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Our History

At Chandler Ranch


Learn About The


Juan Dominguez de Mendoza, the first Spanish explorer into the area, leaves well-documented records of his foray into the Independence Creek and Pecos Valley area. He reported herds of bison roaming the land.


1800s – For centuries, this uninhabited land is traversed by Native American tribes, including the Mescalero Apache, Comanche, Pawnee, Kiowa, and others.


1850s – Early day settlers begin to move into the Trans-Pecos. Cattle companies run immense herds on open range.


1859 – During a trial period, a herd of camels is driven from San Antonio by an Army reconnaissance group to Ft. Davis. The camels are watered at the mouth of Independence Creek on June 15 during their successful trek.


1875 – The last of the Indians are removed by military force.

LATE 1800s

Charlie Chandler leaves his home in London, Texas, to work for the Western Union Beef Company. When the company goes out of business, the young cowboy decides to stay on and begins to work for early day ranchers and to buy his own ranch, a section at a time.


1908: Chandler Ranch


1930s: Mildred and Joe B. Chandler


1946: Jenny and Charlena posing with Charlie and a ranch employee in front of two bucks


1954: Destruction from record-breaking flood


1960s: JoBeth and Charlena with Joe B. at the old wagon wheels near the entrance of the ranch



Charlie marries Minerva O’Bryant, a rancher’s daughter from Comstock. They became the parents of six children, four sons and two daughters. Joe Bailey Chandler is the youngest son, born in 1912.


Charlie receives a permit from the state to divert water from “public resources” and he becomes a farmer. He raises grains, sugar cane, watermelons, and the first and only cotton ever grown in the county.

LATE 1920s AND EARLY 1930s

Charlie continues to ranch with his sons. Two of them, Herman and Joe, become popular hosts of annual rodeos, barbecues, and dances on the creek.


Depression years – Charlie buys the K-Bar Ranch in Brewster County, now called Panther Junction and a part of Big Bend National Park, while still maintaining the Pecos River ranch. After several years, he sells the K-Bar for $3 an acre, his original purchase price.


1936 – Joe marries Mildred Stavley, daughter of a neighboring Dryden rancher.

1940 - 1950

Charlie begins to divide the ranch among his children, with Joe receiving the area on which the guest ranch is later built.


Starting with nothing but a few sections of land and lots of determination, Joe and Mildred develop the dream of opening the ranch to visitors. Joe builds a swimming pool, store, game room and cabins, and clears campgrounds along the creek and river.


Most of the facilities are destroyed or damaged during a record-breaking flood. Rebuilding starts immediately and the ranch grows into a thriving business.

1964 - 1965

One of the most popular attractions of the ranch, a nine-hole golf course, is built. In addition to constant weekend players, three or four tournaments are held each year, drawing golfers from all over West Texas.

1988 - 1991

Age and health problems combine to create difficulties in maintaining the guest ranch.

1991 - 2014

1991 – The family enters into a conservation agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Texas. The golf course will be closed and allowed to grow back to nature. The guest ranch will remain open with an emphasis on ecotourism.


1991 – 2014 – The ranch is primarily operated as a hunting lease by the Chandler’s daughters.

1980s: The Whetrock Gang of Odessa, which organized tournaments at the ranch for several years

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Rebuilding Begins

2014 – Joe "Joey" A. Chandler, the Chandler's grandson, leases the ranch and starts a rebuilding program. Many of the older structures have to be demolished, but several are saved for renovation.


2015 – Work continues with the reconstruction of the swimming pool, a major project.  First guests welcomed in late summer. 

2022 – In the footprint of the former tennis court, construction of the Court House is completed to include a state-of-the-art kitchen and dining facilities.  

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