We have a few facts about the history of the Bonnie B Ranch in our files. However, we have many gaps in our knowledge.
We know the Ranch began as property owned by G. L. Smith when he obtained it sometime after 1891 under the Homestead Act. Mr. Smith was also the first owner of the Buckhorn Saloon and was the father of Les Smith.
There were several owners of the property through the years, and it has been a cattle ranch, a guest ranch, the site of a movie set, and an estate. It was also one of the properties Ronald Reagan considered buying when he was the governor of California prior to purchasing the ranch near Santa Barbara. Can you imagine what North Fork would be like now if it had become the home of the Western White House?
The name of the ranch was Bar B Bar under the ownership of Mr. Bernard Barber until 1947. At that time it was purchased by Mesers. Reiger, Bell, and Throne who operated it as a Guest Ranch and changed the name to Bonnie B Ranch.
Someone out there knows the reason for that name. Was there a woman named Bonnie? If so, who was she? On the other hand, was the name derived from a word meaning beautiful –”bonnie?” There may have been another reason for the name; can you tell us what it was?
We would appreciate any photos and facts you have about the history of the Bonnie B Ranch. Please contact us at NorthForkHistoryGroup@gmail.com
Submitted by Don Grove, North Fork History Group
History Mystery #48 Follow-up
I want to thank the people who responded. Their information enabled us to identify the people in the picture and the location where it was taken, which was the old baseball field at Oakhurst Elementary School.
Docent at Coarsegold Historic Museum