The Fresno Bee The Republican from Fresno, California on October 23, 1935 · Page 17
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The Fresno Bee The Republican from Fresno, California · Page 17

Fresno, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, October 23, 1935
Page 17
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.THE FBEftNO BEE. WEDNEsllAT. OCTOBER U, IMS. A Young Balfe Thoroughbred R A I i?P DALrL · · · · · . . - I SKowplace of the San Joaquin Valley, Most Modern RancK In tlie Pacific Coast Area, By RAY MILLER VIATORS traversing the San Joaquin Valley in the vicinity of Clovis can easily see from the air, four and one-half miles northeast from the city proper, a huge sign which reads --BALFE RANCH. They see,, also, in addition to the neat building atop which this huge sign is displayed, nearly two score -.;' other buildings, terraces, pools, a regulation quarter- mile race track, a landing field with wind sock flying ' a t the mast, and vast orchards and vineyards which itretch in «ymmetrical rows to the foothills of the Sierra and to the highways surrounding the huge tract. They know that this is a government emergency landing field as' indicated on 1 their charts and with practiced eye they scan the terrain and file away in their alert minds for future possible emergency use the topographical features. Although they may .wonder, few are familiar with the unique features which make this ranch the showplace of the San Joaquin Valley, an estate which includes within its area of approximately 1,000 acres, a wide variety of interesting activities, Even less known, is the Balfe Ranch, to the residents of the San Joaquin Valley, although most of them have heard its name. : . To even superficially inspect the ranch and its features, would require more than an entire day. . -. Those, who do know it an'd know it well are fas- . einated ;by it and treasure a regard for it that will never leave. These are people""whose careers vie" iri v color and, interest with the ranch, representing namej f which 'are by : words on the tongue of the world. Into the making of this magnificent place has gone nearly a million of dollars and one can not help but feeling that never was money so well and wisely spent as it has been here. The Balfe Ranch is entirely a" creative and con- ttructive project that has blended beauty and harmony for utilitarian purposes. It is as if the grandeur of the great ranches of the Dons of old California had here been recreated with all of the" added improvements that modern science could devise. - . - . ' . .This i » a n estate which if'attempted in the East would take at least three generations to complete, but here, in the San Joaquin Valley, the magic actinic value ,of California sunshine and the wonderful fertility of ; the soil, coupled, with careful planning have accom- pliihed a miracle in little more than a decade. And now let us describe Balfe Ranch as it appears to the eyes of visitors fortunate enough to enjoy the charming hospitality of its host, Harry Balfe, retired head of what was a few years ago the world's largest wholesale grocery organization. As one enters the grounds through the main en' trance one is impressed at once by the attention and care that has been given to the splendid orchards, the trees and shrubs that border the drive and the general well kept appearance. In the, shade of cleverly, planted trees we find the .main ranch house, the museum, the office, guest houses and. dining arbor. Further on are the corrals, bunkhouse, apiaries, kennels, equipment buildings, stables. exercise yardi,-shelters for pheasants that are raised . here by the thousands and servant quarters. The ranch house is of refreshing simplicity and it built in an architectural style that makes its harmonize with the natural turroundingt. .Gardens, brilliant with every type of bloom and sheltered poola teeming with trout and exotic water plants, surround the ranch house, . . . . One extremely interesting thing about the trout it the manner in which some of them are fed. Above the pool at some seven or eight feet high, is suspended a blue electric light globe. Closer to the pool's surface and illuminating a portion of;its depth is an ordinary white electric globe. When these lights are turned on at night the flying insects are attracted by the blue light and in hovering around the light are in turn attracted by the stronger white light. They then fall . exhausted to the surface of the water, whereupon the · A view of « part of the garden showing the. profusion ot pltnts.ind ». heiutlful-rock-lined poo). Water plants of exotic species add to the charm of this i-eit.ful place. The entrance tn the ranch house, a cool and inviting homg where comfort Is the pervadingjjnplif. .Guests are lodged la separate guest houses oh'other sections of" th'e estate. hungry trout strike with the tpeed of a thrown lance. It is just a small feature, but one highly indicative of the thought that has gone into the making of the Balf Ranch. Any one who collects, and most of us do whether it be match boxes, stamps or priceless jades, naturally gravitates toward a museum when one is in the vicinity, and we find one here'that houses one of the most complete collections of early California relics to be found in the state, the private collection of the owner. In addition to California relics, many Indian arte- facts, Mexican, European and priceless Americana can be found. A few outstanding items include Joachim Murietta's sombrero, Pancho Villa's revolver, pearl-handled and with the crest of Mexico carven upon it, tinted faint pink from the absorbtion of blood from the hand of bandit patriot; General Grant's whiskey flask, and a set of duelling pistols presented by the Emperor Napoleon of France to the Emperor Maximillian of Mexico, whose murder made the Cinqo de Mayo, th« Mexican national holiday and caused his beloved spouse to be known as the mad Empress Carlotta, and whose death brought to an tnd imperialistic ambitions throughout the two Americas. There is more, much more, all interesting, all with fascinating histories but space docs not permit their outline here. After the museum comes the evc.nt that every one who enters here as guest enjoys most, an inspection of the corrals and stables and of some