Walking Box Ranch is currently closed and not open to the public.
For contractors interested in the restoration bid, the contractor site visit is 11/21/13. No access will be provided prior to that date. RSVP's are required for access on 11/21/13.
See the solicitation for more information
Trespassing is prohibited.
The Walking Box Ranch was built in 1931 by legendary silent film stars Rex Bell and Clara Bow. The name of the ranch and brand are symbolic of a camera box on a tripod. During the 1930s, it covered nearly 400,000 acres and supported 1,800 head of cattle.
The ranch was also known as a rural escape destination for the couple’s famous Hollywood friends, which reportedly included Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Errol Flynn. Bell and Bow stayed at the ranch until the mid-1940s, when they separated and Bell pursued a career in politics. He served as Nevada’s lieutenant governor from 1955 until his death in 1962. Rex Bell, Jr. and his brother George grew up at the ranch. Rex Bell, Jr. served as Clark County District Attorney in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The property continued as an operating cattle ranch under Bell and the subsequent ownership of Karl Weikel through the 1980s until it was sold to Viceroy Gold Corporation in 1990. Viceroy used the property to access their local mine and rehabilitated the ranch headquarters to serve as an executive retreat. Since the mid-1990s, the property has changed hands several times and is now located in the midst of an expansive desert tortoise conservation area. View the ranch chronology.
THE RANCH TODAY
The 160-acre Walking Box Ranch is located approximately seven miles west of Searchlight and just south of State Route 164. The facilities include a two-story 5060 sq. ft. home, 2095 sq. ft. barn, 960 sq. ft. caretaker’s residence, 1200 sq. ft. guesthouse, a 60x120 foot swimming pool, tennis court, and miscellaneous structures. Outside there is a 575 sq. ft. cactus garden and a 770 sq. ft. covered patio with a built-in barbecue.
The main house features terra cotta tile on the first floor and hardwood floors on the second. The six bedrooms and six bathrooms retain most of the original tile work. The original desert stone fireplace remains as the centerpiece of the authentic great room, and a rustic wooden bar draws visitors into the family/game room.
Some of Southern Nevada’s most significant ecological and cultural resources are embodied just outside the barbed wire fences surrounding the ranch. Being adjacent to wilderness areas and areas of critical environmental concern, the region is habitat for some 300 native plant species and the threatened desert tortoise. It sits at 4,000 feet above sea level.
The property has undergone a detailed survey and cataloging of the structures, cultural artifacts, and historic land uses. The structures will be restored/renovated to stabilize and preserve the buildings’ interior and exterior. Renovations were completed in accordance with requirements to place the ranch on the National Register of Historic Places. Master planning has been conducted to determine if the property should include a public museum and interpretive center. By taking these steps, the Bureau of Land Management and UNLV promote the public appreciation of a historic site, preserve early 1930s architecture, and provide a venue for public education about the fragile ecosystems of the Mojave Desert.