George Ranch Historical Park
Stroll through more than 100 years of living Texas history and immerse yourself in the lives and experiences of the Lone Star State’s earliest settlers at the George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond. Tour historic homes, watch presentations from costumed reenactors, and enjoy thoroughly authentic food and activities at the 23,000-acre ranch, located on a scenic patch of farmland about 30 miles southwest of downtown Houston. Many of the park’s attractions are contained within a one-mile history circle, including four distinct homes: the 1830s Jones Stock Farm, the 1860s Ryon Prairie Home, the 1890s Davis Victorian Mansion, and the 1930s George Ranch Cattle Complex.
1830s Jones Stock Farm
Your journey begins at the homestead of Henry and Nancy Jones, some of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300” settlers, when the state was part of Mexico in the 1820s and 1830s. At the home, you’ll enjoy a hands-on learning experience about the challenging lives these hardy pioneers faced as you watch (or assist) reenactors weave, grind corn or do other chores. Don’t be shy as you tour the Dog-Trot Log Cabin, as everything inside can be picked up and touched. Try to picture yourself making supper in the rustic outdoor kitchen and explore the smokehouse, barn, chicken coop, and hog pen that helped the Jones family and their 12 children thrive here for many years.
1860s Ryon Prairie Home
Mary Moore “Polly” Ryon was the Jones’ eldest daughter. She inherited the majority of her family’s wealth and was one of the largest landholders in the region by age 18. Mary and her husband William lived in a home similar to this 1850s Greek Revival-style prairie house while they built a cattle ranching and farming empire after the Civil War.
As you visit, you’ll learn about their lives on the ranch, with its gardens, chicken coop, pig pen, and sugarcane press. Also, don’t forget to visit with “Cookie” the Chuckwagon Chef to learn about the golden age of cattle driving and maybe even sample some cowboy grub!
1890s Davis Victorian Mansion
Polly Ryon’s only surviving child, Susan Elizabeth, inherited the estate from her mother and lived with her husband, banker and civic leader “Judge” John Harris Pickens Davis, at the Victorian-era Davis Complex. As they approached the turn of the century, the Davises had become one of the most affluent families in Fort Bend County, a fact you’ll quickly recognize as you tour this genteel mansion. On the adjacent Sharecropper’s Farm, you’ll be struck by the contrast in lifestyle that freed slaves and former soldiers endured as tenant farmers. The complex also includes a working blacksmith shop; the Line Camp, where ranch hands would bunk during nights of riding the extensive property lines; an exhibit detailing longhorn pens and rail cars; and the original family cemetery.
1930s George Ranch Cattle Complex
The gorgeous George Ranch Home still stands where it was built in the early 1900s. Inside, you’ll find many heirlooms from owners Mamie (the Davis’ daughter) and husband A.P. George. Cowboys are still working cattle inside the original pens and barns on the complex, where you can watch them roping, sorting, and sending cows into one of the last remaining dipping vats in the country. Sadly, Mamie would be the last Jones descendant to possess the land, as her only child and niece both died, leaving her with no living heirs. Thanks to The George Foundation they established, “Texians” can still visit today to appreciate the story of this remarkable family and the place they called home.
The Park is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for youngsters aged 5 to 15, with free admission for children younger than four.
Embark upon an unforgettable journey back to Texas’ earliest days at the George Ranch Historical Park, a can’t-miss attraction in the Houston area.
Prices and hours of operation are subject to change. Please check the George Ranch Historical Park’s website for up-to-date information on rates and schedules before making plans.