Established in 1906
Brush Ranch has a rich history with deep New Mexico roots. Ed Irwin originally built the ranch in 1906 as a fly-fishing and hunting guest ranch known as Irwin’s-on-the-Pecos. From John Wayne to Georgia O’Keeffe, ballet students to campers, ranch hands to business executives, the ranch has played host to the famous and the fortunate since the early 1900s.
1930 – 1945
In the 1930’s, the Ranch was sold to Oklahoma oilman Glen Brush (hence the name), who improved the property and used it as a private hunting lodge until just before World War II. David Old, who built the beautiful stone house above the lower pond, purchased the property in 1945, and used it as a retreat.
Newcomb Rice, a successful New York Ballet dancer, purchased the ranch. He built a dance hall complete with “dance-quality” wood floors specifically for ballet and opened a dance school and girl’s summer camp.
Newcomb received a charter to create a boarding school for children with academic learning differences, grades 8 to 12. The Ranch also hosted summer camps for boys and girls during this time. The camp operated for 48 years and the school operated for 35 years.
Newcomb passed away and his son, Scott and his wife, Kay, took over the school. They ran it until 2004 when the Ranch ceased its operations.
A local investor group considered purchasing the ranch, razing existing buildings, and subdividing the property for purchase of individual lots for construction of high-end cabins. The Lujan/Byrd families were introduced to the property as potential cabin prospects. They fell in love with the property and couldn’t bear to see the history of this hidden treasure destroyed.
In November 2007, the Lujan/Byrd families finalized the purchase and have worked to restore the cabins and lodges in the intervening years. While determined to maintain its rich history, the Lujans and Byrds have used the ranch as a vehicle to help families, businesses, and community organizations in New Mexico prosper.
A brush fire, followed by heavy summer rains and flooding, nearly destroyed Brush Ranch in 2013. The heavy rains weighed down the scorched earth, which had no brush or trees left to catch it. A mudslide cascaded down through the Ranch – luckily missing the buildings and cabins but killing off fish in the Ranch’s private river. The Lujans and Byrds rebuilt the landscaping, restored the river bank, and re-opened for business.