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Map of Medina County

Gallagher's Ranch, also known as Clifden, was on San Geronimo Creek two miles southwest of the junction of Park Road 37 and State Highway 16, in far northeastern Medina County. The site is the location of the oldest dude ranch in Texas and is named for the founder of the original ranch, Irish immigrant Peter Gallagher, a civil engineer who was commissioned by Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1833 to find a location for a military supply depot within a twenty-five-mile radius of San Antonio de Béxar. Gallagher chose a site on San Geronimo Creek, but the record is unclear whether he had established the supply depot before 1841, when he departed from Kenney's Fort as the diarist of the Texan Santa Fe expedition. Medina County's ninth post office was opened at the ranch community in 1877, with Mrs. Julia Gallagher as postmistress. In 1884 Gallagher's Ranch had a district school, a hotel, two churches, and fifty inhabitants, two of whom were coal dealers. By 1896 all that remained of the community was a general store and the post office, which was discontinued in 1909. In 1927 the ranch and the rambling Mexican-style ranchhouse made of native stone were purchased by millionaire Mrs. Amy Shelton McNutt. By 1946 Gallagher's Ranch was being run as a dude ranch. Its visitors have included the Ziegfeld Follies Cuties, Prince William of Sweden, and Will Rogers. In 1987 the dude ranch was still operating and was home to cattle, horses, goats, wild turkeys, deer, and Russian boars.

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Ruben E. Ochoa | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Clifden is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Clifden is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Gallagher's Ranch)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated