Stampede Ranch at Longview
The Stampede Ranch near Longview was established as a working ranch in the late 1800s.
But the first owner, Henry Minesinger, couldn't hang onto it, and the ranch passed through several hands until it was purchased in the 1920s by Guy Weidich and his wife, Florence La Due.
As historian Dorothy Field explains, Guy and Florence made a flamboyant team.
They were very well known on the rodeo circuit. Guy Weidich was a promoter, and had been a professional stunt rider and roper, and his wife was also a stunt rider and roper, and they had been associated with the Calgary Stampede since its earliest days, helping to promote it and build it up.
Guy and Florence had big plans for the Stampede Ranch, but raising cattle wasn't really what they had in mind.
Guy Weidich and Florence La Due changed the ranch from a working operation into a guest ranch, and they welcomed some of their well-known buddies. Among them, the big four, who had backed the first Calgary Stampede in 1912, well-known Calgary entrepreneurs, A. E. Cross, George Lane, Pat Burns, and Dick McLean.
Guy and Florence built accommodations that were rustic, yet large and comfortable for their guests.
Well, there's all the kinds of things that you would expect. Large barns, corrals, comfortable ranch house, with a large living room and a massive fieldstone fireplace, with ample space for people to kick off their cowboy boots at the end of a hard day of being a dude.
The guest ranch looked so perfect, and the couple had so many connections, it's not surprising the Stampede Ranch soon came to the attention of Hollywood.
It was the site of some movies, and I'm especially fond of the first feature that was filmed there, which starred Hoot Gibson and Virginia Brown Fair, and was entitled Northwest Stampede.
There were others, such as Chip of the Flying U, were also filmed at the Stampede Ranch.
By 1947, Guy Weidich and Florence La Due were ready for a change. They sold the ranch and moved to Arizona.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.