Cibolo Creek Ranch is one of the oldest ranches in Texas, where historical artifacts, art and antiques combine to create an authentic 19th-century atmosphere. The ranch dwellings evoke a sense of togetherness, culminating at mealtime, where guests come together for communal dining and share their daily experiences. Explore 30,000 acres of great outdoors and enjoy a range of activities led by experienced ranch hands. Activities include walking and motorized tours, horseback riding, shooting activities, viewing of Native American rock art and opportunities to explore the ranch’s three historic forts built in the mid-19th century by the ranch’s founder, Milton Faver.
Steeped in History
According to local history, Faver settled in this area of the Big Bend after fleeing Missouri in the mid-1800s. Local lore says he headed to West Texas after emerging victorious from a deadly duel. Over several decades, Faver established a flourishing trading business along the Rio Grande on what is now known as Cibolo Creek Ranch. The forts built strategically across the property stood as strongholds against local bandits and Apache and Comanche raiders.
In 1857, Faver constructed the first of his three forts, El Fortin del Cibolo – “Fort of the Buffalo” – as a trading and agriculture site along Cibolo Creek. Later, he built El Fortin de la Cienega – “Fort of the Marsh” – to serve as headquarters for his growing cattle operation. Finally, he erected El Fortin de la Morita – “Fort at the Little Mulberry Tree” – from which he built up his sheep and goat enterprise. From these three defensive centers, Faver cultivated his land and built his livestock herds. The forts also supported Faver’s trade with Indians, local settlers, silver miners from the nearby town of Shafter and U.S. Army troops stationed at nearby Fort Davis.
In the 1880s, Faver was recognized as one of the most successful pioneers of West Texas, with more than 20,000 longhorn cattle and sizable sheep and goat herds. When Faver died in 1889, his estate was left to his Mexican-born wife, Señora Francisca Ramirez. His only child, Juan, died in 1913, followed shortly by his mother.
Reviving the Ranch
A third-generation Texan, John B. Poindexter purchased the first component of the ranch in 1988. Poindexter is a history enthusiast keen interest in Texas’s ranching past, a war veteran and an entrepreneur. He had been searching for a property to create a secluded retreat for his friends and business associates – Cibolo Creek Ranch ticked all the boxes. He embarked on planning an extensive restoration of this historically and culturally significant landmark, with advice and input from the Texas Historical Commission.
By 1990, restoration was in full swing. Plans to shore up the structural integrity of the old forts were carefully executed, including the on-site production of hundreds of adobe blocks from original material to replace eroded segments. Old photographs, government and private archives and Faver family memorabilia were scoured for insights. Ranchers on neighboring properties were consulted to glean more architectural and historical detail about the crumbling structures.
Poindexter wasn’t simply bringing the buildings back to life. Soon, he began to reintroduce indigenous animals to the area. Much of the 30,000-acre landscape has been returned to its pre-pioneer condition through ongoing habitat restoration efforts.
At the end of the planning phase, reconstruction took another seven years to complete under the auspices of the Texas Historical Commission. The revival was all-encompassing: No detail was overlooked, from landscaping to interior decor. Every aspect of the environment reflects features of Spanish and Mexican culture. Most of the modern conveniences are tastefully hidden from view so guests can truly feel that they’ve slipped back in time, but without forfeiting modern comforts.
The result is an exceptional experience in the inspiring Chinati Mountains of West Texas. Learn more about Cibolo Creek Ranch.