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Spring Mountain Ranch (Sandstone Ranch)
The ranch is one of the oldest settled sites in the Las Vegas Valley. Its fifty-two springs made it an ancient watering hole that attracted Native Americans and, later, Euro-American settlers. By the 1830s it had become a campsite for explorers using the alternate route of the Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. Continued habitation from the 1860s to the 1970s has left a variety of buildings and structures, ranging from late nineteenth-century stone cabins to a mid-nineteenth-century main house and outbuildings. Jim Wilson and his heirs ran the property as a cattle ranch through the 1920s. The ranch continued operation under several owners, including Howard Hughes, who used his wealth as an aviation mogul to buy up numerous properties in Las Vegas and the surrounding area in the late 1960s. In 1974 the state's acquisition of the ranch saved it from becoming a residential subdivision. The idyllic setting in Red Rock Canyon has abundant water and vegetation and is noticeably cooler than the desert site of Las Vegas, only fifteen miles to the east. The park is open to the public, and many of the buildings are open for either guided or self-guided tours.
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