Thursday, October 24, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, Texas, 1954 and 1998

Above are my parents at what I am pretty sure is the  Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, Texas, around 1954.  They've often spoken of a Rosarian Club trip they took there while they were dating.  The fence in the photo looks an awful lot like the fence at the Dixie Dude in the photo below from July 1998:

My parents took the offspring and myself to the Dixie Dude for a few days in July 1998.  We had a duplex cabin with a connecting door, very close to the  ranch headquarters, where three hearty meals a day were served family-style.  Every day, weather permitting, there was an hour-long morning trail ride and an afternoon trail ride.  Above is Eric saddling up, and below is Dad heading out on one of the trail rides:

mid-1990s Dixie Dude postcard
In the photo above, Mom stands in front of the ranch headquarters and dining hall, under the iconic Dixie Dude sign.

There was a lot to do at the Dixie Dude.  Besides trail rides, swimming in the pool, and hiking around to explore things like the Range War Cemetery, you could watch the ranch hands at work. You could also just laze around on the front porch of the ranch house, and watch zillions of hummingbirds fighting over the multiple feeders hung there.

There was also entertainment each evening.  Besides a sing-along (similar to that pictured in the postcard at bottom left), one day we were given tickets to the evening rodeo in nearby Bandera.  We also had country-Western dance lessons one night, followed the next evening by the opportunity to try our new steps out at the honky-tonks in town.

The Dixie Dude Ranch was established in 1937.  Mom said she slept in a dormitory when she was there in the 1950s.  A brochure that I found (online) from that era indicated that the original ranch house (which burned in 1964) originally had two-and-a-half stories.  Room and board was "$3.50 per person per day, or $22.00 per person per week for iron cot beds on sleeping porch (men) or large upstairs dormitory (girls), 3rd floor."  Two-person bedrooms were available on the second floor for $4 per day per person or $25 per week per person.  Trail rides cost $1.50 each in addition.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. The photos that you shared showed the great love your parents have for each other, and how much they enjoyed visiting the ranch. I especially love the first photo of your parents sitting on a fence. They both radiated happiness! Luckily they brought you and your sibling to the ranch too, and you both were able to enjoy the daily things that happen living on a ranch. I found your blog very interesting as well as it made me feel melancholic about my parent's past and what do they do for fun. Till next time, take care!

    Darren Lanphere @

    1. Thank you for the kind words and for commenting, Darren!