of the world's finest thoroughbreds, beautiful steeds that, believe it or not, have made such a redoubtable and beloved old horse trader, the late Will Rogers, lose his composure and fly to Hollywood for two weeks before he could get back in trading trim. Grand champions, blue ribbon winners, famous horses whose names have made equine history and who have won enough trophies, ribbons, medals and what not to make the trophy room a solid symphony of silver and blue, have been raised by Mr. Balfe. It is a thrilling sight to see these splendid mounts put through .their paces on the track. They shine like polished brass. Horsemen can get some of the loveliest eyefuls of real horse flesh in this one place in a few moments than they have seen previously in many years. We now turn to the productive activities of the ranch and we find that practically every type of fruit that grows in California is raised in the confines of this ranch. There are more than 80,000 grape vines, 7,3 16 fig trees, 1,500 almond trees, 1,600 apricot tre'es, pear trees, apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, plum and prune trees and many others. These orchards cover hundreds of acres and are kept iri perfect condition, A herd of Holitein cattle, mules, a poultry farm raising turkeys and prize hem, and the pheasant farm with hundreds of these beautiful game .birds, are other activities of the ranch. Alfalfa, oat hay and other field crops are cultivated as well. . A modern irrigating system, supplied by electrically driven centrifugal pumps, tap the abundant water supply and consists of ten pumping units. The pumping system can throw out 8,000 gallons of water a minute. The supply of underground water that if apparently inexhaustible was discovered by what are known:as "dousing sticks" cut from willows that in the hands of an adept reveal the presence of subterranean streams. Although scientists have claimed that no such ability has been proven, we mention it here because it worked and the Balfe Ranch has water to spare. Adequate fire protection insures the safety of the ranch and its occupants. Pipelines with hose connections are placed at every strategic point and a regulation fire truck and chemical engine, operated by a trained crew, reetilarly drilled, rr'rrr.-t nr.d efficient control of fire. The Balfe Ranch is the.Mecca for many eastern friends and house.guests from the Pacific Coast as well." To provide them with suitable accommodations splendidly equipped, and furnished gu-.t houses, get apart from the main ranch to insure privacy and full enjoyment of the surroundings have been installed by the owner. Mechanical features of the ranch include every known-type of modern implement, trucks, tractors and ' electrical aids. , A fine swimming pool, with a recreation lounge in connection afford, these guests an opportunity to enjoy a cold plunge and to relax and rest as they will. So well known is the ranch to the friends of th« owner and so .great his hospitality and that of hit- In this place are treasures of antiquity, priceless relics of early California, Americana, of great historic Interest, Indian . eurlos and things quaint and rare. This is the fumed Bal(» Museum, the pride and hobby ot the owner. charming wife, that nearly every week-end sees more or less guests at the Balf; Ranch, The Balfe Ranch is an example of what can be accomplished in the San Joaquin Valley by careful planning and intensive development. The wide range of its activities provide an ideal occupation for thos« who love a natural outdoor life. Mr. Balfe, the owner, has often commented on the joy and health he has found in making this place the outstanding achievement that it is. Many men of his position in life, with the means and the ability to create what he has created could well follow with profit the example he has set. One can think of no finer endeavor than to carve out of semi-wilderness such a productive area as this. Its broad acres, ita wonderful UnH'r-sping and lovely trees must bring to him who made it a satisfaction greater than any which could be gained in other fields. Delightfully cool, embellished--with hunches ot practically · every, kind of grape, is the out-of-doors-dining arbor.' A»-a · ·'. ; unique dining: place this'"green hall has "no equal. . . . . '.'.-·'.'·;'·' To attempt to visualize all of the work and care ··', that was lavished on this great tract of land makes one realize the inadequacy of the imagination when .confronted with creative fact. · · - . . ' . . ' " . - . In a manner of speaking the Balfe Ranch has .grown out of a. central idea into an animated-organism that lives as an example of what constructive planning will do. . . . . In going over the various features in one's mind the fact stands, out that every part of the great en- · deavor is essential to the finished project which is tha ranch to-day. Every eventuality has been prepared for ranging from the care of field crops' to the care a n d , , " comfort of guests and in each expression of this care is found the same comprehensive planning even in the little details that add charm and individuality to the ranch, ·· . · · · ' - . - . - It is very evident that the making of this ranch has been a labor of love. Any one can feel.this in .every part ajid activity of this unusual enterprise. One .feels that the owner enjoyed thoroughly, every'minute of the hours, days, weeks, months arid years that it took to bring the Balfe Ranch to its present itate of per' fection. ' ' ' ' ^ And when the inspection of this ranch is completed and one crosses the splendidly cared for vejvel soft lawn to leave one wants to come back to share in this work, to help create beauty that endures. One leaves the gate and sees the vast extent of the San Joaquin Valley in his mind's eye and wonders why this miracle, should not be wrought throughout the valley. There are men and means to do it and if these men could see and sense the worthwhileness that Jics in such an endeavor there could be no doubt but what these things would be accomplished. ' -the entrance chive to the JUlfi IUneK~B«auUful orcn flank the drive and nent and well-kept-plant* »nVr»hruba to the atnie of thoughtful planning thai !· apparent oa "And, ; . - : . - - , ; .

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