Today we visited the King Ranch and the museum in Kingsville, TX - "birthplace of the American ranching industry." Steamboat Captain Richard King purchased Spanish land grants and transported an entire village from Mexico to become some of Texas' first cowboys - known on King Ranch as Kinenos or Kings' people. Founded in 1853, King Ranch developed the Santa Gertrudis breed of cattle and produced the first registered American Quarter Horse. Today King Ranch sprawls across 825,000 acres - an area larger than the state of Rhode Island - and is one of the largest ranches in the world. In addition to raising & developing cattle & quarter horses (they had a triple crown winner - Assault - in 1946), King Ranch is the largest producer of cotton in the USA & grows sorghum & corn. They also own 50,000 tree acres of oranges in Florida & are the largest producer of citrus in the USA. King Ranch has grown into quite an enterprise! While it is now run by a Board of Directors, the family is still very much involved in the ranch.
After taking the tour at the ranch, we went into Kingsville to visit the King Ranch Museum. It had a number of buggies & automobiles, including a 1946 Buick hunting car - very interesting. There were lots of pictures of life on the ranch & we really appreciated that the ranch hands (Kinenos) were named in the picture captions.
If you're ever in south Texas, you should take a day to see the King Ranch.