City of San Angelo is Selling Portions of the Ford Ranch, Including an Old Ghost Town
SAN ANGELO, TX — The City of San Angelo purchased the sprawling 32,000-acre Ford Ranch in July 2017. The investment was made through loans against the water enterprise the City operates. See: Inside the $43 million Ford Ranch deal.
The City is already selling parts of the Ford Ranch, according to City Attorney Theresa James. The subject of the Ford Ranch was on Tuesday’s (May 7) agenda in executive session.
Although James would not comment on what exactly transpired during executive session Tuesday, she did confirm the City already has two tracts of Ford Ranch land for sale and listed on the ranch real estate market. They are a 2,830 parcel of land on the northwest corner of the ranch called the Ford-Lightner Ranch in Concho County and the Ford Ranch farm located near Melvin in McCulloch County.
The Ford-Lightner Ranch has an interesting twist. Inside that property sits the ghost town of Lightner. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Lightner was a stop on the former Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway that later became the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe rail line. The town was established in 1911 with a post office. The post office closed in 1918. The town hung around until the 1930s and dried up of people. By the 1960s no one lived there at all.
The ranch listing details variety of old houses, barns and outbuildings located at the old ghost town on the land that can be restored to become a headquarters.
The Ford-Lighter land, a 2,830 parcel of land complete with your own personal ghost town site, is on the market for $6,226,000, or $2,200 per acre.
Above: The location of the 2,830 acre Ford-Lightner Ranch. (King Land & Water)
The Ford Ranch farm, 324 acres off FM 2028 near Melvin, is on the market for $810,000, or $2,500 per acre.
Above: The location of the Ford Ranch farm. (King Land & Water)
James said the rest of the ranch would be on the market this year. July marks the two-year anniversary of the City’s purchase of the ranch.
Above: The main attraction to owning these properties is the availability of plentiful deer for hunting. (King Land & Water)
The Ford Ranch was purchased using a loan to the City of San Angelo Water Enterprise Fund in 2017. Back then, the City wanted to shore up its water rights to the Hickory Aquifer and gain complete access to the well field with surface area for expansion.
The ranch was being sold by the G. Rollie White family trust back then. The anticipation of multiple owners and possible litigation with each over access to the City’s rights to get to the Hickory water drove the strategy to purchase the entire ranch, cement the municipality’s surface and water rights, and then sell the ranch.
The City is in the process of expanding the Hickory well field by adding five more wells. The increased capacity that the additional wells provide will ally water shortage concerns should the City’s primary water supply, Lake Ivie, not deliver enough water per day.
In 2009, the City of San Angelo embarked on a $121 million project to build a well field, a 60-mile pipeline from McColluch County to San Angelo, and a specialized water treatment plant here. That project was completed in 2015. Since then, the City has banked the water it is allowed to pump each year from the Hickory for contingencies. The availability of that water has allowed the City to stay out of drought conditions by extending the duration in days of water available for the City’s water system.
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