Nevada Nature, Parks & Gardens January 16, 2018
The Beautiful Park In Nevada With A Hauntingly Violent Past
On the surface, nothing about Kiel Ranch Historic Park reveals itself as particularly out of the ordinary. The park itself is a serene place located in the Las Vegas Valley. However, what makes this park unique is its hauntingly violent history. This park was developed from the remains of one of the region’s very first settlements. It started off as a beautiful ranch, but violence and crime would leave a dark stain on this humble settlement.
Kiel Ranch is a developed park that encompasses 7 acres on the corner of Carey Avenue and Commerce Street in Las Vegas.
At first, it resembles any other city park with places to picnic and sidewalks for strolling. However, the park was built from the remnants of one of the region's very first settlements.
Kiel Ranch was settled by a man named Conrad Kiel in 1875. Originally 240 acres, it was considered one of the state's largest ranches.
At the time, the ranch was a peaceful and prosperous place. Kiel used it to grow citrus, apples, and other produce. However, it wasn't long until things turned sour for the ranch.
In 1884, a neighboring rancher named Archibald Stewart was shot and murdered on the property.
In 1890, Kiel's two sons were murdered on the land, as well. Their murders were originally thought to be a murder-suicide, but it was established later that their deaths were a double murder.
The murders left a grisly stain on the small settlement. However, the ranch continued to go through a variety of owners over the years.
In the 1940s it was bought and turned into a tourist destination. Many celebrities visited the ranch at this time including Mickey Rooney. The ranch's small spring provided a sweet oasis amid the desert heat.
It also became a popular place for divorce-seekers, who could gain residency when renting a room on the ranch and therefore apply for divorce.
Over time, the settlement slowly deteriorated.
As Vegas flourished all around it, the ranch became an eye sore sitting on a vacant lot. Although the city has owned the property since the 1970s, it wasn't until 2016 that the property was revived and turned into a public park.
Today, you can stroll around the park and view the original buildings from the settlement's riveting past.
At over 150 years old, these are some of the oldest buildings in the Silver State. They may not be in perfect condition but they contain a variety of stories of the ranch's tumultuous past. The park contains numerous interpretive signs with information about the area's history.
It's crazy that the historical significance of this place went unnoticed for so long. However, it's amazing that many of the original structures remain standing.
Kiel Ranch's history is tragic, but this park serves as a reminder of what life was like in Vegas before all the glitz and glam. You'll find it at 2465 Kiel Way in North Las Vegas.
Have you been to Kiel Ranch? Did you know about its unique history? If you thought this was interesting, be sure to check out these
10 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Nevada’s History.
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