Situated on 21,000 acres of land, the Ghost Ranch has an enriching history filled with archeological discoveries and famous residents. The land is mostly composed of quartz composition, red and grey siltstone, and rock sendiments from the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous Periods. Numerous fossils and dinosaur bones were found at the Ghost Ranch. The most notable discovery was the remains of the Coelophysis, a small dinosaur from the Triassic Period. During the 20th century, the land was home to writer and naturalist, Arthur Newton Pack and painter, Georgia O' Keeffe. Today, the several facilities settled on the land host educational programs and workshops where visitors can learn about the Ghost Ranch's history and the fossils discovered on the land. In addition, visitors can participate on hikes and tours of the Ghost Ranch and attend spiritual retreats held at the land.
Backstory and Context
The Ghost Ranch's ancient geological history dates over 130 million years. Ancient tribes of people would use the rock sediments and resources of the land to thrive. The 21,000 acre land is layered with quartz composition, red and grey siltstone, and rock deposits from the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous Periods. The Ghost Ranch is known to be a hotbed for fossils, and many dinosaur remains were unearthed. The most notable discovery was the fossilized skeleton of the Coelophysis, a theropod dinosaurs from the Triassic period. The Coelophysis is described to be a small, slender-built land dinosaur with a long narrow head, a long tail, hollow bones, and small limbs with claws.
The Ghost Ranch was part of the Piedra Lumbre, which was a 1776 land grant to Pedro Martin from Charles III of Spain. The land had some strong associations with influential people of the arts. For example, Arthur Newton Pack (1893-1975), a naturalist, a writer, and any editor for a nature magazine, moved to the Ghost Ranch in hopes that the warm climate would help alleviate his daughter's pneumonia. Pack bought the ranch and then sold it to the Presbyterian Church to utilize the land for educational purposes. Another resident of the Ghost Ranch was famous painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), who would built of her homes and studios on the edge of the land. In addition, some of O'Keeffe's paintings depict the Ghost Ranch. Other famous visitors of the Ranch include internationally-known aviator, Charles Lindbergh, photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams, and actor, John Wayne. In 1976, the land was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Services.
In 2015, the a flash flood occurred at the Ghost Ranch. Even though no injuries or fatalities occurred, the flood did cause some massive damage to the land's buildings and facilities, and repairs and renovations were made. Today, the facilities at the ranch hold several workshops and classes about the fossils and rock sentiments that were found on the land. These workshops also teach visitors about the history of the Ghost Ranch and would give tours of the land. Visitors can stay at one of the land's lodging accommodations with complementary meals, and groups can hold social events within the area, such as weddings, church camps, and family reunions. Other activities that visitors can participate at the Ghost Ranch include camping, photography, art classes, relaxing retreats, trail rides, hiking, and musical performances.
Ghost Ranch. n.d. Accessed July 27th 2020. https://www.ghostranch.org.
Nott, Robert. "Ghost Ranch Takes Beating, But Hundreds Escape Flood Unharmed," Santa Fe New Mexican. July 9th 2015. Accessed July 27th 2020. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/ghost-ranch-takes-beating-but-hundreds-escape-flood-unharmed/article_697e2348-133d-5d7a-86eb-1bf8eb795413.html.