After languishing in obscurity for nearly 40 years, the historic site of Kiel Ranch in North Las Vegas has re-opened to the public. Kiel Ranch was the home of Conrad Kiel and his family starting in 1875. The original adobe ranch house still stands, making it the oldest standing building in Clark County and one of the oldest in the state.
At the opening, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee stated, “An essential piece of history – not just for North Las Vegas but for all of Southern Nevada – has been preserved and transformed into a wonderful asset for residents and visitors alike.. “The City of North Las Vegas is proud to be the steward of such a historic site and to return it to a condition that enables everyone to enjoy this unique treasure.”
A Popular Site for Centuries
Long before Conrad Kiel established his ranch and orchard, the site of Kiel Ranch was a popular stop for travelers and natives. Recovered artifacts indicate the Paiute natives made use of the artesian well at the site centuries ago.. Later, Mormon missionaries established ranches and orchards Conrad Kiel established a 240-acre homestead in 1875. He grew citrus, apples and other produce. At the time, it was one of the largest ranches in the region and a common stopover for travelers. The white adobe house is one of the few remaining structures.
Kiel’s family sold the ranch in 1903 and it has had a series of owners that included Edwin Taylor, whose ranch hands became famous for competing in national rodeos. The site became the Boulderado Guest Ranch in 1940, a popular destination for people seeking residency in Nevada for means of securing a quick divorce.
Kiel Ranch Historic Park Opening Was Decades in the Making
The National Register of Historic Places listed a 26-acre portion of the site in 1975. This portion was purchased by the City of North Las Vegas in 1976 with the intention to convert it into a historic site and park.
Those plans were put on hold until just a few years ago. During that period, large portions of the site were sold and developed into industrial parks. Many of the remaining buildings fell into disrepair, and the city used the site for equipment storage and construction waste. The site was scheduled to be razed further to prevent runoff until NLV city officials stepped in.
A plan was proposed to convert Kiel Ranch into a green space and historic park. The city secured over $2 million in grants to help restore it. Funding sources came from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and the Land & Water Conservation Fund.
“We’re in a culture that implodes everything that’s historic, so it’s pretty significant to save something that will teach people about the early days of Nevada,” commented Pamela Goynes-Brown, North Las Vegas City Councilwoman.
Visitors to Kiel Ranch Historic Park will enjoy tranquil green spaces, gazebos, walking trails and picnic tables. The City intends to purchase seven more acres surrounding the park to increase green space and prevent industrial encroachment.