05/14/18 4:00pm

Here’s a little window into the history behind the now-for-sale Champion Ranch in Centerville, about 50 miles north of Huntsville: Richard Wallrath bought the property in the 1993 with money he’d earned from running Champion Window, the business he started in 1975. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo mega-donor sold the company to Atrium Windows in 2006 for $66 million. (Within 6 years, Atrium was out of the manufacturing business after it filed for bankruptcy, and the Department of Homeland Security fined it $2 million when it found that more than half of Champion’s 489 workers were undocumented.)

Included in the offering, according to the broker, Icon Global: “movie rights to Deep in the Heart” — starring Jon Gries (Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite) as Wallrath and Val Kilmer as “The Bearded Man,” Wallrath’s spiritual guide. Parts of the movie were filmed on the 5,000-plus-acre ranch itself. A sequel, says Icon, is now “in development.

A cinematic view across this field shows some of the 1,010 purebred cattle that come with the purchase:


The Sequel
02/01/18 1:45pm

Local grassland steward the Katy Prairie Conservancy is for the first time branching out beyond its natural habitat with a 5,332-acre ranch about 90 miles outside the area the organization is named for. The Spread Oaks Ranch — part of which is shown above — sits near Hwy. 35 in Markham, just outside Bay City and about 70 miles southwest of Sugar Land. Last December, Spread Oaks’s owner closed a deal with the Conservancy giving the organization’s land trust the power to restrict development and subdivision of the coastal prairie property forever. Spread Oaks still owns the land and can pass it on if it chooses, but the Conservancy gets the power to limit its use, regardless of who has the deed.

Spread Oaks is the name given to the Morrow, Cuenca, and LeTulle ranches — pieced together by a single landowner between 2012 and 2015. The property is a working cattle ranch that “prides itself on raising some of the finest quality Brangus cattle in Texas.” Farming and hunting also take place on the land, which includes lodging for overnight guests. The Colorado River runs along an eastern section of the property.

Before the agreement, all of the roughly 20,000 acres the Conservancy protected were located inside the green ring on the map of west Houston below:


Lending a Ranch Hand
01/11/16 3:30pm

Little White Church on property of Iglesia Sobre La Roca, 433 S. Barker Cypress Rd., Kingsland Estates, Houston, 77094

The Little White Church that fled the Marks LH7 Ranch in 2012 when the land was sold to developers appears to be finally settling in at the new digs — a reader sends this photo looking west  from Barker Clodine Rd., on the back side of the property of Iglesia Sobre La Roca where the building scooted to. The Little White Church is now a few shades whiter thanks to a new coat of paint, and appears to have gotten a big brown porch for Christmas. Eastgate Ministries moved out of the building to a country club in Katy in early 2014, after 15 years of using the building.

Meanwhile, back at the Marks LH7 Ranch (just across a long driveway to the south of the Church’s new home, and west along Kingsland Blvd.): the Vue Kingsland Apartments, the Aldeia West Apartments, and the Ryan Homes at Arcadia have all risen on the former state archaeological landmark, where a ranch-themed development was once promised.


Kingsland Churches