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Rancho Amigo

Rancho Amigo has always been special not only to our family, but it has served as an inspiration to thousands of other visitors. Here are some newspaper accounts that have been published over the years.

from newspaper article written around 1940 describing the annual retreat at Mo-Ranch for Conaco managers and executives:

“By auto, by train, by plane, the men who make Conoco go, drop in for three days, four days, some stay a week, some of the big execs take it all. They play baseball, pool, pitch horseshoes, bowl on regulation alleys, mess with ping pong, roller skate on a pecan floor in a gymnasium and fieldhouse that would grace a university, ride horseback, shoot rattlesnakes, watch deer feeding on chinnery, turn a few cards, swim in a crystal clear reach of water, throw plugs at bass which can see too far to be fooled, or just sit and eat.”

“One of the highlights of the annual fortnight is the fiesta at which Nichlos [sp] is host. He was with Conoco until a few years ago, and has been close to Moran ever since the two were roughnecks with the Texas company more than 29 years ago. Up on the summit there are a Mexican band, Mexican singers, Mexican food. Tortillas flipped on a hot plate over an open fire in the yard by a gray-headed old Mexican woman on her knees. They go up at noon, stay through two meals, pile back down to the lodge any time before the next morning.”

from “It Happened Here” (Kerrville Mountain Sun, 23 Sep 1948)

Visitors to the “Rancho Amigo” the Nichols [sp] home, high on the hill above Mo-Ranch still rave over the marvelous collections of steins that the owners have. A special room of the house, finished in polished wood, and fitted with rows and rows of shelves, have been set aside for the collection. The items come from all over the world, and some of them are said to be priceless, and the only ones of their kind. So many people have such attractive collections, that we always think, “Now that ‘s what I would like to have,” and they go home and do nothing about it.

from “Hill County Arts Foundation Sponsors Tour of Homes July 16-17” (Kerrville Mountain Sun, 13 July 1966)

“Rancho-Amigo” sits atop a hill on the North Fork of the Guadalupe near Mo Ranch. Owned by Mrs. E. J. Nicklos of Houston, the tower centered home is surrounded by formal gardens, and can only be described as “Old World and Western.” Collections range from pistols and sabers to steins from the world over; the stein collection is the second largest one known in existence. Hand-carved furniture including an antique cherrywood secretary and a chandelier of wooden figures are but some of the many beautiful pieces in the seven fireplace home which also is air conditioned. One fireplace is made of petrified wood and the basement recreation room was carved out of solid stone. The breath-taking view from Rancho Amigo’s living room widow defied description but will long be a memory of the Hill County tour of homes.

from “Mo-Ranch is a jewel at end of scenic drive” (Kerrville Times, 18 Oct 1998)

Nicklos Place is a hilltop retreat center built in the 1930’s by Ernest J. Nicklos, a Conoco associate and long-time friend of Dan Moran. Nicklos, an elder in the First Presbyterian Church in Houston, helped arrancge the Synold’s purchase of Mo-Ranch from the Moran family. Mo-Ranch bought Nicklos Place in 1977.

Here is collection of Rancho Amigo Photos. Mom (Anne Bartholet) had an old leather-covered photo album of Rancho Amigo back in the day. I managed to find several modern photos showing the same views. It is interesting to see how much of the old infrastructure survives (iron work, beds, light fixtures, etc).