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Big Red Ranch Complex


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The Big Red Ranch was the headquarters of one of the largest cattle operations in Wyoming. It was a leader in agricultural development in the area beginning with the large open range cattle period, moving to sheep ranching and the development of irrigation projects, and concluding with the sugar beet industry. Big Red is significant as one of the few large corporation ranches able to survive the open range period through adaptive change and growth. Big Red owes its creation to the Pratt & Ferris Cattle Company which arrived in Wyoming in 1880. The ranch house was constructed in 1882. During the open range period it was unusual that any permanent structure would be erected, much less painted. The name ''Big Red'' stems from the fact that large buildings were erected at the site and painted red. Men of state and local significance were associated with the ranch including James H. Pratt, Levi and Joseph Leiter, William ''Billy'' Irvine, Frank Horton, and Willis Spear. No other property is in existence in the area that was associated with so many men of regional importance nor with the entire continuum of ranch and farm development in northern Wyoming.



Date Added to Register:
Thursday, October 11, 1984
Sheridan County
Smithsonian Number: