s gone, it’s gone forever, isn’t it?”
Waggon Ranch bidding ended on Tuesday, but not the deadline to announce the winner. Uechtritz said the name will be revealed to the public in the near future.
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