Founded on a stretch of the Brazos River in the early 1940s by sharpshooter and horseman Elmer Seybold and his wife Dorothee, the Seybold Guest Ranch—now the Double J Hacienda—enjoyed an impressive roster of celebrity clientele. The details, however, are sketchy, as most of the photographs and other documents from the period are carefully guarded by Seybold’s estate.
But even the apocryphal stories are intriguing. “In our kitchenette suite, the bedroom has a button next to the bed that may once have been a doorbell,” says current owner Jane Baldwin, who owns the Double J with her husband, Jimmy. “Reportedly, that was Ronald Reagan’s favorite room, as he could stay in bed to order room service.”
I wonder: Would that have been Jane Wyman or Nancy Reagan? (Wyman and Reagan divorced in 1948, and Nancy and Ronald married in 1952.)
We’ve also heard that John Wayne came to the ranch many times,” says Baldwin. He liked to stay in Room #1 because it had a private entrance and he could come and go as he pleased, without having to make an appearance in the courtyard. He loved the rodeos and horse races at Elmer's arena but most of all he loved the wagon races.
“We've also heard that Bette Davis visited here at least once. Drawn to Mineral Wells by the Baker Hotel in town, she basked poolside at the Texas‑sized (100,000 gallon) pool in the ranch courtyard.” (That pool no longer exists.)
“As for Elmer Seybold, the original owner of the ranch, he was on the Johnny Carson show in the late 1960s showing off his skills as a sharpshooter. Elmer had a
From the June 2012 issue.