The Bell Ranch on market for $115 million

By Chelle Delaney

A large and significant piece of New Mexico history is for sale.

The Bell Ranch, all 250,000 acres, with its Red Bell cattle, horses, a hacienda and an airstrip is being marketed for $115 million by Orvis Cushman & Wakefield of Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Bell Ranch in San Miguel County takes its name from a bell-shaped mesa or La Campana.

Locally, it’s known as “The Bell.” And its picturesque landscape has given many Americans their feel for the West and cowboy tradition as the background for several episodes of the TV series, Rawhide, and full-length feature films.

Owned by the Lane family of Illinois since 1970, the family has indicated that they see it remaining a traditional ranch, said Rye Austin, a broker for Orvis Cushman & Wakefiled.

Guests at the ranch have included Shirley Temple, Howard Hughes and Clark Gable, Austin said.

The Bell’s history dates back to 1824 when Pablo Montoya, a Captain in the Army of the King of Spain, first claimed it. At that time, it was 655,000 acres.

When New Mexico became a U.S. Territory, the U.S. attorney, who persuaded Congress to confirm the Montoya Grant, became the owner and sold it to a Canadian Englishman. The Canadian reorganized the ranch into several holding companies. It became the Bell Ranch Company in 1889.

Earlier, in 1874, the Canadian had registered the Bell brand.