Spade Ranch

CITY Ellsworth, NE

Twently miles northeast of here is Spade Ranch headquarters, a National Register of Historic Places Site. Historical Marker 283.
Spade ranch is located in the Sandhills of northwestern Nebraska on a tract of land in Sheridan and Cherry counties in the vicinity of Ellsworth. The ranch includes numerous buildings and structures, including the log cookhouse built in 1879; bunkhouses that were used by the hired hands; the 1889 horse barn; calving sheds; breaking pens; and carious corral areas. Bartlett Richards purchased the Spade Ranch from Bennett Irwin in 1888. Richards and Will Comstock, aslo involved in many of the ranch’s affairs, were instrumental in recognizing the importance of the Sandhills as grazing land. Because of Richards’ conviction for illegal fencing of public lands and because of his untimely death while serving a jail sentence, the vast Spade “empire’ has become a legend in the history of cattle raching in the Great Plains.

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