There seems to be some history to the Cimarron Ranch, but so far I haven’t been able to find out much. I did come across these three short videos below showing the ranch in its heyday:

Cimarron Ranch, Eastern Dude Ranch Association, August 1945 (part 1 of 3)
Cimarron Ranch, Eastern Dude Ranch Association, August 1945 (part 2 of 3)
Cimarron Ranch, Eastern Dude Ranch Association, August 1945 (part 3 of 3)

I also came across this obituary for Clark James “CJ” Walter, which contains the extract below and sheds some light on the history of the ranch:

With his brother Vern, C. J. pioneered dude ranching in the east, and was founder of the first Eastern Dude Ranching Association. SKI HI RANCH, the first eastern dude ranch was opened at Warrensburg, New York in the late 1930’s by Vernon Walter.

In 1938, the two brothers assumed management of the Diamond O Ranch in Peekskill. This ranch was later renamed Cinnabar. This became one of the most popular vacation spots in the east.

In 1939, the two brothers opened Cimarron Ranch in Putnam Valley, which was an immediate success and is now the oldest dude ranch in the east.

The Cinnabar Ranch property was sold in 1946 and became the Continental Village Development. Mr. Walter later owned the Walter Ranch in Garrison, New York. He was also associated with two other dude ranches including the Au Sable Guest Ranch in Michigan, the Lost Wilderness Ranch in Massachusetts and the Flying W Ranch in Garrison, New York.

Hosted Many Celebrities

He was a popular host noted for his generous hospitality. Among his friends were Cowboy Hoot Gibson, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, radio star Bess Johnson, newspaper reporter Jimmy Powers, Representative Fred Gamble of Westchester, Don Short, Gene Ward, Charles Sievert, writer Lowell Thomas, Senator from Connecticut, Dick Forester, Fred Barton, of the cast of Mr. Roberts (and later the inventor of the teleprompter). A frequent guest was Harry Conner, owner of the Conover Modeling Agency.

Personality sketches of C. J. often appeared in the metropolitan and national magazines during the hay-days of the Cinnabar Ranch.

Harry Tompkins, a Peekskill school boy, became his prodigy at Cinnabar and learned to ride with the Walter children. He rode bareback broncos and bulls. He went on to become a World Champion Cowboy in the R.C.A. (Rodeo Cowboys’ Association).

Varied Career

The dude ranch business was a culmination of a varied and adventurous career. As a youth he tended sheep on his father’s ranch. Later he worked as a surveyor on the Hudson Bay Railroad. He owned and operated hotels, pool halls and saloons in the Canadian West. He once owned and operated a draying business which later evolved into a motor stage and later into a bus line.With several partners, Mr. Walter owned the first professional baseball league in western Canada. He once hired the baseball player Jim Thorpe.

Leave a Reply